$2.19, or, My career as a Mechanical Turk

December 1, 2005 at 8:41 pm Leave a comment

Amazon owes me $2.19 for my outstanding efforts at identifying addresses and storefronts in bad photographs of American streetscapes. Yes, it is true. I am a Mechanical Turk.

Since I was earning a meagre 3 cents a photo, I now feel a great kinship to sweatshop workers everywhere. We work hard for minimal pay, but we’re a Proud People. I’m particularly proud of the photo I found of the hugely obese man emerging from a Burger King in Reno. Or maybe it was Miami. I forget.

But today, alas, the photos were gone, and in their place, a new task. We Mechanical Turks are expected to identify the artist’s name on various album covers. My first task was to choose between “Guy Lombardo & His Royal Canadians” and “Lombardo, Guy.”

Now, I am a librarian by training, and I started out as a cataloguer. I’m pretty sure that GL&HRC is a Corporate Body and should be given the entry here, but I have to admit that it’s been a few years. I’d probably have to consult AACR2 and maybe LCRI and whatever else the Cataloguing Kids are using these days in order to be sure.

And even if I’m right, I’d want to create a cross reference from Lombardo, Guy. Should it be a “see” reference or a “see also” reference? Well, I’d need to do some research on whether GL ever recorded without his Royal Canadians. And then I’d start to wondering whether the Royal Canadians ever recorded without GL. It seems like it would have been really ungrateful of them, and impolite; if they really were Canadians, they wouldn’t have done that, would they? But even if they didn’t, maybe we should give them a “see” reference as well.

And for all this, Amazon was going to pay me the princely sum of 2 cents per authority record! Less than I got for the photos!

I think my Mechanical Turking days are over. I can’t handle the pressure. Now, how am I going to spend that $2.19?


Entry filed under: Libraries, Web.

My ears are bleeding! Web services in Libraries

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