IRGS is now adding reCAPTCHA code to our Web site as a spam protection measure.
What is reCAPTCHA? You have probably encountered the process while using the Internet and probably didn't know the phrase. In simple terms, a CAPTCHA is a picture with a text box and you are asked to type the word or phrase you see into the text box before you are allowed to proceed. The idea is to add a challenge that a human can solve much better than a machine to stop the "bots" (roBOT code that scans the Internet looking for email addresses, places where spammers can insert a link, etc.)
This process has been around for a while and now someone came up with the great idea of having our interpretation actually accomplish something beyond just filtering man from machine. The reCAPTCHA program is using images from digitizing projects to get us to help with the transcription process. Currently, the project is digitizing old copies of the New York Times and certainly we know what that means to the genealogical community! Keep that in mind the next time you are fussing and fuming about having to decypher a blurry word - you might just be transcribing the key to breaking through one of your brick walls!
Of course that is a very simplified explanation and if you want to learn more, visit http://recaptcha.net/learnmore.html and see what the project is all about.