A lack of quality metadata is a key problem encountered with mass-digitization projects as institutions strive to "go digital." This paper reports on a pilot study of Metadata Games, a software system that uses computer games to collect information about archival images in libraries and archives as these institutions digitize millions of items across national collections. Games offer a unique advantage for collecting metadata because they can entice users who might normally be inclined to visit archives to explore humanities content and, in the process, contribute to vital records, and they can work in a wide-scale, distributed fashion to collect much more metadata than a typical archives staff member could contribute alone in the same time frame. Metadata Games can be used to enhance knowledge about images associated with particular disciplines and fields, or in interdisciplinary collections. This open-source system is easily customized to meet each institution's needs. By inviting mass participation, Metadata Games opens the door for archivists, researchers, and the public to unearth new knowledge that could radically enhance scholarship across the disciplines. Metadata Games expands what researchers, students, and the public can encounter in their quest to understand the human experience. Games offer great promise for humanities scholarship by uniting the culture of the archives with a diverse user base, including researchers, hobbyists, and gamers.

This content is only available as a PDF.