Digitalkoot, an online game for indexing Finnish newspapers

Digitalkoot Screenshot
Click to watch a Mole Bridge tutorial.

Video games: Do you love them or loathe them? When I was a teenager, I couldn’t get enough of them. Nowadays, I find it difficult to get excited about whiling away an hour with a joypad. Now might be a time for a rethink…

Recently, I wrote a post that reviewed a new generation of computer games where the results of your gaming actually contribute to real science! Now, there is a new kid on the block from Finland!

Digitalkoot Screenshot
Click to watch a Mole Hunt tutorial.

It’s a citizen science project called Digitalkoot, and it’s based on word puzzle games where you must try to decipher letters and words. There a two versions, Mole Hunt and Mole Bridge, both with video tutorials to get you started. Short sequences of letters and words appear on the screen, and you have to correctly work out the identity of the letters. But don’t forget: the clock is ticking! The faster you do it, the more moles you save. And the more moles you save, the higher the score you get!

How does it help?

The National Library of Finland has a huge library of old newspapers (about 4 million pages). Rather than let them go to waste, they are scanning them and digitising them onto computer. Text recognition software is useful in translating the old newstype into computer text, but it often makes mistakes. By playing Digitalkoot’s games, your answers are giving a helping hand with the words the computer struggles with!

What’s it like?

All you need is an Internet-connected computer and a Facebook account to get going. The sound and graphics are charming and fun. The game is simple to play and could be enjoyed by all ages. It’s challenging to the non-Finnish (and Mole Bridge is best played with a European keyboard), but it’s pretty entertaining all the same.

Overall, it’s definitely worth a blast on a rainy afternoon. Save some cartoon moles, and do it for a good cause!

Doctor Stu loves science and writes a regular blog on lots of interesting science-based stuff. You can check out his blog at:

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This guest post was contributed by Dr. Stuart Farrimond, a science teacher at Wiltshire College in the United Kingdom. Check out all of Dr. Stu’s Reviews!

Categories: Computers & Technology, Gaming, Guest Contributor

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