ReCAPTCHA and Archivopedia

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Why use reCAPTCHA?

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reCAPTCHA accomplishes four tasks at once.

  1. reCAPTCHA blocks spam email from infiltrating users' accounts in Archivopedia.
  2. reCAPTCHA blocks link spam in Archivopedia. Link spam is the simultaneous addition of many links within a wiki page or the creation of a URL page by automated bots.
  3. reCAPTCHA ensures that contributors have registered with Archivopedia. Individuals may register with a pseudonym or screen name, but they must have a valid email account to verify that the contributor is not an automated bot or spammer.
  4. reCAPTCHA actually helps with the digitization of texts that have been scanned using OCR technology. "The words [in the reCAPTCHA box] come from scanned books. By typing them, you help to digitize old texts."[1]

How does reCAPTCHA help with the digitization of texts?

Here is how the reCAPTCHA website describes how it works:

To archive human knowledge and to make information more accessible to the world, multiple projects are currently digitizing physical books that were written before the computer age. The book pages are being photographically scanned, and then, to make them searchable, transformed into text using "Optical Character Recognition" (OCR). The transformation into text is useful because scanning a book produces images, which are difficult to store on small devices, expensive to download, and cannot be searched. The problem is that OCR is not perfect. . . reCAPTCHA improves the process of digitizing books by sending words that cannot be read by computers to the Web in the form of CAPTCHAs for humans to decipher. More specifically, each word that cannot be read correctly by OCR is placed on an image and used as a CAPTCHA. This is possible because most OCR programs alert you when a word cannot be read correctly.
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Where are the digitized books located that reCAPTCHA helps improve?

These scanned texts are located at the Internet Archive.[1]

Who is behind the reCAPTCHA project?

"reCAPTCHA is a project of the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University."[1] For more information about the individuals working on the project and their sponsors, visit their website.

References


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