Purposeful Gaming is a project that explores how computer games can be used to enhance and preserve historical texts, such as 19th-century hand-written field notes and early agricultural catalogs. Because these materials cannot be read by Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to produce a usable text document, people must transcribe them from scanned images. Even then, individuals may transcribe the same word differently. This game uses texts that have been read by two different OCR programs. Each time the programs interpret a word differently, that word is fed into the game, and the player is asked to supply a transcription. Eventually, when enough people have typed the same word, the game can create consensus about the correct spelling. These corrections are then sent back to the digital library that holds the texts, where they can be incorporated into the original OCR transcriptions to make them more accurate. Every word that you type is improving a text document that will become searchable and readable! Play a game. Save a book.
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