The Project Gutenberg FAQ - VV-TY

Tonya Allen

I discovered Project Gutenberg in about 1997. After several years of enjoying PG's texts, in June of 2002 I decided it was time to start contributing. Via the PG web site I learned that the easiest way to do this would be to help out with proofreading via Charles Franks' Distributed Proofreaders web site. The day I signed on I proofed nine whole pages of a children's book called Curly and Floppy Twistytail and felt very proud to be contributing.

At that time, there were probably only about 40 active volunteers on the site each day. Often I proofed an entire book almost all by myself over the course of a week or so. Things moved at a leisurely pace; guidelines were few and simple; and I had fun reading old books and discovering new authors.

After a few months a request was made for volunteers to post-process texts in French. I volunteered to help with this, and that was how I became a post-processor (PPer). Shortly afterwards, the web page listing texts available for post-processing and sign-out was unveiled. I remember several times checking and being disappointed because there was nothing currently available (hard to imagine now when there are always at least 40 texts waiting).

One day in November, I picked out a likely-looking text from the proofing page, and settled down for an hour of reading. As I recall, it was The Greek View of Life, a sizeable text of which only a few pages had been proofed so far, and which I thought would last for several days at least. At about that time, someone emailed me to say that DP had been "/.ed." "What does that mean?" I replied. I soon found out.

I had been proofing away peacefully for awhile when suddenly instead of the next page, I got a page about twenty pages further on. The same thing happened again and again, and suddenly all the pages were gone; the whole text had been completed. DP had indeed been slashdotted.

Since then, a lot of amazing things have happened. The number of active volunteers per day has increased almost 1000%. The number of texts that go through the site has increased exponentially. All kinds of proofing and processing tools have been developed. I now spend most of my time checking texts that others have PPed, and submitting them to PG, at an average rate of one to four per day--quite a leap from nine pages of Curly and Floppy Twistytail. And I'm looking forward to everything that lies ahead as DP continues to evolve.