Tutorial: Obtain Mechanical Turk Credentials

To use AutoMan, you will need an Amazon Mechanical Turk account. If you already have one, and you know your secret and access keys, you may skip ahead to Tutorial: Create an AutoMan Project.

  1. Click on the button "Get Started with Amazon Mechanical Turk."

  2. Click on the button "Create a Requester Account."

  3. Follow the instructions for registering an account.

  4. Once you have an MTurk account, you will need to go to the page Getting Started as an Amazon Mechanical Turk Developer. Follow the steps on that page up to and including Step 3. Once you link your AWS account to your MTurk account, it is important to save a copy of your AWS access keys somewhere PRIVATE 🔏. To reiterate, you do not need to perform steps 4 ("Download an AWS Software Development Kit") or 5 ("Make Your First API Call").

As of the time of this writing, step 3 above leads to a "Looking for something?" error page on MTurk. I have reported the broken link to Amazon, but in the meantime, look at the top of the error page for the Create an Account link (or just click on my link).

You will need your MTurk "access key" and "secret access key" to use AutoMan; I call these "MTurk credentials" from here on. Note that, for security reasons, if you lose your MTurk credentials, you cannot retrieve them from Amazon a second time. Instead you will need to regenerate them.

Your keys should look something like:

access key: AKIA5KJ00DF3H&KJ2B9N
secret key: qGCCxrnAUlvW12KRuuCo5i5m80ptEVclf7kjAbsK

You are strongly cautioned not to store your MTurk credentials (or any other password-like information) on any publically-accessible site, especially GitHub. The author of this article personally knows someone who accidentally stored their passwords in GitHub, and later discovered that cyber-criminals had used that information to drain money out of their account! Be careful!

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