Contented Reader

just point me toward the nearest library

Distributed Proofreaders

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I am a huge fan of Project Gutenberg.  By which I mean, I think Project Gutenberg is pretty nearly the most important thing on the internet, and I both use it and proselytize for it.

So where do the free ebooks on Project Gutenberg come from?  They come from a variety of sources, but a lot of them come from Distributed Proofreaders.  That’s the site where volunteers find old books that are now in the public domain, scan their pages, convert the scanned images to text, carefully proofread and format the text, convert it into the various file formats, and add the finished product to Project Gutenberg’s catalog.  They have a very organized system of checks and double-checks to ensure that the texts they provide to PG are high quality and free of errors.

I registered with Distributed Proofreaders a long time ago, but it’s only this weekend that I’ve started getting interested in volunteering.  I’ve been proofreading individual pages while I eat, a few at a time.  As a beginning volunteer, the jobs that are open to me are jobs that any literate person can do: the first round of proofreading, and ‘smooth reading,’ which is reading a finished text as a reader, before it’s sent on to Project Gutenberg, to try to catch any errors that the previous volunteers missed.  If I continue volunteering, as I learn more about Distributed Proofreaders’ system of creating ebooks, other levels of work will open to me- formatting and processing books, for example.

This is a small way that I can participate in creating something I believe is important, something that makes the world a better place.  Plus it’s entertaining, reading small excerpts of strange old books.  If this sounds like something that you’d find fun, you should totally try it.


Written by Contented Reader

October 9, 2011 at 12:10 pm

Posted in Project Gutenberg


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