Citizen Science training in Croatia

On 21 November 2022, the National and University Library in Zagreb (NSK) organised and hosted a train-the-trainer programme as part of Citizen-Enhanced Open Science in Southeastern Europe Higher Education Knowledge Hubs (CeOS_SE project), an Erasmus+ research project aimed at including European citizens in pan-European efforts focusing on open science. The presentations and workshop held as part of the programme were led by the Library’s staff and the representatives of the Department of Information and Communication Sciences of the Zagreb Faculty of Humanities and Social SciencesCroatian Natural History Museum and the Institute for Youth Development and Innovation (IRIM).

The programme’s attendees, some 20 library professionals, were greeted by the Head of the CeOS_SE project Alisa Martek, who presented the project and the role in it of the National and University Library in Zagreb. A member of the project team Dolores Mumelaš then presented how to organise citizen science activities in libraries, exemplifying both advantages and challenges in this context.

Associate Professor at the Department of Information and Communication Sciences of the Zagreb Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Goran Zlodi presented the Faculty’s research project focusing on citizen science (Initiative for Citizen Science in Heritage and Educational Context), while the Department’s Assistant Professor Tomislav Ivanjko presented the EnrichEuropeana+ project (Enriching Europeana through citizen science and artificial intelligence – Unlocking the 19th century), aimed at the development of innovative AI solutions for the automation of the transcription of manuscripts and relying on citizen science for providing content for the manuscripts’ semantic enrichment. Dr Ivanjko also gave an overview of the Transcribathon Zagreb 2022 initiative, as part of which the Faculty’s students transcribed digital content in the collections on the website of Europeana, Europe’s digital library, museum, gallery and archive.

The co-founder and chief secretary of the Institute for Youth Development and Innovation (IRIM) Rujana Bakić presented the Institute’s citizen science activities, particularly emphasising the importance of its Croatian Makers initiative and its platforms and projects aimed at the popularisation of STEM, the wider introduction into various institutions of programming, etc. As the last speaker, Senior Curator at the Croatian Natural History Museum Dr Draško Holcer introduced the programme’s attendees with the activities of the Blue World Institute, which as part of the Life DELFI project participated in the development of Marine Ranger, a citizen science app for collecting data on marine mammals.

The programme’s second part included a workshop the focus of which was a step-by-step presentation of how to organise citizen science activities in libraries, as ideal places for the dissemination of knowledge and collection of data required for gaining new scientific insights. Led by the members of the CeOS_SE project team, the workshop attendees went through all the details in the preparation of citizen science library activities – divided into three groups, they were acquainted with all the organisational aspects of such activities, ranging from decisions concerning the location and targeted citizen group, through those related to participating researchers and a particular activity’s desired outcome, to those regarding the promotion of citizen science, ways to overcome organisational obstacles and ensure the benefits of such activities for libraries.