Amazon Mechanical Turk
Getting Started Guide (API Version 2013-11-15)
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Setting Up Accounts and Tools

The following topics describe the tasks you need to perform before you can use Amazon Mechanical Turk.

Sign Up for an AWS Account

To develop solutions using the Amazon Mechanical Turk web service, you must first sign up for an AWS account. An AWS account is an Amazon.com account that enables you to use services from AWS. Although you can use the login name and password of your personal Amazon.com account, you might want to sign up for a separate Amazon.com account to use for your AWS activity.

If you already have an AWS account, you can skip to the next section. For more information, see Create a Requester Account.

To sign up for an AWS account

  1. Go to http://aws.amazon.com, and then click Sign Up.

  2. Follow the on-screen instructions.

    Part of the sign-up procedure involves receiving a phone call and entering a PIN using the phone keypad.

Using your AWS account, you can view your AWS account activity and usage reports and manage your security credentials.

AWS Security Credentials

AWS uses special identifiers called access keys to help protect your data. For your AWS account, you'll have two keys, an Access Key ID, and a Secret Access Key.

  • Sample Access Key ID: AKIAIOSFODNN7EXAMPLE

  • Sample Secret Access Key: wJalrXUtnFEMI/K7MDENG/bPxRfiCYEXAMPLEKEY

You use access keys to sign programmatic requests that you make to Amazon Mechanical Turk, and to work with command line interface. You can use these access identifiers in both the sandbox and the production environment.

Important

Amazon Mechanical Turk does not use AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) credentials.

To manage your AWS security credentials

  1. Go to the Amazon Web Services website at http://aws.amazon.com/security-credentials.

  2. Sign in.

  3. Click Continue to Security Credentials (Amazon Mechanical Turk does not use IAM credentials).

Create a Requester Account

Before you can use Amazon Mechanical Turk, you must have an Amazon Mechanical Turk Requester account.

To create and register a Requester account

  1. Go to http://requester.mturk.amazon.com.

  2. Click Create an Account.

  3. Enter your email address.

  4. Follow the prompts to complete your Requester account registration.

    When prompted, you must enter your mailing address and you must accept the Amazon Mechanical Turk Participation Agreement.

Prepay for Your HITs

The Creating a HIT tutorial uses the Amazon Mechanical Turk sandbox in which you can execute Amazon Mechanical Turk operations without having to pay Workers for working on your HITs. We recommend that you use the sandbox to test your applications before moving them to the production system. Before you use the production version of Amazon Mechanical Turk you need to prepay for the HITs you create. Otherwise, you can't post your HITs to Workers. For more information about the sandbox, see The Sandbox Testing Environment.

To post your HITs to Workers, you must have money in your Prepaid HIT Balance to prepay for all of your HITs. You can provide banking information, credit card or debit card information, or an Amazon Payments account to prepay for the HITs.

If you use a bank account, it can take up to one week for your transfer to be approved. During that time you can test your HITs in the Amazon Mechanical Turk Developer sandbox, but you cannot create HITs on the Amazon Mechanical Turk production system. If you use a credit card, debit card, or Amazon Payments account to prepay, you can use the Amazon Mechanical Turk production system immediately.

For instructions on how to prepay for your HITs, go to the Requester website.

The Sandbox Testing Environment

You should test your HITs in the Amazon Mechanical Turk sandbox testing environment to make sure they work as expected before publishing your HITs in the Mechanical Turk marketplace. The sandbox provides a testing environment where you can publish and work on HITs to try them out before publishing them in the Amazon Mechanical Turk Marketplace. The sandbox consists of a Requester sandbox website and a Worker sandbox website.

You will need to create a Requester account on the Requester sandbox website, which is located at https://requestersandbox.mturk.com. You'll also need to create a Worker account on the Worker sandbox website located at https://workersandbox.mturk.com to view your sandbox created HITs as a Worker. There is no charge for using the Mechanical Turk sandbox sites.

When testing in the sandbox, test each HIT in all the major Internet browsers to make sure your HIT works the same in each browser. If you have links to pictures or videos in your HITs, make sure the links work. Also, your testing should include verifying that the format of the submitted answers is acceptable.

Download the Appropriate Amazon Mechanical Turk SDK and Tools

Amazon Mechanical Turk provides SDKs and command line tools designed to make it easier for you to build solutions leveraging Amazon Mechanical Turk. These SDKs and tools hide the complexity and simplify using the Amazon Mechanical Turk APIs.

The sections below provide instructions for installing the SDKs and command line tools. You must install one of the SDKs or the command line tools to run the examples in this guide.

Installing Command Line Tools

You must install and configure the command line tools correctly before you can use the command line to work through the examples in this guide.

If you use Unix, use the following procedure.

To install the Amazon Mechanical Turk command line tools for Unix users

  1. Go to Amazon Mechanical Turk Command Line Tools.

  2. Go to the [Command Line Tools Installation Directory]\ directory and open the file Overview.html.

  3. Follow the instructions in the section "Installing the command line tools" in the Overview.html file to install and configure the command line tools.

    You need your Access Key ID and Secret Access Key for this step.

If you use Windows, use the following procedure.

To install the Amazon Mechanical Turk command line tools for Windows Users

  1. Go to Amazon Mechanical Turk Command Line Tools and download the command line tools.

  2. Run mech-turk-setup.exe and follow the instructions.

    This setup wizard installs and configures the command line tools. You need your Access Key ID and Secret Access Key for this step.

Install C# Tools

To install and configure the Amazon Mechanical Turk SDK for .Net

  1. Go to Amazon Mechanical Turk SDK for .NET and download the Amazon Mechanical Turk SDK for .NET.

  2. Open the file [SDK Installation Directory]\Overview.html.

  3. Verify that you meet the prerequisites listed in the "Prerequisites" section of the Overview.html file.

  4. Follow the instructions in the section "Installing the Amazon Mechanical Turk SDK for .NET" of the Overview.html file to install and configure the SDK.

    You need your Access Key ID and Secret Access Key for this step.

You must configure the SDK correctly before you can use the examples in this guide.

Install Java Tools

To install the Amazon Mechanical Turk SDK for Java

  1. Go to Amazon Mechanical Turk SDK for Java and download the SDK for Java.

  2. Open the file [SDK Installation Directory]\Overview.html.

  3. Verify that you meet the prerequisites listed in the "Prerequisites" section of the Overview.html file.

  4. Follow the instructions in the section "Installing the SDK" of the Overview.html file to install and configure the SDK.

    You need your Access Key ID and Secret Access Key for this step.

You must configure the SDK correctly before you can use the examples in this guide.

Install Perl Tools

To install the Amazon Mechanical Turk SDK for Perl

  1. Go to Amazon Mechanical Turk SDK for Perl and download the SDK for Perl.

  2. Open the file [SDK Installation Directory]\README.

  3. Verify that you meet the prerequisites listed in the "Prerequisites" section of the README file.

  4. Follow the instructions in the "Installation" section of the README file to install and configure the SDK.

    You need your Access Key ID and Secret Access Key for this step.

You must configure the SDK correctly before you can use the examples in this guide.

Install Ruby Tools

To install the Ruby Libraries for Amazon Web Services

  1. Go to Ruby Libraries for Amazon Web Services and download the Ruby libraries.

  2. Open the file [SDK Installation Directory]\README.

  3. Verify that you meet the prerequisites listed in the "Prerequisites" section of the README file.

  4. Follow the instructions in the "Installation" section of the README file to install and configure the libraries.

    You need your Access Key ID and Secret Access Key for this step.

You must configure the SDK correctly before you can use the examples in this guide.

Creating a HIT Tutorial

The Creating a HIT tutorial in the next section takes you step-by-step through using Amazon Mechanical Turk to create a HIT. The tutorial is written procedurally so you should follow it from beginning to end. After completing the tutorial, you should have a good feel for the major tasks you can complete using Amazon Mechanical Turk.

Alternately, you can skip the Creating a HIT tutorial and jump right to the last section that provides links to code samples, application examples, forums, and other resources designed to help you learn Amazon Mechanical Turk. For more information, see Implementing Amazon Mechanical Turk.