Ann Arbor District Library’s Summer Game: Points-O-Matic

This post is part of my on-going series on the Ann Arbor District Library’s (AADL) Summer Game

Points-O-Matic is a module that the AADL staff devised to crowd source cataloging and evaluative tasks within the Library’s various databases. Unlike the Summer Game, it is accessible year round.

I hesitate to call it a game, necessarily. It’s more “an ends to a means” kind of deal, although getting to spy on old photographs and read a wide swath of your fellow citizens’ reviews can be quite a hoot. Players earn Points-O-Matic points (separate from Summer Game points) that, like the Summer Games Badges, have no “real world” value apart from bragging rights. They can’t be exchanged for Summer Games merchandise. But! when a player reaches certain levels (100 tags, 1500 helpful review evaluations), they receive badges which are worth Summer Game Points.

As you can see below, there are three different Points-O-Matic “modes”: Helpful Review, Photomic Describorator, and Textulating Recognizorator. (You’ll probably need an AADL account to view those links.)

In Helpful Review mode, players are asked to provide feedback on whether a review is helpful or not by clicking the corresponding button. Once you get into the groove, you can really burn through these.

Is this review helpful? I think the answer’s obvious: Batman’s awesome!

Photomic Describorator mode asks a player to tag photographs from AADL’s archives with a single word. I assume this feedback will eventually be used for tagging and/or search capabilities.

After earning 1,000 Points-O-Matic points (more incentive!), users “unlock” the ability to play the Textulating Recognizorator mode. The mode is loaded with the August 3rd, 1887 edition of the Ann Arbor Courier (hosted in AADL’s Old News database) and players are essentially functioning as human OCRs by translating highlighted words in plain text. As a bonus, achieving certain badge levels in TR mode earns you Secret Game Shop points.*

So there you have it. Pretty clever way to get things done in a fun way, eh?

Take-aways and Questions:

  • Using Points-O-Matic as a model, are there tasks within your organization that could be crowd sourced by your patrons, students, or visitors?
  • What incentives are you able to offer? Don’t underestimate the value of non-monetary/non-physical “prizes.” AADL Summer Game badges and Points-O-Matic are useless in the real world and yet they are highly sought after none-the-less.
  • See a program in a similar vein at the Detroit Institute of Art for further inspiration.


* Yes, this is getting complicated. More on that later.


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Filed under AADL's Summer Game, Professional Practice

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