Gigaom reports on a new project built by the New York Times’ research and development lab, which went live on Tuesday. Known as ‘Madison’, it asks readers to help identify and tag scanned print ads from the paper’s archives.
The project is also the first to be built on an open-source platform developed by the Times specifically for such crowdsourcing purposes, a platform it calls Hive.
The Times has provided access to a digital archive of its print stories since 2008, when it launched TimesMachine, an online repository similar to the old micro-fiche collections libraries used to have, which goes back to 1851. Although the software is good at indexing news stories, it’s not as good at recognising ads — which in cultural terms can be almost as interesting as the actual journalism.