Friday, June 19, 2015

Distributed Proofreaders

I joined the Distributed Proofreaders Network the other week. I have really been enjoying my tasks as a volunteer proofreader. The electronic texts end up as free ebooks on Project Gutenberg (which I have used heavily for years), so it is nice to be able to give something back. (If you aren't familiar with Project Gutenberg, they focus on works published before 1923 in the US, and before 1953 in Australia, and they have made tens of thousands of books available.)

I'm currently proofreading on my iPad, which isn't ideal due to the limitations with the iPad web browsers. They just can't interpret the custom interface for the DP proofing tools, but I found Chrome behaves better than Safari.  My iPad interface currently looks like this (screenshot joined to show scroll length):

My iPad screenshot.

Lots of limitations. The custom DP font doesn't display, the sizing of the interface is clunky, and adjustments make little or no difference after a certain point in regard to the custom width of the edit box pane or the image pane. However, proofing is certainly workable, it's just extra tapping and fiddling. In contrast, my netbook computer interface look like this:

My HP netbook screenshot.

Much better. 

The eleven works I have been proofreading so far have been of varying interest. One of the works I proofed five pages from as a newbie was titled, 'A Treatise on the Diseases produced by Onanism, Masturbation, Self-pollution, and other excesses'. After I finished my newbie projects and received my feedback, I began other works; 64 pages from 'The Toxins and Venoms, and their Antibodies' (interesting), 23 pages from 'The Cure of Rupture by Paraffin Injections' (ghastly), 226 pages from 'Under Orders', 164 pages from 'A Description of Greenland', and 399 pages from 'Greece and the Ægean Islands'.

My home life is quiet at the moment. As indicated by my member stats, it's pretty clear that since joining DP I have been a bit of proofreading machine:

All those pages in 19 days... even I am a tiny bit impressed. After I finish my current projects, I'm going to focus on difficult proofreads, works with low-quality scans or complex content. Because I am a speed-reader, I don't really trust myself with catching all the OCR errors in easy works. I need text that is unclear and unfamiliar and requires all my focus, instead of easy texts which allow me to leave proofing mode and slip into reading mode.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Night Operator - Frank L. Packard

What a fascinating read! Written in 1919, this cracking little volume contains ten short stories about the men and machines of the North American transcontinental steam rail line. Packard, as a young man, worked as a civil engineer for the Canadian Pacific Railway, and so likely draws much from the people and experiences he was involved with at the time.

I found each accident, tragedy, hero or villain quite engrossing, and loved delving into the day-to-day business of the protagonists and their turn-of-the-century steam locomotive adventures. A gem of a book (and especially good reading for young lads).

ebook: Munseys

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Currently Reading

  • Flight Out of Time A Dada Diary - Hugo Ball (Author), John Elderfield (Editor)
  • The Guarded Heights - Charles Wadsworth Camp
  • Greenmantle - John Buchan
  • The Night Operator - Frank L. Packard

The Hidden Road - Charles Wadsworth Camp

Immediately after having read the mystery story Sinister Island by Wadsworth Camp, I started on The Hidden Road, expecting much of the same murderous fare. Instead, I found a love story, and a convoluted one at that. Written in 1922, this is the tale of Nicolas Aldrich, a well-bred young man who returns to New York after WW1, to find his family, fortunes, and friends quite changed. He eventually falls into the pattern of his old life and old loves, but the presence of a striking young woman called Eleanor Grantley continually disturbs him.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


I love to read, and I love books. I do have a couple of electronic book readers, but they just don't compare to the real thing.

Recently a large number of books joined my collection, and I have been enjoying them immensely. Some are old books, some are new, some are good reading, and some are not. All are interesting. So, this is a blog about my books - short reviews and thoughts - I hope you enjoy it.