What inspires people to contribute to a site for nothing? Stephen Luries goes on a mission to find the people determined to give credit where credit is due — and the automation getting ready to topple them.

Adams, now 88, has since written almost 7,000 plot summaries for films listed on the Internet Movie Database (IMDb). In total, he’s contributed more than 890,000 pieces of information about film and TV, a chunk of which came straight from the files he hauled from Eastland. “If data was weighable,” he told me, “the IMDb owes a small ton of thank you kindly, sirs to Preston Smith and Victor Cornelius. I was only the messenger.”