You know those squiggly words you have to type in on certain Web sites to get access or to make a purchase? That’s a piece of software called CAPTCHA, or you may even be using reCAPTCHA and, unbeknownst to you, helping to digitize materials in the Internet Archive, Google and elsewhere. Want to know more? Watch this video of CAPTCHA and reCAPTCHA creator Luis von Ahn describe it in a Computing Research Association presentation. (It’s 11:50 long, but he’s quite charming and funny, and the idea is so simple and great. Thanks to UArts librarian Josh Roberts for finding this great clip!)
This is of particular interest to UArts since we have just begun a digitization project of the UArts archives. The resulting digital files will be freely available and searchable through the Internet Archive. Want to contribute? Check out Google’s “What is reCAPTCHA?” page, and start helping to digitize immediately!