Tuesday, July 05, 2005

My first anniversary at Distributed Proofreaders

Today is exactly one year since I've joined Distributed Proofreaders. It's a project for producing electronic texts of public domain books (from classic to obscure) for the website Project Gutenberg (which is one of the largest such websites, and has existed in some form since the 1970s). The work of producing a text is split up so that many people can work on it at the same time. Most of the work of producing an accurate text is the work of correcting and formatting text that has been extracted by software (known as OCR) from a scan of a book's page; in DP, proofreaders log on to the site and, via specialized software, compare the digital text and image side-by-side. One page is proofread at a time by any one person.

It's a lot of fun. It provides a way to indulge two of my favorite things, old books and computers, at the same time. There's a combination of flexibility and seriousness in the structure. The activity level is high as books move through the site and eventually end up on PG. Also, it demystifies the process of producing electronic texts, which is easier than one might think.

Some of the authors I've proofread during this time: Jane Addams, Edmund Burke, Augustus de Morgan, Mary Mapes Dodge (as editor), Sigmund Freud, Friedrich Froebel, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Thomas Henry Huxley, Maurus Jokai ("the Shakespeare of Hungary"), John Maynard Keynes, H. P. Lovecraft, Thomas Paine, George Santayana, Herbert Spencer, Alfred Russel Wallace.

I proofread just over 1,300 pages during this time. Also, I'm credited in the following texts:
  1. Three Contributions to the Theory of Sex (aka Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality) by Sigmund Freud
  2. Democracy and Social Ethics by Jane Addams
  3. Dream Psychology by Sigmund Freud
One thing I haven't done yet is submit books to DP.

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