Microtask has launched a new service called Digitalkoot (digital communal work/barn-raising – very loosely translated) to help digitize the Finnish National Library content. We wrote about the plans to do so already in October. There are currently four million pages of digital content from 1700 to 1900 in the form of magazines and newspapers in the Finnish National Library. More and more content is continuously digitized from the archives as well. Previously used way to go about this would have been to use OCR software. However, the old language has characters that current OCR software is unable to recognize. According Kai Ekholm from the National Library, 2% of the currently digitized text has errors in it. Microtask’s crowdsourcing service helps correct these errors and make the archives more accurate.
Digitalkoot service currently features two games. In the first game, “Mole Chase”, you are shown two different words. The player’s task is to find the same words. This helps in finding erroneous entries and validate the right word translations. These erroneous entries are then corrected in the second game, where you try to get a group of moles over a river. When the player enters the text correctly shown in the image, a small piece of brige is built over the river taking the moles closer to safety.
Harri Holopainen, Microtask Managing Director states, “With our technology, the work can be divided into smaller bits. This enables everyone to contribute as little or as much as they want.” Indeed, with more than four million pages in the archives, each little task helps.
The service will be further developed during the coming year to enable people with deeper interest towards historical topics. According to Kai Ekholm, “the new features will enable contributors to go through certain topics, such as the capital area sports stories, which will make the service more appealing as a whole”.
Microtask currently employs 12 people, of whom 5 are management and 7 in direct production of the services. In the future, according to Otto Chrons, CTO, the company will outsource more of its work in the future. He also states that the company is developing its own public service online currently that will be released in March approximately. What this will be exactly, he did not disclose yet.
Microtask is also one of the Finnish growth companies putting a lot of effort in recruitment. They have offices in Helsinki and Tampere and aim to grow it with highly talented people.