Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Bible quote database built with Amazon Mechanical Turk for $75

The Standard Bible Society used the "crowdsourcing" of's Mechanical Turk to produce an English Standard version of the bible at $.02 a verse and 98.3% accuracy. I had forgotten all about the mechanical turk until I read this article. Some highlights from the article.

  • Inexpensive. We got a database for about $75 that, as far as we can tell, no one has created before for the Bible.

  • Fast. We uploaded one HIT every five seconds over six hours. Workers performed these HITs almost as fast as they were uploaded. Seventy-eight workers participated.

  • High quality. We only rejected 1.7% of submissions, an excellent figure by any standard.

  • No developer sandbox. We had to upload funds and grab a HIT ourselves to make sure everything worked OK. We would have liked a place to test our programs without having to expose them to the world (and without having to pay).

  • Funds have to come from a bank account. We had to get special authorization to withdraw funds, and it took a week after initiating the transfer for the funds to show up in our Mechanical Turk account. We would’ve preferred to pay with a credit card, even if that meant buying $20 blocks of Mechanical Turk credits at a time.

  • Limited formatting options. We would’ve liked to be able to put the quotation in bold; instead, we had to indicate it with brackets: We would prefer to use XHTML, as the limited formatting restricts the type of application we can develop with Mechanical Turk. Some enterprising individuals have worked around this limitation by asking people to visit a different website, answer the questions there, and enter a code from the other website. It works, but it’s not ideal.

No comments: