Smooth Reading for Post-Processors

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DP Official Documentation - Smooth Reading

This is a list of Frequently Asked Questions for Post-Processors about preparing their projects for Smooth Reading.

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?

Please do not include the .bin file. This file may be useful to the PPer and the PPVer, but is of no use to Smooth Readers. In addition, if the .bin file is generated from a concatenated text file that includes proofreaders' usernames, those usernames are included in the .bin file, and sharing proofreaders' usernames is considered to be a violation of DP's Privacy Policy.

File names

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:

Correct: name-smooth.txt or name_sr.txt

Incorrect: Smooth.txt or

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 .txt extension. 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 -utf8 in 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.
Include the HTML file and the images folder. The HTML extension can be either :::'.htm' or '.html'.
As with the text files, please use UTF-8 encoding for HTML files.
Please ensure that your file does not include a Byte-Order Mark (BOM).
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)
  • us_history.epub
  • us_history.htm
  • images directory

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 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, or 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.
  • Complexity.

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 Go button.

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.

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

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