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.

Friday, July 01, 2005

OK, I've started a blog.

Well, after thinking about making a blog for a long while, I finally just decided to quit procrastinating and just start one, and see where it ends up. The first day of the first month of the second half of the year is a nice round time to start afresh.

I've just got back from the Alternative Education Resource Organization's 2005 conference, "A Spectrum of Alternatives", held last weekend, and one of the first things I'm going to do is to write about it. (Also, I was talking to a person at the conference who was posting entries to his own blog about the conference, and I was thinking, "hey, it looks easy, why not!") I've also been to two of their previous conferences in the same location, the International Democratic Education Conference (IDEC) 2003, and 2004's AERO 15th anniversary conference; it was nice seeing people again from those conferences, as well as seeing new folks too, such as seeing Alfie Kohn in person for the first time.