The Proofreading Quizzes

FallenArchangel knows! Try it.

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I am one of the thousands of volunteers at Distributed Proofreaders. We’re Distributed because we’re located in different places all over the globe and we’re Proofreaders because we read text looking for errors. We turn out-of-copyright printed books into electronic eBooks, which have selectable/searchable text and which are also suitable for text-to-speech software, and then make those eBooks available to all, for free, via Project Gutenberg.

Once we have a scanned image of a page from a printed book, we run Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software on it to turn the image of text into actual editable text. The OCR accuracy is good, but tends to still leave many mistakes (what we call “scannos”) in the created text. We then, in multiple passes, verify the OCR’s results.

In striving towards a high quality for the finished eBooks we aim for a consistent result from all the many different…

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Our 18th Anniversary

ReadingHappiness

Congratulations and many thanks to all for the many books so lovingly provided.

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18th anniversaryEighteen years ago, on October 1, 2000, Distributed Proofreaders volunteers began “preserving history one page at a time” by preparing public-domain e-books for Project Gutenberg. Since then, DP has contributed over 36,000 unique titles. Here’s a look back at some of DP’s accomplishments since our last retrospective.

Milestones

33,000 titles. In November 2016, Distributed Proofreaders posted its 33,000th unique title to Project Gutenberg, A Flower Wedding, by the great children’s book illustrator Walter Crane. You can read all about it in this celebratory post.

34,000 titles. Our 34,000th title was, appropriately, A Manual of the Art of Bookbinding, and was posted in July 2017. The DP blog post on this milestone is here.

35,000 titles. DP contributed its 35,000th title, Shores of the Polar Sea, in January 2018. This beautifully illustrated account of a 19th-Century expedition to the North Pole is celebrated in this…

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The Kid from Cleveland

Thanks, Jim! I’m not a fan of short stories in general, but Harlan Ellison wrote some great ones – very memorable.

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Of Course, It Helps If You Have Harlan’s Imagination

No, not me, but a much more talented writer. Harlan Ellison (1934-2018) was born in Cleveland and raised there and in nearby Painesville, Ohio. It is a pity that Ellison is almost as well known for his legendary abrasiveness as for his speculative fiction, which ranks with the best ever written. As he himself wrote in Danse Macabre:

My work is foursquare for chaos. I spend my life personally, and my work professionally, keeping the soup boiling. Gadfly is what they call you when you are no longer dangerous; I much prefer troublemaker, malcontent, desperado. I see myself as a combination of Zorro and Jiminy Cricket.. My stories go out from here and raise hell. From time to time some denigrater or critic with umbrage will say of my work, ‘He only wrote that to shock.’ I smile and nod…

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The Grand Babylon Hôtel by Arnold Bennett

Book Around the Corner

The Grand Babylon Hotel by Arnold Bennett (1902)French title:Le Grand Hôtel Babylon.

I’d never heard of Arnold Bennett before Tom from Wuthering Expectations (or Les Expectations de Hurlevent during his stay in France) recommended The Grand Babylon Hotel to me. Published in 1902, it’s a funny novel set in a luxury hotel and full of twists and turns.

It starts as Mr Racksole, an American millionaire, stays at the Grand Babylon Hôtel in London with his twenty-three years old daughter Nella. The hôtel is a palace that caters for the aristocracy, royalty and millionaires. It was founded by Felix Babylon in 1869 and its staff prides itself for the impeccable style of the hôtel, always spelled à la French, with a ^ on the o, for the Swiss chic.

If there was one thing more than another that annoyed the Grand Babylon—put its back up, so to…

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Celebrating 35,000 Titles

Congratulations to DP and all the wonderful volunteers over the years for 35,000 titles!

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Read it free at Project Gutenberg.

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Distributed Proofreaders celebrates the 35,000th title it has posted to Project Gutenberg, Shores of the Polar Sea. Congratulations and thanks to all the DP volunteers who worked on it.

Prolonged periods of well-below-normal temperatures and wind chill have made life uncomfortable and even dangerous for people in areas of the northern hemisphere recently. This blast of frigid Arctic air gives scope to imagine what life was like for the British explorers venturing northwards toward the Pole in Shores of the Polar Sea, a Narrative of the Arctic Expedition of 1875-1876.

This detailed account of the expedition led by Sir George Strong Nares was written by British Royal Navy Surgeon Edward Lawton Moss (1843-1880), who served both as surgeon and artist on HMS Alert, one of the ships taking part. The many engravings and lovely chromolithographs in the book come from drawings and watercolor sketches made by Moss…

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A Volunteer’s Thoughts on DP

Thank you for your dedicated “work” and to all the DP volunteers, your labor of love is very appreciated.

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majorca From With a Camera in Majorca

Passing time at Distributed Proofreaders is not like working. It is for me a relaxing process that gives me many views of the world that I would have otherwise missed. I say missed because I have had neither the opportunity nor the money to travel, nor to read books as widely in my lifetime as I might have at one time wished to do. DP is a vicarious idea, where you can experience the world through books – one day a famous classic, the next maybe a few pages from a children’s book – a little adventure every day, the choices are wide. You can do as much or as little as you wish, and the tasks are variable and numerous. The wonderful world of books – maybe some are a little old-fashioned, but better late than never.

I have always lived in small villages…

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The Typesetters, the Proofreaders, and the Scribes

Very interesting post by WebRover, a volunteer at Distributed Proofreaders.

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scribeAt Distributed Proofreaders, we are all volunteers. We are under no time pressure to proof a certain number of pages, lines or characters. When we check out a page, we can take our careful time to complete it.

We can choose a character-dense page of mind-numbing lists of soldier’s names, ship’s crews, or index pages. We are free to select character-light pages of poetry, children’s tales or plays. Of course these come with their own challenges such as punctuation, dialogue with matching quotes or stage directions. We can pick technical manuals with footnotes, history with side notes, or  science with Latin biology names. We can switch back and forth to chip away at a tedious book interspersed with pages from a comedy or travelogue.

Every so often though, I stop and think about the original typesetters.

They didn’t get to pick their subject material, their deadline or their quota. They…

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Mary Roberts Rinehart

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I was off to the war. I might be turned back at Folkstone. There was more than a chance that I might not get beyond Calais, which was under military law. But at least I had made a start.

This is a narrative of personal experience. It makes no pretensions, except to truth. It is pure reporting, a series of pictures, many of them disconnected, but all authentic. It will take a hundred years to paint this war on one canvas. A thousand observers, ten thousand, must record what they have seen. To the reports of trained men must be added a bit here and there from these untrained observers, who without military knowledge, ignorant of the real meaning of much that they saw, have been able to grasp only a part of the human significance of the great tragedy of Europe.

I was such an observer.

Kings, Queens and Pawns: An American Woman at the Front by Mary Roberts Rinehart

 

Rinehart was one of the first woman to cover trench warfare during WWI. The story of this portion of her life is available free at Project Gutenberg and LibriVox.

Quote: Justine by Lawrence Durrell

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At night when the wind roars and the child sleeps quietly in its wooden cot by the echoing chimney-piece I light a lamp and limp about, thinking of my friends–of Justine and Nessim, of Melissa and Balthazar. I return link by link along the iron chains of memory to the city which we inhabited so briefly together: the city which used us as its flora–precipitated in us conflicts which were hers and which we mistook for our own: beloved Alexandria!

I had to come so far away from it in order to understand it all! Living on this bare promontory, snatched every night from darkness by Arcturus, far from the lime-laden dust of those summer afternoons, I see at last that none of us is properly to be judged for what happened in the past. It is the city which should be judged though we, its children, must pay the price.

Justine (The Alexandria Quartet #1) by Lawrence Durrell