Surfing the World Wide Web, a weekly article

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Surfing the World Wide Waves (WWW)

Distributed proofreading


Whilst people are out complaining about the manner in which Google is going about digitizing the world's libraries a lower budget solution has been taking place. Project Gutenburg has been collating electronic books in the three domain for a number of years now. They currently have over 18,000 texts in a variety of languages.

What makes this project so special is the people who are working on it. After looking for some electronic books I saw that there was the option of proofreading a page a day to contribute to getting these works archived and shared on the World Wide Web. I've been participating for a short time now and I find that the variety of books is fascinating.

You go from texts thinking about how to investigate weather occurences such as Hurricanes to fiction books from medieval settings to World War I France and other topics. As you're concentrating on comparing the Scanned text to the OCR'd text you begin to unravel worlds which you would not otherwise read about. I have the label of proofreader at the moment. After three hundred texts and a test you can become a formatter and after several thousand pages you can be a post processor, in other words the electronic equivalent of a bookbinder.

It's a fascinating project divided as America on one side and Europe on the other side. Both of these collaborate but whilst the American one deals with international texts the European one has a greater variety of languages, from Icelandic and Polish to Urdu, Romanian and more.

if you chose to you may get messages informing you of when books you've been working on are released to the general public to be read and you'll see a product of your work.

Project Gutenburg's Distributed Proofreader's guild

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