Lowell Deeds

The latest on real estate recordings and new technology from the Middlesex North Registry of Deeds in Lowell

September 4, 2007

Astronomy and Wikinomics

by @ 10:09 am. Filed under Current Events, Technology

The science section in yesterday’s Globe contained a story illustrating the concept of Wikinomics which is a term based on the online encyclopedia Wikipedia which was created by everyone who wants to participate. The article in question describes a project called Galaxy Zoo, an astronomy project that seeks volunteers to divide online phonographs of millions of galaxies into two classifications: spiral and elliptical. To participate, you log onto www.galaxyzoo.org and signup. You then are presented with a digital picture of a galaxy and you decide whether it is shaped like a Frisbee or a football. That’s it. Apparently, it’s a decision that is not suitable for an automated computer process and so it requires a set of eyeballs. This is where the “wiki” part comes in. Instead of paying people to plod through all of these photographs, the organizers hope that there are enough people in the world interested and willing enough to spend a few hours gazing at a couple of dozen celestial photographs (for free). There’s some redundancy – several people look at the same photograph – to weed out errors, so it’s not like the fate of the universe will depend on your ability to discern the shape of a galaxy, I expect wikinomics will also come to the registry of deeds eventually. I envision a community history project in which individuals can log on and add information about the history of a particular property – who lived there, when, what happened, what was life like, that sort of thing. A non-working example of this may be viewed in the lower right corner on our “chain of title” mock-up page.

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