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June 24, 2009, 4:43 p.m.

A Guardian crowdsourcing update

Two quick thoughts I want to pull up from the comments of Michael’s post on the Guardian’s success crowdsourcing the analysis of documents in the MP expenses scandal:

— Aron Pilhofer of The New York Times (and DocumentCloud) notes the crucial role Amazon’s EC2 plays in projects like these: “Even more than a framework (we use Ruby on Rails and a bit of Django), Amazon EC2 has allowed us to work miracles online. We’ve been able to go from a standing start to a fully deployed application in a matter of hours. It takes technology largely (but not completely) out of the equation for these news apps, and allows us to focus on the important stuff.”

— Pete at Foibles notes that you still need to double-check what the crowd finds, as it appears the Guardian accepted a reader’s handwriting interpretation when it may not have been advisable.

Joshua Benton is the senior writer and former director of Nieman Lab. You can reach him via email ( or Twitter DM (@jbenton).
POSTED     June 24, 2009, 4:43 p.m.
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