Anti-Spam Program Aids Archivists

Text unreadable by scanners decoded by access-seekers
By Sam Biddle,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 18, 2008 6:41 PM CDT
A trusty spam prevention mechanism is being put to new use to help archivists transcribe aging texts.   (
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(Newser) – Archivists attempting to convert aging texts into digital copies are turning to a trusted online tool used to block automated spammers, the BBC reports. Many sites that make users write out garbled words or segments of text as a means of proving they’re actual human beings are displaying texts from antique texts that need transcribing.

This method is allowing archivists to distribute the work that would otherwise be too complex for text-reading software among millions of ordinary log-ins. About 40,000 sites are now pitching in, collecting approximately 4 million transcribed words every day, with an estimated 99.1% accuracy rate—as good as that of professional archive transcribers.