Wolfram Research is both impressive and bold: to make the world's knowledge computable. Best known, perhaps, for the Wolfram Alpha, the online answer engine, Wolfram today announced a new Volunteer Central site, a place where volunteers can contribute data to the project.The goal of
There are a number of areas in which Wolfram Alpha is currently seeking volunteer input: species data about fish and birds, currency data, and literary and mythology information. (On a personal note, I must say I love a company that can help me track the path of the Sun and give me information about various Sun gods.)
Via the Volunteer Central site, contributors can find projects to work on, upload their data, and view the progress of building datasets.
Contributors will earn "data points" that allow volunteers to display badges on their blogs and social media profiles that they've contributed to the project.
According to Elle Destree, Community Development Specialist at Wolfram Alpha, the importance of the volunteer program is twofold: "First, it allows users to contribute to Wolfram Alpha by curating data that will be incorporated into our knowledge base. We are fortunate to have a very talented group of users who want to contribute to our efforts, and we are happy to work with them. Second, it allows us to explore different areas that we have not yet tapped into."
The volunteer project allows the Wolfram Alpha knowledge base to expand beyond the expertise of employees. And Wolfram Alpha says it is open to suggestions for other projects and other subject areas to build out the knowledge base.