Saturday, January 19, 2008

Yesterday I registered to become a Distributed Proofreader for Project Gutenberg. It's something I've wanted to do for a long time, but I think they recently made it a lot easier to sign up so I was actually able to follow through this time. (By 'recently', I mean within the past couple of years). They have a VERY user-friendly interface that allows you to log in, pick out a book that's in process, and proofread a couple of pages at a time (or however many you're feeling up to at a sitting). The level of difficulty is gradual so that newbies like myself get the really simple stuff, and more experienced users do the more complicated cases. At my stage, it mostly involves checking the OCR rendition of a text against the scanned image of the text and correcting any obvious gaffes on the part of the OCR. Books go through several stages of proofreading and formatting, getting the benefit of several different sets of eyes at each stage.

Some people enjoy hunting for vintage treasures at antique shops and secondhand stores; this is my version of that pleasure. I love to just dip into a long-forgotten book, browse, and relish the now quaint-seeming topics, word choices, and even spelling. Often enough they're long-forgotten for very good reason, but in short doses, still fun. Long, long ago when I worked at a used bookstore, I had a habit of dragging home all the decrepit antique books that people would just drop off at the back door or that the shopowner would allow them to trade in out of pity more than anything else. Not enough room for that anymore, alas, but Project Gutenberg is almost as much fun (though without that old book smell I love).


GrayEyedScorpio said...

How exciting! Linguistics courses were some of my favorites at UM-St.Louis with David Carkeet. Enjoy your new title, and the privileges it affords!

High Desert Diva said...

oh that old book smell!