(Please bear with this long post)
Over the past number of years, we have seen the selection of old books and
other old resources from Second Reformation other times grow enormously.
Much of this was initiated through Still Waters Revival Books,
first with the photocopies which gave everyone access to these precious
documents and more recently with the CD sets which gave us electronic
versions, for simple electronic access and significantly reduce shelf space.
However, even the CD sets suffered from disadvantages. These included no
searching functionality, no font manipulation and poor enlarging, and a
significant amount of computer storage space necessary to store the books in
this electronic format (making them non-conducive to web distribution). The
formats these CDs are in are essentially images of each page.
We feel the next (and equally important) step is upon us. That step is
conversion of many (if not most) of these books into an actual 'electronic
text' format. The benefits are immense. They include full searching
functionality, drastically reduced storage requirements, leading to fewer
discs needed (estimating that 30 CDs in the old set could fit on 1 CD in the
new) as well as free online distribution through the web. Also, these would
be incredibly easy to quote from, as easy as copy and paste. This is the
only logical method for the perfect preservation of these documents into the
future and the most efficient and effective means of distributing them on an
even larger scale than can now be undertaken. Despite the impressive
computing technology of today, the process of developing these electronic
texts from images still requires human intervention. That is where you come
Currently running online, is a website called Distributed Proofreaders
). It is run under the umbrella of Project Gutenberg
) which is a website with one of the largest
collections of free old literature in electronic formats. Distributed
Proofreaders (DP) allows certain people to provide their own content for the
site in the form of page images (like our CDs are currently in), and through
a combined effort, gets converted into electronic text formats (one page at
a time). Through this combined effort, they process thousands of pages
every day, with their online community. The essense of Project Gutenberg
(and consequently, DP) is free access for everyone. All books that go on
there must be public domain, therefore anyone can download, reformat, and/or
redistribute books from their site for whatever use imagineable (even for
My son, Jordan has been
granted the privilege of providing content for their site (and
the responsibility of managing through the site). He has already successfully managed the following books as they went through. These are Christ, The Way, The Truth, and The Life (John Brown of Wamphray), Auchensaugh Renovation, Act, Declaration, and Testimony, Sketches of the Covenanters (McFeeters), Life of James Renwick (Houston), Divine Right of Church Government (by London Ministers), Notes on the Apocalypse (Steele) which are all up on Project Gutenberg, ready for the public to download. Some of the titles in first and second round are: True History of the Church of Scotland - Calderwood, Vindication of Presbyterial Government and Ministry - London Ministers, Acts of the General Assembly, Covenants & The Covenanters - Kerr, Biographia Scoticana - Howie, Records of the Kirk of Scotland (Part 1 & 2) - Peterkin, Works of George Gillespie (Vol 1
& 2), The Works of Hugh Binning, Booke of the Universall Kirk of Scotland - Peterkin, A Coal from the Altar, to Kindle the Holy Fire of Zeale - Ward, etc. We are anxious for the completion of these tomes to finally be able to get some of our subordinate standards in searchable form.
This is a great project for everyone to get involved in as it doesn't
require any great technical computer skills or theological skills to
participate, but because the aim of the site is for quality of conversion
rather than quantity, one should be comfortable with their computer and be a
highly proficient English reader (I wouldn't recommend adolescents, etc).
Another benefit is, it demands as little or as much time as you want to
spare. You can do one page a week or 50 pages a day. This
system manages everything and ensures that the book is done as quickly as
possible. But by working together, we are being the most productive.
I mentioned quality. DP strives to preserve the author's text as much as
possible. This includes leaving original spelling, including all footnotes,
side notes, and illustrations. We can be confident that our books will come
out of here in excellent shape. Far better than
many independent projects
of this nature.
Jordan's vision for the future of this is to have all of our relevant books
available in accurate electronic editions within a couple of years. Aside
from the effort of the proofreaders, there is work on the part of the
project manager (Jordan) both before the book goes on the site and after the
book has been finished on the site. For that reason, we foresee us probably
being able to produce one new book per week, which is actually quite
impressive. If, at a later point after doing a fair amount of proofreading,
someone else feels ambitious enough to take on some project management
roles, then we may even be able to increase that production.
Thank you for reading this far. If you want to know more specifics about
how it works and how you can help out, please see below. Feel free to
forward this message if you know of others who may be interested. If
are not interested, and don't know of anyone who is, thank you for your
How Distributed Proofreaders Works:
I could give a detailed description, but they have already developed an
excellent summary of how it all works. It can be found at:http://www.pgdp.net/c/faq/ProoferFAQ.php
Please read all relevant portions of this before moving on to sign up. It
will just clear up a lot of questions you'll run into.
How To Sign Up and Get Started:
(Please have at least half an hour to an hour available for this, but please
try it...it's simple once you get going.)
Instead of using their instructions, I'll make a set specific to us.
1: Go to http://www.pgdp.net/c/accounts/addproofer.php
and enter in
2: Once you submit the information, a page will come up telling you that you
have been signed up and may now begin proofing.
3: Once you click that button in the middle, it will bring you to the main
DP page. If you scroll down the page, you will see a listing of all the
books that are currently available to be proof read. On the side bar you
will see some statistics about the site and yourself.
4: Before you start anything else, go to the following link...http://www.pgdp.net/c/stats/teams/tdetail.php?tid=250
This is our team
page, just a convenient way to keep track of who's signed up and maybe add a
little bit of friendly competition regarding pages completed. Right beside
the Team name (RPNA) and the XML button, there will be a link to "Join". If
you click that, it will add you to the team, so your name
will appear in the
list of members. Before you leave this page, you can check out the team
"Website" which is listed near the top of the page. This is a page I
maintain that simply lists all of the active projects I'm working on, and
the state they are in. This is for your information's sake and if you have
suggestions for other books to do, you can send them to me. You can now go
back to the main DP page.
5: Before you begin proofing, you MUST read the guidelines. I cannot stress
the importance of this enough. For these books to be of any use to us, all
of our proofreaders must be doing things the same way. These guidelines can
be accessed through the "Help" button at the top of every page, in the dark
green bar. In there, you'll find the "Proofing Guidelines". I wouldn't say
you have to read and remember every detail at the beginning, but at least
look at and acknowledge every section
so you'll know what there are rules
about and just have it handy when you're doing your first 20-50 pages. You
won't run into most of the situations, but some you'll use a lot (italics,
paragraphs, etc) so eventually you won't have to refer back to the
6: Once you feel comfortable with the basic principles and guidelines of the
proofing, go back to the main page listing all the current projects
available in the first round. If you scroll down the list, you may very
likely see one or two listed with "Wraezor" (myself) as the Project Manager.
Those are, obviously, our books. However, for the first 5 or 10 pages that
you proof, I would suggest doing ones listed as Beginner. If you look in
the Genre field, you will see some near the top listed as "BEGINNERS ONLY".
Don't take this as an insult but as a safe way of getting some practice.
People will be much more understanding if you make a mistake (or
When these projects move to the second round of proofing, the people who
check it have much more experience and are encouraged to provide feedback to
the beginners on what things they missed, so they can improve their skills.
7: To try your hand at proofing a page, find one that looks good (preferably
English, unless you're adventurous), and click on the title. This will
launch another window, which should take up your whole screen (you'll be
using all of it, believe me). At the top of the new window there will be a
row of links. If the window does not take up your whole screen, I would
suggest going into "Interface Preferences" right now and changing it. There
are plenty of settings to tweak in here, so you may want to come back later,
if you want to adjust your interface more to suit your style. For now, just
change the resolution, near the top of the left column. Set it to the
your monitor is set at, if you know it. If you don't, just bump
it up one notch. Now go to the bottom of the page and click the "Save
Preferences" button. Once it brings you back to the initial page you saw
when you opened the window, close it, then go back to the main DP page
listing the projects and hit Refresh on your browser. Once it reloads,
click on the same book again, and it should have adjusted your resolution to
your new setting. (If it's still not quite right, you can go back in and
tweak it again.)
8: Once you have your interface the right size, you can begin proofing. To
do that, ensure you are in the proofing window (which you enter by clicking
on a book title and having it launch the new window), then scroll down and
read the project comments. Sometimes particular Project Managers want
proofreaders to deviate from the standard Proofing Guidelines in some
way...this is where they will
list that. If it all looks normal, scroll
back up to the top and click "Start Proofing".
9: This will launch the proofing screen (in a horizontal layout, which you
can change in your preferences). At the top you will see the page image,
and at the bottom you will see the text version in a box. Once you've proof
read and corrected it all, according to the guidelines, you can use the
buttons to move on or stop. Use the "?" button in the bottom right to make
sure you know what each button does.
10: That's about it. You've done a basic walkthrough of the system. After
you have done a few pages and are feeling more comfortable with the
interface and the guidelines, feel free to try some EASY projects and then
some of the books I have on there, which are some of the more useful books
on there, you'll probably find. With that, I just want to say, thanks so
much for your help.