Dictionaries and crowdsourcing, wikis and user-generated content

Living Reference Work Entry by Michael Rundel: “It is tempting to dismiss crowdsourcing as a largely trivial recent development which has nothing useful to contribute to serious lexicography. This temptation should be resisted. When applied to dictionary-making, the broad term “crowdsourcing” in fact describes a range of distinct methods for creating or gathering linguistic data. A provisional typology is proposed, distinguishing three approaches which are often lumped under the heading “crowdsourcing.” These are: user-generated content (UGC), the wiki model, and what is referred to here as “crowd-sourcing proper.” Each approach is explained, and examples are given of their applications in linguistic and lexicographic projects. The main argument of this chapter is that each of these methods – if properly understood and carefully managed – has significant potential for lexicography. The strengths and weaknesses of each model are identified, and suggestions are made for exploiting them in order to facilitate or enhance different operations within the process of developing descriptions of language. Crowdsourcing – in its various forms – should be seen as an opportunity rather than as a threat or diversion….(More)”.