As defined by Dictionary.com:
crowd·sourceActually, crowdsourcing has already been used several times in genealogy. Perhaps one of the biggest crowdsourcing projects of all times was the indexing of the 1940 U.S. census in a joint initiative between the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Archives.com, FamilySearch.org, findmypast.com, and other leading genealogy organizations. Literally hundreds of thousands of indexers around the world helped create a great resource and make it available to other genealogists. (See https://familysearch.org/blog/en/1940-census/ for details.)
verb (used with object), verb (used without object), crowd·sourced, crowd·sourc·ing.
to utilize (labor, information, etc.) contributed by the general public to (a project), often via the Internet and without compensation.
More recently, on September 13–15, crowdsourcing volunteers from around the world joined together with FamilySearch.org to index and arbitrate 134,986 Italian records (approximately 400,000 names). Participants were invited to index and arbitrate over 35,000 Italian records in just 48 hours—slightly more than the previous high. (Details may be found at http://goo.gl/nfZDny.)
Ancestry.com has a similar project underway using volunteer indexers and dozens of local genealogy societies have been using volunteers for years to index local records. The recent Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness was actually a crowdsourcing project, although I don't recall the site's owner as ever using that term. That site went offline following the owner's death and a number of newer web sites have since appeared, each claiming to be a "replacement" for Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness. None of the replacements has been as successful as the original, however.
Now Eric Proffitt is organizing a similar project. His project plans to be a bit more formal than the others, including hiring software developers to create specialized software to allow millions of transactions between people doing family history and amateur genealogists.
Eric reports his family recently spent $1,200 hiring a professional genealogist to visit his wife's ancestral village in Ukraine and send pictures to Eric and his family. As a result, the family was able to see the great, great, grandmother's school, learn about cousins who are still alive, and got a feel for the culture of the area. However, the end result was expensive.
Eric writes, "This got us to thinking: what if we could create a place where normal people like you and me could help each other find their families?? For instance, if I wanted a picture of my Keith Family Castle, but couldn't afford to fly to the Scotland, I could post my request and have someone who already lives there take the picture and send it to me for as little as $5!"
Eric Proffitt has now created Crowd-Sourcing Genealogy, an online place where people can connect with other, normal people to access things such as gravestones, church records, marriage licenses etc. without having to travel across the world, or without having to pay $1,000's of dollars will take Family history to a whole new level.
You can read more about this project at http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/crowd-sourcing-genealogy or watch the video below or at http://youtu.be/D-y4-J6veH8.