Looking at a variety of projects, there are certain characteristics that stand out and that I can see would encourage a loyal fanbase. For example, Trove highlights everything that has been added that day (e.g., newspaper text corrections, images tagged).
Trove also highlights top contributors. This attention encourages participants to continue their efforts. The forum also allow people with similar interests to communicate and share information. This feature is especially appealing to passionate groups like those correcting the newspaper articles on the railroads. Building this kind community encourages continued use and participation of the project. This kind of project also appeals a sense of nationalism.
Both Trove and Transcribing Bentham also have simple, easy to use interfaces. This offers a low threshold of learning and easy entry into the project. This easy entry encourages a wide audience to use the project. Although the creation of a new technology can also encourage participants. Specifically, the PWD follows the trend of attracting users who are interest in the content as well as users curious about the technology being used. In “Crowdsourcing Our Cultural Heritage,” Leon noted that 10% of users were attracted because of the opportunity to use the Scripto tool.
Many of these project offer a variety of ways to search materials (e.g., date, topic). It was especially helpful to be able to see which items had not been transcribed or corrected. For instance, Transcribing Bentham lets you first choose a level of difficulty and then narrow your results further by category, date, etc.
There needs to be a very clear focus and purpose for incorporating crowdsourcing into a project, as Leon explains in the video. An easy to use interface also encourages entry into a project. Building Inspector, for example, is very visual and offers immediate feedback. Participants are attracted to the visual appeal. However, it helped that the NYPL also had a existing user group. Other characteristics like a interest in the context (Transcribing Bentham) encourages participation. Ultimately, there are several characteristics that encourage participation, but crowdsourcing should only be used when there is a clear purpose.