Get tagging Your Paintings

Some of you may have seen the recent news item on our website giving an update on the Your Paintings project. This is a Public Catalogue Foundation project in partnership with the BBC. I thought this seemed like a good opportunity to blog about the crowdsourcing aspect of this project.

So, what’s it all about? Well, Your Paintings aims to create a complete online catalogue of every oil painting in the United Kingdom’s national collection. In Scotland, this means that the goal is for 35,000 oil paintings in public collections to be included on the website by the end of the year. So far, there are 15,000 paintings from over 60 collections across Scotland on the site.

What’s this got to do with crowdsourcing? The public (yes, that’s you) are being invited to “tag” these paintings. In this case, tagging means describing what is in each painting. You don’t need to know about art or have any kind of art qualification, you just need to say what is in the paintings that you tag. I really like the way that this project’s approach means that everyone can get involved in tagging the paintings.

The other thing that appeals to me is that the paintings that taggers are given to tag are selected randomly. Obviously, all the paintings need to be tagged and some of these will be less well known than others. Taggers will be discovering artists and paintings that have so far been unknown to them. I think that’s a pretty cool way of getting our public art collections better known.

The site also takes into consideration those of us who a) like Top 10 Lists and b) may have occasionally been known to reveal a competitive side. The site lists the 10 taggers who’ve tagged the most paintings over the preceding week / since the beginning of the project. Not only that, the more paintings you tag, the more levels you move up, with the reward being the title of Master Tagger!

So join the crowd and start tagging paintings, you might come across your new favourite oil painter.

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