Wikipedia is often disparaged as a reliable source because anyone can edit any entry at any time. So given that history, how credible would a taxonomy be that was built by crowdsourcing? Some interesting information about one such attempt was found on The Daily, a publication of the University of Washington, in their article, “Playing to the crowd.

One University of Washington computer science graduate student recently spearheaded the creation of Cascade, a program that enables users to produce a taxonomy via crowdsourcing. In case you don’t know, crowdsourcing is a process that helps complete tasks that might usually require immense computational effort from a single computer or specialized knowledge from a single expert by spreading the task to many users.

“As everyone knows, we are drowning in information, whether it is news stories, pictures and video, scientific papers, social media, everything,” said Dan Weld, Chilton’s mentor and professor of computer science and engineering. “To get a distributed crowd to create a good taxonomy is very promising.”

Lydia Chilton and her group focused their efforts on developing such a program.

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Access Innovations, the world leader in thesaurus, ontology, and taxonomy creation and metadata application.