Crowdsourcing an Address Book/ Directory

Reply Fri 18 Jan, 2013 08:45 am
This really should be easy, and probably is, but I haven't figured it out yet.

The PTA at my kid's school puts together a directory every year with the kids' names, parents' names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses.

The PTA people painstakingly hand-type entire thing, operating off of handwritten forms.

There are inevitably mistakes, and it also just takes a really long time. There were a lot of complaints about how long, this year.

There is now chatter about "using a web form" to do it instead. I'm the website person so this will fall to me.

Nothing I've thought of so far is quite right.

Idea: Google docs. People could just access a doc and enter their own info.

Problem: We could password-protect it and then email out the password or something, but generally it would be too public for most peoples' taste. Lots of personal info sitting out there for the taking. (The current directory is paper-only.)

Idea: One-at-a-time web form. I can make forms on the PTA website. People could fill that out and click "submit" and it would be emailed to the next years' directory chair.

Problem: While that's a lot better than reading a stack of hand-written forms and entering all of the data from them, it's still a lot of copying and pasting.

It seems like there must be some sort of software or app that would allow the PTA to:

- Crowdsource the data (allow people to enter their own data)
- Stay private
- Stay cohesive (that is, people enter data into the same form, or else it has the capability of generating a document from the data that has been entered).

Any ideas?

Reply Fri 18 Jan, 2013 11:42 am
This may not address your needs, but here's a somewhat similar scenario.

Early on in the internet era, I started making contact with guys who had
been iin religious life with me. It was a poweful experience, but
managing email addresses and other data was an insane task. I formed a
Yahoo! Group. This gave us a central website to store data. It has a
database facility that allows the moderator to set up a table with personal
info and members to update that table.

I set it up so that only members can access the site and all members must
be approved by the moderator. Any member can send an email to the
Group email address and it will be delivered every other member. If the
member does not want emails, he can opt to look at the emails at the

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Reply Fri 18 Jan, 2013 12:55 pm
Don't know if this will help, but here's a list of online crowdsourcing websites:


And here's a website that describes itself this way:

Store your business address book in the 'cloud' in a KeepandShare account and your business contact management software needs are met with affordable and easy-to-use free online address book software. Organize multiple address books for each area of your business or organization, whether it's customer contact management, PTA rosters, girl scout or boy scout troop rosters and call lists.

Address printouts or email copies quickly become out-of-date. Web-based online address books and contact lists in KeepandShare are always up-to-date. They are instantly avilable to all your team via mobile phone access for both viewing and updating from the field. The web is the ideal way to store name and address books.

Use our free online address book as your small business CRM (Contact Relationship Manager or contact management software). Manage your contacts: edit cards, e-mails addresses, websites, URLs, phone numbers and pictures. Manage your current address book, personal organizer, or business card collection. Track details about your contacts such as names of the important people in his or her life (including spouse, partner, mom, dad, siblings, and assistant).

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