Saturday, July 25, 2009

Proofreading for Fun

So I had signed up as a volunteer proofreader at Distributed Proofreaders a couple months ago, but the stresses of work kept me from digging in, until this week. And now I'm happily buzzing right along, having gotten past the "beginner" stage, and now moving on to the next level of "easy" and "normal" projects. I am still tagged as a "novice," so that gives me a goal to work on - moving up to the next level.

Proofing one page at a time is a very nice system indeed, giving just a few minutes' work, so you can stop any time. No worries about interruptions - all contingencies are thought of and prepared for; the system has timers in place that return pages back to the queue even if you accidentally forget to come back. The multi-level proofing ensures that each and every page is examined thoroughly.

It's nice to feel productive, and to be part of a cause in which I am significantly interested. Distributed Proofreaders is the arm of Project Gutenberg that prepares works for public distribution as digital text (e-books). Primarily the texts are works in the public domain. The history of Project Gutenberg can be found on Wikipedia.

I first learned of Project Gutenberg through one of my kids' teachers, who directed us there as an option to the library to find a copy of a classic work. Over the last few years we have used this free resource for more than one school report. It immediately struck my fancy, as I love books, especially older works, and the ability to read and search through classic works in digital format excited me.

More recently, I went there searching for another e-book to read, and noticed the links to Distributed Proofreaders, and being a lover of books and editing and writing, I naturally wanted to dive in. There was a bit of instructional reading to get started, but as time allowed I got through it. And so here I am, beginning a personal involvement in what is already a huge community accomplishment, the preservation of classic literature for not only ourselves, but for generations to come.

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