Eileen Jakeway (Library of Congress) has authored a post for Library of Congress’ The Signal blog, on the “Humans in the Loop” experiment run by LC Labs. Jakeway’s post, “Stay ‘in the loop’ with LC Labs experiment combining crowdsourcing and machine learning,” covers the recent history of LC’s involvement with and experiments in “responsibly combin[ing] crowdsourcing experiences and machine learning workflows.” Past work includes the LC Labs 2019 partnership with Project AIDA researchers “on a series of demonstration projects applying machine learning to Library of Congress collections in different ways;” the LC Labs-hosted 2019 Machine Learning + Libraries Summit, the 2020 Innovators in Residence projects, and the commissioning of Ryan Cordell to “conduct a comprehensive survey of the state of field regarding machine learning and libraries,” including a final report building on “some of the Aida team’s recommendations and laid out steps for cultivating responsible ML in libraries.”
Jakeway describes “Humans in the Loop” as a response to the reports generated by these projects, in particular working on “developing ‘social and technical infrastructures’ and investing in ‘intentional explorations and investigations of particular machine learning applications.'” – “Humans in the Loop” aims to increase exposure to machine learning and crowdsourcing in the hopes of increasing public literacy around these sociotechnical issues. This exposure of the labor behind machine learning plays into the project team’s “hope is that users’ participation in the process will reveal the ways in which machine learning relies on human subjectivity and decision-making rather than objective, or neutral, classification.” The post closes with a promise of continued updates on this work.