Smooth Reading FAQ
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This is a list of Frequently Asked Questions about Smooth Reading.
What is Smooth Reading?
Once books are almost ready to upload to Project Gutenberg, they are usually made available for Smooth Reading so that the Smooth Readers can help find additional errors that might need fixing.
Smooth Reading is reading a text as you would read any e-book, paying a little closer attention and making notations where you spot anything that disrupts the flow of the text. It is reading for smoothness and sense, with an eye out for anything that would jar or jolt an average reader. It is also a great way to get a sneak preview of a book before it is posted to Project Gutenberg.
What isn't Smooth Reading?
Smooth Reading is not Distributed Proofreaders proofreading; you do not need to compare the text with the page scans. It is not professional proofreading or copy-editing; the concept is to preserve what the author wrote. It is not a complete Post-Processing or Post-Processing Verification; it is not necessary to ensure that every minor piece of formatting follows the guidelines.
Why is it useful?
Even after multiple rounds of proofreading and a Post-Processor's tender loving care, texts may still contain errors. Rather than having these issues reported after the book has been posted to Project Gutenberg, it is desirable to correct them before they are uploaded. A fresh perusal, such as that provided by a Smooth Reader, can catch errors that have been overlooked. It also provides valuable feedback to the Post-Processors on how they can improve their finished projects.
Do I need a lot of expertise and experience to do Smooth Reading?
You don't have to be a long-term Distributed Proofreaders volunteer or to have any proofreading experience to do Smooth Reading. If you want to read a full book and help identify possible problems, Smooth Reading may be just what you're looking for!
For Smooth Readers
What are the basic steps for Smooth Reading?
- Visit the Smooth Reading Pool and find a book that interests you, then click on the book's title to go to its related Project Page.
- Check the Instructions for Smooth Reading section on the Project Page for notes or extra information from the Post-Processor.
- Download the file to be Smooth Read: Scroll down the Project Page to the section labelled Smooth Reading. Choose which file type you want to Smooth Read under the "Download a Smooth Reading file" heading, and click on its link (or if you prefer, simply select "Download all formats").
- The file size of the download is displayed beside the download link so that those with slow connections will know what to expect. If you wish, you may also view Smooth Reading text and HTML in your browser, but there is currently no way for you to annotate these files with any possible errors that you notice if you try to Smooth Read them from the browser.
- The downloaded HTML and images files will be in "zip" format; the text files will be downloaded unzipped, so you will no longer need to unzip them before starting to Smooth Read. Epub and Mobi formats will be viewable in ereaders that take those file types.
- Consider clicking on the [Volunteer to SR] button. This is entirely optional (and revocable). Pressing this button lets the Post-Processor (PPer) who has prepared the book for Smooth Reading know someone is Smooth Reading it, and gives him or her a way to contact you should the need arise. An alternative method is to send the Post-Processor a Private Message (PM) and let him or her know you are smoothing it.
- Now for the fun part! Read through the file, noting any errors or other issues using this format:
[**your correction or query]. Here is a sample comment that a Smooth Reader might make:
They lived in a quiet comer[**corner] of the country.
Please just add your comments: do not change the actual text -- all your corrections and suggestions should be made inside
[** ]notes. Also, please remember to save as you go along -- you don't want to lose the work you've been doing.
- When you are finished Smooth Reading the e-text, or have read as much as you can, "zip" it up and upload it using the Upload a Smooth Read report link which can be found on the book's Project Page in the Smooth Reading section (provided the book's time in the Smooth Reading pool hasn't expired).
- If you run out of time, but still want to finish, please let the Post-Processor know before the deadline -- most Post-Processors will happily extend the deadline for you.
- Please add a comment at the top of the file, even if you didn't find anything to mark, indicating
[** no errors found]and upload your results to the project page so your efforts may be recorded.
What software/tools do I need?
- A Web browser (it looks like you have one, since you are reading this).
- A text viewer -- whatever you normally use to read text files: a text editor is the most common (e.g. Notepad, TextEdit, Textpad); a Web browser, word processor, e-Book Reader, or paper print-out will also work.
- A text-viewer that allows you to add comments is preferred. However, if you are Smooth Reading in a text viewer that does not allow you to add comments to the text, please consider making notes in the text file which you've loaded into a text editor, so that it can be uploaded to the project page when you are finished. Otherwise please make notes separately and record the exact text and page information with your comment so that the Post-Processor will be able to locate the issue to which you are referring.
- Smooth Reading using a mono-spaced font is a good idea. The text version of an e-text may have something that has been aligned based on all characters being the same width — the Table of Contents, for instance.
- A 'zip' compression program or utility may be needed to open the downloaded file if you choose to Smooth Read the HTML, and will be needed to compress your Smooth Reading report for uploading. Please see the ZIP file wiki page for more information.
What types of projects go through the Smooth Reading (SR) Pool?
It is up to the Post-Processors to decide whether or not to send their books to the Smooth Reading Pool; the Smooth Reading phase is an optional one, and not all projects will go through it.
The e-texts available for Smooth Reading vary from day to day. If you don't find something to your liking one day, please check back again later. You are likely to discover almost anything paddling along in the SR Pool, from Adventure, Juvenile, and Periodicals, all the way through Zoology.
The Smooth Reading pool is not limited to English texts either. You may discover e-texts in Dutch, Esperanto, French, German, Portuguese, or Spanish, etc., as well as exotic combinations such as English with Dakota, English with Scottish Gaelic, German with French, Greek, Ancient (to 1453) with English, Navaho with English, Scots with English, Spanish with English, and Spanish with French.
Can I request a particular e-text to Smooth Read?
As long as it is a project already created at Distributed Proofreaders, yes, you can request a particular e-text. (Requesting books not yet created at Distributed Proofreaders falls under Content Providing.) While it is up to the individual Post-Processor, many do take requests into consideration when deciding whether or not to put their project through the Smooth Reading Pool. Requests can be made at any time, preferably before the project reaches the Post-Processing stage though it is fine to make a request during Post-Processing.
There are a few ways to let the Post-Processor know you are interested:
- You can post your interest in the project thread.
- Distributed Proofreaders volunteers can request an e-mail notification when a project becomes available for Smooth Reading; the Post-Processor will be able to see how many people requested Smooth Reading notifications.
- To receive an e-mail notification: On the Project Page, scroll down to the Event Subscriptions section, and tick the Subscribed? box next to "Project becomes available for Smooth Reading". Don't forget to click the [Update Event Subscriptions] button to save your request.
- Make sure your e-mail address is correct while you are there (it is displayed just above the Event Subscriptions section).
- If you know who the Post-Processor is or will be, you could send your request in a Private Message (PM) to them.
What will a Smooth Read text look like?
Smooth Reading files may be available in several formats. All should include at least a plain text format -- these are the easiest files to make notes in, and you may wish to annotate the text file, even if you Smooth Read in one or more of the other formats.
Other possible file types are HTML, epub and mobi. Notes are not easily added to HTML. Some epub and mobi readers may have the ability to make and share notes, but that depends on the reader. If you choose to do your Smooth Reading on one of these formats, please consider making notes in the text file, so that it can be uploaded to the project page when you are finished.
Plain text files cannot show emphasis by changing the weight (bold) or the slant (italics) of the font, so they will usually have underscores showing italics (
_like this_), and the PPer's choice of formatting for bold (commonly
= or ALL CAPS).
The Smooth Reading Pool page gives an idea of the length of the book in number of pages, but remember, some pages are very short, and others are very long.
What if I accidentally upload the wrong Smooth Read file?
You can upload the right one and the new copy will overwrite the old.
What if I accidentally upload my Smooth Read to the wrong project?
Please contact the Post-Processor whose project you accidentally uploaded the wrong SR to, and let them know what happened. It's a good idea to also let a SR Coordinator know what happened. A SR Coordinator will contact someone who can get your upload removed from the wrong project.
Then, go ahead and upload it to the correct project if it's still in the Smooth Reading Pool. If it isn't, contact the Post-Processor and offer them the information privately.
How long will I get to read?
The Smooth Reading Pool page page will show how many days the project has left before it leaves the pool. If you cannot finish the book in the indicated period, and wish to finish, please send the Post-Processor a Private Message requesting additional time. If you won't have time to finish, go ahead and upload what you've done so far -- Post-Processors appreciate even partial Smooth Reads.
What if I can't start/finish it?
Smooth Reading is a completely obligation-free activity! If you take a text and never get a chance to look at it -- that's okay. If you can read some of it in the time given -- just upload the file with those comments or request additional time from the Post-Processor. A partial Smooth Read is better than nothing. Even just one potential mistake spotted is valuable. As a courtesy to the Post-Processor, please add [**note] where you start and finish.
Absolutely. There is no formalized method for sharing a book with another person, but if you know someone who would enjoy sharing a book with you, by all means, divvy it up between you. Or post in the team discussion to see if someone else would like to take one part of a book while you take the other. At the very least, the Post-Processor will get at least a partial Smooth Read for the book. And as with a normal partial Smoothy, [**note] where you start and finish.
What is a mistake?
Mistakes are in the eye of the beholder. Authors were sometimes terrible spellers, editors were sometimes eccentric in style, print-setters sometimes had liquid lunches. Just note anything you *think* might be an issue. The PPer will check against the original text and decide what action (if any) to take.
How do I provide feedback to the PPer?
Place notes or corrections in the file immediately after each error or other problem: [**correction or query]. When you have finished, or have read as far as you can, save your file in .txt format and zip it. Click on the book's title on the Smooth Reading Pool page. This will link you to the Project Page for the book. The page should automatically open at detail level 2. If you scroll down to the bottom of the page, you should see a section labelled Smooth Reading, and a link to Upload a Smooth Read text. Click on this link and navigate to where the Smooth Read zip file is located on your system, and then click on the Upload button.
File names should be reasonably short, have no spaces or special characters other than _ and -, contain only numbers 0-9 and/or lower case letters, and use the suffix .zip only. Do not use .ZIP, .Zip or try to upload .tar files or other compression formats, as they simply will not work.
What if I did not find any mistakes?
This is also valuable information and you should let the Post-Processor know. You can do this by putting a [**note] at the beginning of the file and upload it.
I have this friend...
Great! This process is especially good for people who like 'regular' proof-reading or reading Gutenberg texts. Anyone can look at the Smooth Reading pool page, and download files -- they don't have to be a Distributed Proofreaders volunteer. To return comments, however, they will need to register, or know the Post-Processor's email address (and be sure that the Post-Processor is happy to receive files by email!). Or you will have to upload their commented file for them.
Smooth Reading for PP
Smooth Reading (SR) is a very important step in the post-processing process. SR involves having volunteers read through the book attentively and mark possible errors to report to the Post-Processor. An extra pair of eyes is always helpful in finding things you might have overlooked in the text, and a good way to find those extra eyes is by making use of the Smooth Reading Pool!
Is my book suitable/will it be a benefit?
Yes! -- Even if your book is extremely specialized and took months to crawl through the proofing rounds, it may be of interest to a Smooth Reader (SRer). As for benefit -- any mistakes picked up before posting to PG are good!
How much Post-Processing should I do first?
Post-Processors (PPers) may submit their book to Smooth Reading at different stages in their workflow depending on how they are processing the book. While some PPers may submit several formats to Smooth Reading at once, others may submit a single text format while they continue to prepare other formats.
What formats should I upload for SR?
At a minimum, please include a text file. This is not only best for those who are on slow or metered connections, but is also the easiest format for a Smooth Reader to use to insert comments about possible errors, even if they're actually SRing in a browser or e-reader. Text and HTML files should be encoded as UTF-8.
Allowed formats are:
- text (.txt extension)
- HTML (either .htm or .html, plus images)
- epub (.epub extension)
- mobi (.mobi extension)
See How do I prepare my files for uploading to SR? for more details.
Should I include the .bin file?
File names should be reasonably short, and contain only lower case letters
a-z, the numbers
0-9, and the hyphen
- and underscore characters
_, with a single dot separating the filename from the extension. No capital letters, spaces, or other special characters should be used. For example:
Please use filenames that correctly reflect the contents. This may help Smooth Readers to more readily locate the downloaded files later.
How do I prepare my files for uploading to SR?
- Text File
- Please use the
.txtextension. Post-processing files are now assumed to be UTF-8 and Project Gutenberg no longer requires the -utf8 suffix for filenames so it is no longer necessary to include
-utf8in SR file names. This means, however, that if you use an encoding other than UTF-8 you must leave a note to the SRer mentioning what encoding your file uses.
- Please ensure that your file does not include a Byte-Order Mark (BOM).
- Multiple versions of the text file may be uploaded for SR, and each will be available both for download and for viewing online.
- Please use the
- Epub and Mobi
- Both Epub (.epub) and Mobi (.mobi) are already compressed files, and are self-contained. No special preparation is needed -- they should just be added to the master zip file for upload. These file types are available for download only.
Once you have prepared all the formats you plan to upload for Smooth Reading, please combine them into a single zip. For example:
us_history.txt(at least one text format is required)
Your zip file should not exceed 200Mb in size. Uploads larger than 200Mb will be rejected. Occasionally, over-sized or nested zip uploads may trigger a "Heuristics.Limits.Exceeded FOUND" message when they are rejected, but that should be rare. If your zip is larger than 200Mb, please send an email to db-req at pgdp.net and the team there will help get the file uploaded for SR.
It is good practice to give your upload zip file a name similar to the file names you've included within it. Using the example above, us_history_sr.zip or us_history_upload.zip would be good choices. The DP system will store the uploaded zip on the server by renaming it to associate it with that project: the projectID followed by 'smooth_avail', but when a Smooth Reader unzips it, they will see your original filenames.
Where do I find Smooth Readers?
Submit your project to the Smooth Reading Pool!
You can also advertise your project in the Smoooth Readers Team thread or in the Project Discussion for your project, and possibly other places. For instance, if your project is in a language other than English, or has significant parts that are in another language, it may be helpful to advertise it in that language's team thread.
It is very helpful to post a comment with the SR upload indicating special points of interests or value in the book. New listings are promoted regularly in the Smoooth Readers Team thread, and include any PPers' promotional comments. If you don't show enthusiasm about your project, why should someone smooth read it?
How do I make my project available for Smooth Reading?
Once your complete SR zip file is ready, go to the Project Page for your book and scroll down to the Smooth Reading section of the page. There, you will be able to upload the project to the pool for between 7 and 42 days. The default is 21 days, but that is easily changed by using the arrows, or simply typing in a number between 7 and 42.
Decide how long your project should stay in the SR Pool
When deciding how long you want your project to be in the Smooth Reading Pool, please take into consideration:
- Any known special deadlines you may have (i.e. an upcoming vacation, a special day).
- Size--not in pages (because page size can vary widely) but the size of the text file in kilobytes (KB). The larger the file, the more time the Smooth Readers will need to finish reading it.
A good starting estimate is to divide the size of the text file in KB (not zipped) by 25 for the number of days to read. This is based on approximately 300 words per page at 16-17 pages per day, with an average of 5 characters per word.
Consider adding about 5 days to that estimate to give Smooth Readers time to finish their current projects and to find your book in the listing. Although you may be perfectly happy to extend the project's time in the pool if requested, some SRers may be reluctant to ask for extensions, and may skip books they know they can't finish in the remaining time.
If a Smooth Reader does ask for additional time to complete the book, or if you wish to extend the time because it has not been read yet, you can easily extend the time for an additional 1-42 days at any time before the initial period expires. Please use this feature carefully; once the time is extended, it cannot be reduced to a shorter period.
If the time is not extended before the SR period expires, the project will have to be re-uploaded to the SR pool like a new project if you wish it to be returned to the SR pool.
Finish submitting project to the SR pool
Once you've decided how long you want your project to spend in the SR Pool, simply choose the number of days, and click on the
You will be presented with a form that allows you to leave comments about your project for the Smooth Readers. In addition to any special instructions you may want to leave, such as what to look for or to ask for attention in a particular section, please consider including a short description or excerpt from the text to elicit interest in your book, especially if the title is not very descriptive.
Then click on the Choose File button and navigate to where the zip you wish to upload is stored on your computer, and then click on the Upload file button. Once you've submitted your project to the Smooth Reading Pool, this area will include the options to replace the Smooth Reading text, and to extend the project's time in the pool.
Can I add or replace a Smooth Reading file?
Yes. However, you will need to re-upload all formats. What you upload will overwrite what is there already, so anything you want to remain available must be in the new zip you upload to the project.
Can I replace just a single file?
No; when a replacement zip is uploaded to the project page, the "smooth" directory that contains all the different formats is recreated. Even if you need to replace only a single file, you will need to re-upload all formats.
What if I accidentally put the wrong project in the SR pool?
If the "wrong" project is within 1‒2 days of being ready for SR, replace your SR upload with a zip of a text file explaining what happened, and also let a Smooth Reading coordinator and the SR team know by posting in the Smoooth Readers Team thread. This text file can then be replaced with the correct zip file when it becomes available in a couple days.
If the "wrong" project is not close to being ready, let a Smooth Reading coordinator and the SR team know by posting in the Smoooth Readers Team thread. A Smooth Reading coordinator will arrange to have it removed.
Upload the SR zip to the correct project.
Can I remove my book from the Smooth Reading Pool
No, you cannot remove your book from the pool before the deadline, or decrease the amount of time a book is available for. This would be unfair to the Smooth Readers who may be working on your book already -- not all Smooth Readers use the "Volunteer" button to officially sign up for SRing a book; it's an option, not a requirement.
Getting notification when a project finishes Smooth Reading
It is important not to upload a project to Project Gutenberg or to PPV before its time in the Smooth Reading Pool is completed. Consequently, it's good to set an event subscription to alert you when the project finishes Smooth Reading. To do this, simply scroll down to the Event Subscriptions portion of the Project Page and click on the subscription box beside "Project finishes Smooth Reading".
What do I do with the feedback?
When a Smooth Reader finishes, they should upload the annotated SR text file back to the project with their comments. Once a report is uploaded, you can download it, or you can wait until the project leaves the Smooth Reading pool and download all SR reports from the bottom of the Smooth Reading section of the Project Page.
If a Smooth Reader notifies you of their findings directly, without uploading a file to the project page, please ask them to also upload it to the project if possible. If it is not possible, please post a message to the Smoooth Readers team topic as soon as possible. This will allow the SR coordinator to manually add the read to the round statistics. Notification must be posted before the end of the month in which the project leaves the SR pool to be recorded.
Search the text of each report for
[** comments. You will need to consider any issues mentioned in the
[** notes and deal with them as you would with any proofreaders' or formatters' notes when Post-Processing. Some genuine scannos or missing words may need to be corrected. Some 'errors' may be an author or editor mistake which you may want to address with a Transcriber's Note (TN). You do not have to act on every Smooth Reader suggestion. Use your best judgment. Make sure any corrections that you do use are made in both the text and HTML formats.
Can I get non-DPers involved?
In order to be able to upload an SR report to the project page, a Smooth Reader needs a DP account. If you know someone you think might be interested in Smooth Reading, please feel free to offer to act as their liaison with DP, and if they like it, encourage them to register an account!
Contacting Smooth Readers
Smooth Readers often are interested in learning what changes the Post-Processor makes based on the feedback they receive; why some things were changed and some not. It's not an official requirement to exchange Private Messages with Smooth Readers, but letting them know their efforts are useful and appreciated may also encourage them to read future projects you submit to SR.