Getting your PP Project Ready for PPV

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DP Official Documentation - Post-Processing and Post-Processing Verification


With the introduction of HTML and e-reader formats, PPing has become a much more complex task. Consequently it's important that new PPers gain the necessary experience before beginning to work on their own.

The Post-Processing Verification (PPV) period is an important learning period and provides a valuable opportunity for new PPers to work closely with and learn from experienced PPVers.

In preparing your projects for review by the PPVers, there are several important checks you should make. You may find the Post-Processing Workbench Tools helpful when you do this checking.

Check your project carefully for errors

Just because a project is in the PP pool does not guarantee that it is perfectly ready for PPing. Before you start, please check the project carefully for missing illustrations and/or proofing images, and unreadable proofing images that should be replaced and re-proofed, etc. Any problem issues that a project has should be fixed, preferably before you start PPing. If there is a problem, please contact the Project Manager before starting to PP. If you don't hear back from the PM within a couple of weeks, then please contact db-req -- db-req at .

Before sending your project for PPVing, you should make the following checks:

  • Are there any missing page(s) or substantial sections of missing text?
  • Check for hyphenated/non-hyphenated words, spelling and punctuation variants and other inconsistencies and address them appropriately in your Transcriber's Note .
  • Ensure there are no errors in punctuation, hyphen/emdash, missing/extra space, line length, illegal characters, etc.
  • Check for Spellcheck/scanno errors.
  • Make sure that all markup items such as italics, blockquotes, poetry indentations, are correctly handled
  • Ensure that poetry indentation matches the original
  • Check your footnotes and footnote markers. Are any missing or incorrectly placed?
  • Check your rewrapping to ensure that poetry is correctly wrapped and that your text version is rewrapped to the required line length (not exceeding 75 characters or falling below 55 characters) except where unavoidable, e.g., some tables. Generally the aim for text line-length should be 72 characters
  • Are there any missing or incorrectly-added paragraph breaks?
  • Make sure that your chapter and other headings are consistently spaced, aligned, capitalized or punctuated
  • Are there any formatting inconsistencies (e.g., margins, blanks lines etc.)
  • Have you addressed all printers' errors?
  • Have you sent the project to Smoothreading? (SR can be very useful in identifying problems)

Convert and check your quotes and apostrophes

Project Gutenberg and Distributed Proofreaders prefer the use of curly (smart) quotes and apostrophes over straight quotes for both text and HTML versions of our submitted projects that use this type of punctuation, even if the original used the "straight" varieties. So please convert straight quotes and apostrophes to the curly version and then check as usual that the quotes are correctly balanced throughout the project.

Curly quotes and apostrophes should be UTF-8 characters in the text version but, in the HTML version, may be UTF-8 characters, named entities, or numeric entities. If the document has an XML header, then named entities cannot be used. Please do not use <q> and </q> tags. For texts in other languages than English, please use language-appropriate quotation marks as usual. For more information, please read the Post-Processing FAQ section about quotes and apostrophes.

Check your Images

  • Don't leave unused files in your project's images folder.
  • Size your thumbnail, inline and linked-to images appropriately. Image sizes should not normally exceed the limits described here, but exceptions may be made if warranted by the type of image or book (provided you explain the exception).
  • Correct major blemishes and rotation/distortion image problems and crop the images appropriately.
  • Make sure all your images are in the images folder
  • Set image size appropriately via HTML attribute or CSS so that the image is not distorted in HTML, epub or mobi.
  • Use appropriate "alt" tags for images that have no caption and include empty "alt" tags if captions exist.

Check your HTML

  • Make sure your CSS validates as CSS 2.1 or below (CSS checks should generate no error or warning messages other than for use of the "transparent" element for dropcaps). Note: Since August 2017, Project Gutenberg now accepts CSS 3 provided that code has been marked as "completed work," and has "REC" (for Recommendation) status according to the W3 specifications. As with dropcaps, it is necessary to add a note to the PPVer concerning what CSS3 has been included. (This is a very new policy and may be adjusted based on an issues experienced with submissions, so Project Gutenberg has asked DP volunteers to watch for changes.)
  • Your HTML should validate as HTML5, XHTML 1.0 Strict or XHTML 1.1. Project Gutenberg and Distributed Proofreaders now encourage the use of HTML5. (HTML checks should generate no error or warning messages). Issues (other than table "summary") reported by Tidy should have been addressed
  • Make sure all your links work
  • Your file and folder names should all be in lowercase or shouldn't contain spaces. Please make sure they are all in the images folder.
  • Include a cover image as cover.jpg. If your project has no cover, you should create or arrange the creation of one according to DP policy.
  • Run your project through eBookmaker and make sure the results are presentable/usable (Please see the section below, Checking E-reader Versions).
  • Don't use heading elements for things that are not headings. Please use hierarchical headings for book, chapter and section headings (single h1, appropriate h2s and h3s etc.). Also, please enclose entire multi-part headings within the related heading tag. For more information about headings, please read the DP Best Practices Heading section.
  • Use <div class="chapter"> added at chapter breaks to enable proper page breaks for ereaders -- For more information on what the coding should be please read Easy Epub -- Formatting Chapter Headings to Avoid unwanted paged breaks mid-chapter
  • Don't use px sizing units for items other than images or borders. According to W3Schools, "Absolute length units are not recommended for use on screen, because screen sizes vary so much."
  • Make sure that the <title> field is spelt and formatted correctly.
  • Place <html>, <body>, <head>, </head></body>, and </html> tags each on its own line (and make sure you're using these headings correctly). This is important to the volunteers who process our projects at Project Gutenberg.
  • Ensure that you haven't used empty tags (with &nbsp; entities) or <br /> elements for vertical spacing. e.g. <p><br /><br /></p> (or with nbsps) -- <td>&nbsp;</td> is still acceptable though
  • Check your tables. Do they display left, right, and center justification and top and bottom align appropriately? And make sure you don't use tables for things that aren't actually tables. Do your tables use the element for table headings (for more information on table headings, please see
  • Do not use <pre> tags. If you need monospace text, please set this via the CSS.
  • Make sure you have used list tags for lists (for example, for the items in a regular index)
  • Ensure that you've included all text as text, not just as images
  • Make sure you've kept your code line lengths reasonable – someone has to be able to read them.

Printers' Errors and Transcriber's Note

Obvious printers' errors should be addressed in one, or a combination, of the following ways:

  • Correct silently and state in the Transcriber's Note that all such errors have been corrected silently.
  • Correct all such errors and note them in Transcriber's Note, linking (in the HTML version) each change to the change made in the text
  • Leave uncorrected and state in the Transcriber's Note that at all such errors were left uncorrected.

"Not addressing printers' errors" means that all, or a large percentage, of printers' errors have been left uncorrected and not noted. If just one or two have been missed, and the rest addressed, then those missed would instead be counted as the relevant type of error (spellcheck, gutcheck, etc.).

Anything that could make a reader think an error has been made in the transcription should be mentioned in the Transcriber's Note.

Please ensure your grammar and spelling are correct in the Transcriber's Note.

Checking E-reader versions

With the clear expectation from PG and the recommendation of the DPF Board that our projects should look good in e-reader versions, the PPV community have agreed that PPVers should support PPers (and check their work) in producing HTML versions that convert successfully to epub and mobi (Kindle) formats.

The Easy Epub wiki pages are intended to help with that process of checking e-reader versions and making some simple changes to improve them if necessary.

The wiki pages include information on how to view your project in e-reader format, even if you don't have an e-reader.

Also, understanding the HTML Best Practices helps us understand the coding practices that can ensure the project converts seamlessly to e-reader format.

Please use a suggested viewer to test the epub and mobi versions of the book.

Here are some problem areas to look for:

Front and End of Book

  • TOC
  • Title page layout

Body of Book

  • Horizontal rules
  • Obscured sections within the book such that text covers other text or blank areas occur where text should be
  • Poetry
  • Dropcaps
  • If hovers were used in the HTML, all important “hovered” information should be present and readable in a non-hovered way within the e-reader version. Also Transcriber's Notes referring to hovers should be hidden in the e-reader version.
  • Headings
  • Blockquotes
  • Page numbers (if present)
  • Sidenotes
  • Margins
  • Tables
  • Illustrations

Simplifed Text Version of the PPV Evaluation Form

Here is a text version of the form the PPVers fill out when they evaluate a PP project. The form automatically calculates the PPing difficulty of the project and the PP rating (based on the number and type of errors made plus the difficulty and size of the project).

 Difficulty Details
 Text File Size in kb:
 Present in the text:          Some / Significant Amount
 Poetry (other than straight poetry)           Some/Sig
 Blockquotes                                   Some/Sig
 Footnotes                                     Some/Sig
 Sidenotes                                     Some/Sig
 Advertisements                                Some/Sig
 Tables                                        Some/Sig
 Drama                                         Some/Sig
 Index                                         Small/Sig
 Illustrations: (Number of)                    :                
 Illustrations (advanced)                      Y/N
 Multiple Languages                            Y/N
 Extensive Spellcheck/Gutcheck                 Y/N
 Engliſh                                       Y/N
 Musical Notation and Files                    Y/N
 Extensive mathematical/chemical notation      Y/N
 LEVEL 1 (Minor Errors)       Approximate number of errors
 All Versions
 Spellcheck/Scanno errors                      :
 Gutcheck-type errors                          :
 Jeebies errors (English only)                 :
 Paragraph breaks missing or incorrectly added :
 A few inconsistencies not addressed, e.g
 hyphens, spelling, punctuation                :
 Chapter/headings inconsistent                 :
 Formatting inconsistencies                    :
 Other minor errors (Please explain)           :
 HTML Version Only
 Unused files in images folder                 :
 Appropriate image size not used               :
 Images with major faults                      :                    
 Failure to enter image size appropriately
 such that the image is distorted              :
 Failure to use appropriate "alt"              :
 HTML Code
 Use of px for items other than images
                             and borders       :
 <title> missing or incorrectly worded         :
 Use of <pre> tags                             :
 Failure to place <html>, <body>, <head>,
 </head></body>, and </html> tags each on
 their own line and correctly use them         :
 Use of tables for things that are not tables  :
 CSS above CSS 2.1 (except CSS3 REC features)  :
 HTML version not as specified in the PP FAQ   :
 Failure to add <div class="chapter">
                or <div class="section">       :
 Minor HTML errors that still validate         :

 LEVEL 2 (Major Errors)      Approximate number of errors
 All Versions
 Markup not handled                            :
 Poetry indentation does not match original    :
 Footnotes/footnote markers wrong              :
 Printers' errors not addressed                :
 Missing page(s) or substantial text           :
 Substantial rewrapping errors                 :
 Widespread inconsistencies not addressed,
 e.g hyphens, spelling, punctuation            :
 Other major errors impacting readability
 or major text/HTML inconsistencies            :
 HTML Version Only
 W3C Markup Validation errors/warnings         :
 W3C CSS Validation errors/warnings            :
 Non-working links within HTML or to images    :
 Bad file/folder names, e.g not lowercase,
 contain spaces, images in wrong folder, etc.  :
 Cover image not included / bad size           :
 Not presentable/useable after epub conversion :
 Headings elements used wrongly or failure
 to use hierarchical headings                  :
 Strongly Recommended
 Enclose multi-part headings within tag        Y/N
 Avoid using empty tags (or with nbsp)         Y/N
 List Tags should be used for lists            Y/N
 Include all text as text, not just as images  Y/N
 Keep your code line lengths reasonable        Y/N
 Tables - l/r/center/top/bottom align correct  Y/N
 Tables contain <th> elements for headings     Y/N
 Remove thumbs.db, etc. from the images folder Y/N
 E-reader version as good as possible          Y/N
 Mildly Recommended
 Distinguish between decorative/semantic
 use of italics/bold/gesperrt                  Y/N
 Include space before the slash in
 self-closing tags (e.g. <br />)               Y/N
 No unused elements in the CSS                 Y/N 

Strongly and Mildly Recommended errors are not counted as formal errors but please try to adhere to the Strongly Recommended items. Jeebies and Gutcheck errors refer to the type of error normally caught by those programs rather than implying a requirement for you to have used them specifically.

Important Resources for PPers


HTML and Ereader


Validation Resources

To comment or request edits to this page, please contact jjz or windymilla.

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