Programming Idea [Academic Library, Passive Program]: Citizen Science

I took a wide range of courses as I was completing my MLIS degree. My favorite class by far was a “Special Topics” seminar entitled “Citizen Science.” The professor, Brian Beaton (now at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo), looks at how people interact with technology, and the social impacts thereof. I loved this class!

Citizen science is using the collective brainpower/computing power of regular people to gather scientific information, in all fields of science – crowdsourced science, if you will. There are all kinds of projects to which people can contribute, which taking varying levels of time and skill on the part of the “citizen.”

With the upcoming eclipse, NASA has requested help with their data collection, bringing citizen science into the spotlight. I’m definitely going to participate in this event, as the eclipse passes right over where I live, and I think it could make a cool addition to the eclipse programs that many libraries across the country are running.