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Grand Central Lost & Found

Metro northThere was a very nice piece in the New York Times the other day about Mike Nolan, the manager of Metro-North Railroad’s lost-and-found department. Via the article:

Since joining Metro-North in 1994, Mr. Nolan has applied the analytical skills he honed as a Wall Street analyst to a tracking system that once depended on pen and paper and that in many ways had not changed in decades. He has modernized it, designing a database that allows agents to gather information over the phone from customers and see if an item has been found.To streamline the process, Metro-North a few weeks ago unveiled a page on its Web site where customers can type in information about what they have lost. Mr. Nolan said he expects the online system to eliminate one-third, or about 500, of the phone calls that his office receives about lost items each month.

But here is my favorite part — a statement that warms the heart (and confirms the thinking) of anyone who’s betting large these days on the concept of user-generated content:

“It’s great to have other people do my data-entry work for me,” he said.

How true. FWIW, Grand Central Station is a pretty fascinating place. The lost-and-found department is but one of the many byways featured in Maira Kalman‘s excellent book, Next Stop, Grand Central, which, to my mind, is one of the best non-fiction kids’ books ever.