A varied and sometimes erratic record of what I'm learning inside and outside of the classroom

Monday, September 27, 2010

Help Change the World... One Page At A Time!

Remember when I was geeking out about OCR that I came across in my Project Gutenberg research earlier?

Allow me another geek-out moment, if you will.

In the same article by Marie Lebert that I linked to in my earlier post, I read that Project Gutenberg is entirely powered by volunteers...and guess what? YOU can become one of them!!

Distributed Proofreaders (http://www.pgdp.net/c/) is the site that prepares texts for the Project Gutenberg archive. You go to the website, sign up as a volunteer, review the proofreading guidelines, and away you go! Marie Lebert explains,
Each time you go to the website, you choose the book you want. Pages of the book appear side by side in two forms – one the scanned image and the other the text produced by OCR (optical character recognition) software. You compare the two and make corrections. OCR is usually 99% accurate, which makes for about 10 corrections a page. You save each page you do and can then either stop work or do another. All the books are proofread twice (the second time only by experienced proofreaders) before the final version is ready for the public (after which any further errors noted by readers are systematically corrected)
There is no hard-and-fast commitment for being a volunteer--you may proofread as often or seldom as you like. The hope is, however, that you will do one page a day. And for those of you who speak other languages, there is a Distributed Proofreaders Europe that digitizes books in European tongues.

So, as I explained to a few of my classmates on Thursday after class, you have the chance to work with the output of the incredibly cool OCR software, AND help change the world by helping to make all these texts available in digital form. Gutenberg, Manutius, and Milton would be so proud.

See? SEE?? Aren't you excited?!?

1 comment:

  1. Ariel, thanks for putting together that lab-share after class on Thursday and introducing this concept. I really like how the volunteer work you're doing illustrates the internet gift economy that Dr. Burton wrote about