Emojis are Now in the Library of Congress

whale_largeThe Library of Congress has now included a crowdsourced and crowdfunded project, the results of which are called Emoji Dick. Originally launched as a publishing project on Kickstarter, Emoji Dick sought funds to translate Melville’s Moby Dick into Japanese emoji Icons using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk workforce. It worked in two stages:

1)     Every sentence was translated three times for five cents each

2)     Every sentence had the translations voted on for two cents a vote to identify the best one.

It took just over 1,000 hours to convert Melville’s classic and now Benenson, the New Yorker that originally dreamed up the idea, is selling the real world publication for as much as $200 (for the hardcover). Quite a price tag for something that cost just over $3,500 in Kickstarter funds to create with the help of 800 other people! The quotes that Benenson is using to promote the book are interesting (and amusing) choices, ranging between:

“…[Emoji Dick] highlights the innovative ways in which the labor pool of bored internet users is being tapped to complete complex tasks.”

-Telegraph UK


“That’s astoundingly useless.”

-Alex M, BoingBoing.net Commenter

Because Emoji Dick really does highlight both of these facets in the field of crowdsourcing: the vastness of possibilities presented by a working and engaged crowd… as well as the apparent frivolity that those efforts are often directed toward.

In any case, it will be interesting to track what fruits Benenson reaps from this novelty project and what other books might follow Emoij Dick into the Library of Congress.

Also – for a laugh, you can find a list of Emoji book titles here.

What other emoji works would you like to see? What’s the most frivolous crowdsourced task ever assigned in your opinion?

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