Their solution is to enlist the public to help, free. The experiment, run by George Mason's Center for History and New Media, tests an increasingly important question: How will the Wikipedia model of open participation change humanities scholarship?
Many people have taken part in crowdsourced science research, volunteering to classify galaxies, fold proteins, or transcribe old weather information from wartime ship logs for use in climate modeling. These days humanists are increasingly throwing open the digital gates, too. Civil War-era diaries, historical menus, the papers of the English philosopher Jeremy Bentham—all have been made available to volunteer transcribers in recent years.