So! I learnt something new today. You know all those annoying thingys you have to type in for security reasons on certain websites to prove that you’re a human being? Well they’re called CAPTCHA‘s which stands for “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart.” Random, I

reCAPTCHA example: a scanned text with two wor...

An example of a CAPTCHA


Anyways, these CAPTCHA’s have been around for a while, but I recently found out what they do! Not only are they there to make sure you’re a human, but by filling them out, you’re helping libraries!

Since the creation of digital imaging and recently scanning of books, the guys who scan the books have had troubles distinguishing every word because of some old fonts and what have you.

Well this is where CAPTCHA’s come in.

A CAPTCHA gives you two words to decipher, one of which is pretty easy and generally a word you know. The second however is scrambled or looks really weird. This second word is one that has been scanned by a computer, and determined to be undeterminable! So they need an actual human to figur

e it out. Based on responses in the CAPTCHA’s, they average out the most likely word and then make the changes accordingly.

I always hated those stupid things, but now when I do them I might actually take some more time and effort now that I know the process and reasoning behind it.

For more on this, check out the article I read: Walrus Magazine » How Spam Saves Libraries » reCAPTCHA » by Alex Hutchinson.


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