The Project Gutenberg FAQ


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General FAQ


About Project Gutenberg

G.1. What is Project Gutenberg?
G.2. Where did Project Gutenberg come from?
G.3. What has Project Gutenberg achieved?
G.4. Who runs Project Gutenberg?
G.5. How many people are in Project Gutenberg?
G.6. How can I contact Project Gutenberg?
G.7. How can I help Project Gutenberg?
G.8. How can I keep in touch with what Project Gutenberg is doing?
G.9. What is the relationship between Project Gutenberg, Projekt Gutenberg-DE, Project Gutenberg of Australia, and Project Runeberg?

About Project Gutenberg publications

G.10. Does Project Gutenberg publish only books?
G.11. What books does Project Gutenberg publish?
G.12. What other things does Project Gutenberg publish?
G.13. How does Project Gutenberg choose books to publish?
G.14. What languages does Project Gutenberg publish in?
G.15. Why don't you have any / many books about history, geography, science science, biography, etc.?
Why aren't there any / more PG books available in French, Spanish, German, etc.?
G.16. Why don't you have any books by Steven King, Tom Clancy, Tolkien, etc.?
G.17. Why is Project Gutenberg so set on using Plain Vanilla ASCII?

Readers' FAQ


About Finding eBooks

R.1. How can I find an eBook I'm looking for?
R.2. Can I get a complete list of Project Gutenberg eBooks?
R.3. How can I download a PG text without using the web catalog?
R.4. You don't have the eBook I'm looking for. Can you help me find it?
R.5. Where else can I go to get eBooks?
R.6. I see some eBooks in several places on the Net. Do different people really re-create the same eBooks?

About Using the Web Site

R.7. Why couldn't I reach your site? (or: Why is your site slow?)
R.8. I get an error when I try to download a book.
R.9. I searched for a book I know is in Project Gutenberg, but got no results.
R.10. Can I copy your website, or your website materials?
R.11. Your site doesn't look right in my browser. I clicked on a button, and nothing happened.
R.12. What does that thing about "Select FTP Site" mean?
R.13. What exactly is an FTP site anyway?
R.14. Can I become an FTP mirror?
R.15. Can I make a private FTP mirror for my school, library or organization?
R.16. When I clicked on the file I want, nothing happened.
R.17. How many texts are downloaded through the web site?
R.18. What are the most popular books?

About Downloading and Using Project Gutenberg eBooks

R.19. Should I download a ZIP or a TXT file?
R.20. I've got a ZIP file. What do I do with it?
R.21. I tried to unzip my file, but it said the file was corrupt, or damaged.
R.22. I see gibberish onscreen when I click on a book.
R.23. Can I download and read your books?
R.24. What am I allowed to do with the books I download?
R.25. Does Project Gutenberg know who downloads their books?
R.26. I've found some obvious typos in a Project Gutenberg text. How should I report them?
R.27. I've found some obvious typos in a Project Gutenberg text. Who should I report them to?
R.28. I've reported some typos. What will happen next?
R.29. I've got the text file, and I can read it, but it seems to be double-spaced or it has control characters like ^J or ^M at the end of every line.
R.30. When I print out the text file, each line runs over the edge of the page and looks bad.
R.31. I can read the text file, but a few characters appear as black squares, or gibberish.
R.32. Can I get a handheld device for reading PG texts? Which device should I get?
R.33. How can I read a PG eBook on my PDA (Palm, iPaq, Rocket . . .)

About the Files

R.34. What types of files are there, and how do I read them?
R.35. What do the filenames of the texts mean?
R.36. What is the difference within PG between an "edition" and a "version"?
R.37. What is the difference between an "etext" and an "eBook"?
R.38. What are the "Etext/Ebook numbers" on the texts?
R.39. What do the month and year on the text mean?

Copyright FAQ

C.1. What is copyright?
C.2. Does copyright differ from country to country? From state to state?
C.3. What are the copyright laws outside the U.S.?
C.4. Why does Project Gutenberg advise only on U.S. copyright issues?
C.5. I don't live in the U.S. Do these rules apply to me?
C.6. What is the public domain?
C.7. What can I do with a text that is in the public domain?
C.8. How does a book enter the public domain?
C.9. How does a copyright lapse?
C.10. What books are in the public domain?
C.11. My book says that it's "Copyright 1894". Is it in the public domain?
C.12. How can a copyright owner release a work into the public domain?
C.13. When is an author not the owner of a copyright on his or her works?
C.14. What does Project Gutenberg mean by "eligible"?
C.15. I have a manuscript from 1900. Is it eligible?
C.16. How come my paper book of Shakespeare says it's "Copyright 1988"?
C.17. What makes a "new copyright"?
C.18. I have a 1990 book that I know was originally written in 1840, but the publisher is claiming a new copyright. What should I do?
C.19. I have a 1990 reprint of an 1831 original. Is it eligible?
C.20. I have a text that I know was based on a pre-1923 book, but I don't have the title page. Can I submit it to PG?
C.21. How does Project Gutenberg "clear" books for copyright?
C.22. I want to produce a particular book. Will it be copyright cleared?
C.23. I have some extra material (images, introduction, preface, missing chapter) that should go into an existing PG text. Do I have to copyright-clear my edition before submitting it?
C.24. I see some Project Gutenberg eBooks that are copyrighted. What's up with that?
C.25. What are "non-renewed" books?
C.26. How can I get Project Gutenberg to clear a non-renewed book?

Volunteers' FAQ


About the Basics

V.1. How do I get started as a Project Gutenberg volunteer?
V.2. What experience do I need to produce or proof a text?
V.3. How do I produce a text?
V.4. Do I need any special equipment?
V.5. Do I need to be able to program?
V.6. I am a programmer, and I would like to help by programming.
V.7. What does a Gutenberg volunteer actually do?
V.8. Can I produce a book in my own language?
V.9. Does it have to be a book? Can I produce pieces from a magazine or other periodical?
V.10. Do I have to produce in plain ASCII text?
V.11. Where do I sign up as a volunteer?
V.12. How do PG volunteers communicate, keep in touch, or co-ordinate work?
V.13. Where can I find a list of books that need proofing?
V.14. Is there a list of books that Project Gutenberg wants?
V.15. I have one book I'd like to contribute. Can I do just that without signing up?

About production

V.16. How does a text get produced?
V.17. How long must a text be to qualify for PG?
V.18. What books are eligible?
V.19. Are reprints or facsimiles eligible?
V.20. What is the difference between a reprint and a facsimile?
V.21. What is the difference between a reprint and a "new edition"?
V.22. What book should I work on?
V.23. I have a book in mind, but I don't have an eligible copy.
V.24. Where can I find an eligible book?
V.25. What is "TP&V"?
V.26. What is "Posting"?
V.27. I think I've found an eligible book that I'd like to work on. What do I do next?
V.28. What books are currently being worked on?
V.29. How do I find out if my book is already on-line somewhere?
V.30. My book is not on the In-Progress list, and I can't find it on-line.
V.31. My book is on-line, but not in Project Gutenberg. What should I do?
V.32. My book is already on-line in Project Gutenberg, but my printed book is different from the version already archived. Can I add my version?
V.33. I see a book that was being worked on three years ago. Is anyone still working on it?
V.34. I've decided which book to produce. How do I tell PG I'm working on it?
V.35. I have a two- or three-volume set. Should I submit them as one text, or one text for each volume?
V.36. I have one physical book, with multiple works in it (like a collection of plays). Should I submit each text separately?
V.37. How do I get copyright clearance?
V.38. I have a two- or three-volume set. Do I have to get a separate clearance on each physical book?
V.39. I have one physical book, with multiple works in it (like a collection of plays). Do I have to get a separate clearance for each work?
V.40. Who will check up on my progress? When?
V.41. How long should it take me to complete a book?
V.42. I want/don't want my name published on my e-text.
V.43. I'd like to put a copy of my finished e-text, or another Gutenberg text, on my own web page.
V.44. I've scanned, edited and proofed my text. How do I find someone to second-proof it?
V.45. I've gone over and over my text. I can't find any more errors, and I'm sick of looking at it. What should I do now?
V.46. Where and how can I send my text for posting?
V.47. What is the "Credits Line"?
V.48. How soon after I send it will my text be posted?
V.49. I found a problem with my posted text. What do I do?
V.50. Someone has e-mailed me about my posted text, pointing out errors.
V.51. Someone has e-mailed me about my posted text, thanking me.

About Proofing

V.52. What role does proofing play in Project Gutenberg?
V.53. What is Distributed Proofing?
V.54. What do I need to proof an e-text?
V.55. Do I need to have a paper copy of the book I'm proofing?
V.56. What's the difference between "first proof" and "second proof"?
V.57. What do I do with an e-text sent to me for proofing?
V.58. What kinds of errors will I have to correct?
V.59. How long does it take to proof an e-text?
V.60. Are there any special techniques for proofing?
V.61. What actually happens during a proof?

About Net searching

V.62. I've found an eligible text elsewhere on the Net, but it's not in the PG archives. Can I just submit it to PG?
V.63. I've found an eligible text elsewhere on the Net, but it's not in the PG archives. Why should I submit it to PG?
V.64. I have already scanned or typed a book; it's on my web site. How can I get it included in the Gutenberg archives?
V.65. I have already scanned or typed a book; it's on my web site. The world can already access it. Why should I add it to the Gutenberg archives?
V.66. I have already scanned or typed a book, but it's not in plain text format. Can I submit it to PG?

About author-submitted eBooks

V.67. I've written a book. Will PG publish it?
V.68. I have translated a classic book from one language to another. Will PG publish my translation?
V.69. OK, this is one of the cases where PG will publish it. What do I do next?
V.70. I hold the copyright on a book. Can I release it to the public domain?
V.71. I hold the copyright on a book. Do I have to release the book into the public domain for Project Gutenberg to publish it?
V.72. I hold the copyright on a book, and would like Project Gutenberg to publish it. Can I choose what rights to assign?

About what goes into the texts

V.73. Why does PG format texts the way it does?

About the characters you use

V.74. What characters can I use?
V.75. What is ASCII?
V.76. So what is ISO-8859? What is Codepage 437? What is Codepage 1252? What is MacRoman?
V.77. What is Unicode?
V.78. What is Big-5?
V.79. What are "8-bit" and "7-bit" texts?
V.80. I have an English text with some quotations from a language that needs accents--what should I do about the accents?
V.81. I have some Greek quotations in my book. How can I handle them?
V.82. I want to produce a book in a language like Spanish or French with accented characters. What should I do?

About the formatting of a text file

V.83. How long should I make my lines of text?
V.84. Why should I break lines at all? Why not make the text as one line per paragraph, and let the reader wrap it?
V.85. Why use a CR/LF at end of line?
V.86. One space or two at the end of a sentence?
V.87. How do I indicate paragraphs?
V.88. Should I indent the start of every paragraph?
V.89. Are there any places where I should indent text?
V.90. Can I use tabs (the TAB key) to indent?
V.91. How should I treat dashes (hyphens) between words?
V.92. How should I treat dashes replacing letters?
V.93. What about hyphens at end of line?
V.94. What should I do with italics?
V.95. Yes, but I have a long passage of my book in italics! I can't really CAPITALIZE or _otherwise_ /mark/ all that text, can I?
V.96. Should I capitalize the first word in each chapter?
V.97. What is a Transcriber's Note? When should I add one?
V.98. Should I keep page numbers in the e-text?
V.99. In the exceptional cases where I keep page numbers, how should I format them?
V.100. Should I keep Tables of Contents?
V.101. Should I keep Indexes and Glossaries?
V.102. How do I handle a break from one scene to another, where the book uses blank lines, or a row of asterisks?
V.103. How should I treat footnotes?
V.104. My book leaves a space before punctuation like semicolons, question marks, exclamation marks and quotes. Should I do the same?
V.105. My book leaves a space in the middle of contracted words like "do n't", "we 'll" and "he 's". Should I do the same?
V.106. How should I handle tables?
V.107. How should I format letters or journal entries?
V.108. What can I do with the British pound sign?
V.109. What can I do with the degree symbol?
V.110. How should I handle . . . ellipses?
V.111. How should I handle chapter and section headings?
V.112. My book has advertisements at the end. Should I keep them?
V.113. Can I keep Lists of Illustrations, even when producing a plain text file?
V.114. Can I include the captions of Illustrations, even when producing a plain text file?
V.115. Can I include images with my text file?

About formatting poetry

V.116. I'm producing a book of poetry. How should I format it?
V.117. I'm producing a novel with some short quotations from poems. How should I format them?

About formatting plays

V.118. How should I format Act and Scene headings?
V.119. How should I format stage directions?
V.120. How should I format blank verse?

About some typical formatting issues

V.121. Sample 1: Typical formatting issues of a novel.
V.122. Sample 2: Typical formatting issues of non-fiction
V.123. Sample 3: Typical formatting issues of poetry
V.124. Sample 4: Typical formatting issues of plays

About problems with the printed books

V.125. I found some distasteful or offensive passages in a book I'm producing. Should I omit them?
V.126. Some paragraphs in my book, where a character is speaking, have quotes at the start, but not at the end. Should I close those quotes?
V.127. The spelling in my book is British English (colour, centre). Should I change these to American spellings?
V.128. I'm nearly sure that some words in my printed book are typos. Should I change them?
V.129. Having investigated what looks like a typo, I find it isn't. Do I need to do anything?
V.130. Aarrgh! Some pages are missing! Do I have to abandon the book?
V.131. Some words are spelled inconsistently in my book (e.g. sometimes "surprise", sometimes "surprize"). Should I make them consistent?

Word Processing FAQ

W.1. What's the difference between an editor and a word processor?
W.2. Should I use an editor or a word processor?
W.3. Which editor or word processor should I use?
W.4. How can I make my word processor easier to work with for plain text?
W.5. What is the difference between proportional and non-proportional fonts?
W.6. I can't get words in a table or poem to line up under each other.

About using MS-Word

W.7. I've edited my book in Word - how do I save it as plain text?
W.8. Quotes look wrong when I save a Word document as plain text.
W.9. Dashes look wrong when I save a Word document as plain text.
W.10. I saved my Word document as HTML, but the HTML looks terrible.

Scanning FAQ

S.1. What is a scanner?
S.2. What types of scanners are there?
S.3. Which scanner should I get?
S.4. What is ADF?
S.5. Should I get ADF?
S.6. What's a "TWAIN driver" and why do I need one?
S.7. How do I scan a book?
S.8. My book won't open flat enough for a good scan, and I don't want to cut the pages.
S.9. How long does it take to scan a book?
S.10. What scanner settings are best?
S.11. Can I use a digital camera in place of a scanner?
S.12. What is OCR?
S.13. What differences are there between OCR packages?
S.14. How accurate should OCR be?
S.15. Which OCR package should I get?
S.16. What types of mistakes do OCR packages typically make?
S.17. Why am I getting a lot of mistakes in my OCRed text?
S.18. I got an OCR package bundled with my scanner. Is it good enough to use?
S.19. I want to include some images with a HTML version. How should I scan them?
S.20. I want to include some images with a HTML version. What type of image should I use?
S.21. Will PG store scanned page images of my book?


H.1. Can I submit a HTML version of my text?
H.2. Why should I make a HTML version?
H.3. Can I submit a HTML version without a plain ASCII version?
H.4. What are the PG rules for HTML texts?
H.5. Can I use Javascript or other scripting languages in my HTML?
H.6. Should I make my HTML edition all on one page, or split it into multiple linked pages?
H.7. How can I check that I haven't made mistakes in coding my HTML?
H.8. Can I submit a HTML version of somebody else's text?
H.9. How big can the images be in a HTML file?
H.10. The images I've scanned are too big for inclusion in HTML. What can I do about it?
H.11. Can I include decorative images I've made or found?
H.12. How can I make a plain text version from a HTML file?
H.13. How can I make a HTML version from my plain text file?

Programs and Programming FAQ

P.1. What useful programs are available for Project Gutenberg work?
P.2. What programs could I write to help with PG work?

Formats FAQ

F.1. What formats does Project Gutenberg publish?
F.2. What is, and how do I make or use various formats?

Volunteers' Voices - Volunteers talk about PG

  Amy Zelmer
  Ben Crowder
  Col Choat
  Gardner Buchanan
  Jim Tinsley
  John Mamoun
  Ken Reeder
  Lynn Hill
  Sandra Laythorpe
  Suzanne Shell
  Tony Adam
  Tonya Allen
  Walter Debeuf

Bookmarks - web pages commonly referred to in the FAQ

B.1. Project Gutenberg
B.2. Distributed Proofing Sites
B.3. Other On-Line eBook Pages
B.4. Lists of Suggested Books to Transcribe
B.5. Finding Paper Books On-Line