Jargon related to The Guidelines

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Jargon Guides

Organizations and specialized activities develop their own sets of specialized terminology, or jargon, and DP is no exception to that. Accordingly, we have developed some FAQ-like Jargon Guides you can access in order to learn some of our lingo.

The LONG DP Jargon Guide, and the Jargon Guides related to The Guidelines, User Roles, and Workflow contain acronyms and terms you will likely encounter as a new volunteer at DP.

Other Jargon Guides contain terms that are a bit more specialized. The Group Activities Jargon Guide will become especially relevant to you if you start using Jabber. The remaining Jargon Guides shown in the Jargon Navigator box relate to the specific activities mentioned in their titles.

If you come across an acronym or term that isn't mentioned in one of these Jargon Guides, please ask about it in one of the DP forums.

Detailed suggestions on how best to add and edit Jargon-related information can be found at Help:Jargon.

See also the actual, authoritative Proofreading Guidelines and Formatting Guidelines, and the DP Wiki pages Proofreading Guidelines Explanation, Formatting Guidelines Explanation, Proofing Examples, and Formatting Examples.

block quote

Jargon Guides

A block quotation is a long quotation (typically several lines and sometimes several pages) and is often (but not always) printed with wider margins or in a smaller font size—sometimes both.

chapter header/footer

Chapter headers


Clothing refers to the process of removing spaces or intra-paragraph line breaks from around hyphens or dashes.

Hyphens or dashes which have spaces or intra-paragraph line breaks on either side of them are referred to as unclothed or naked. Occasionally the terms "partially-clothed" or "half-unclothed" are used to refer to dashes which are clothed on one side but not the other, such as might be the case with a dash at the beginning or end of a line of poetry.

"complete sentence"

On occasion, the phrase "complete sentence" can be used in Forum postings as a kind of shorthand reference to the "entire sentence or paragraph, ... phrase, title, or abbreviation" concept referred to in the (especially Formatting) Guidelines.

For example, you might see something like the following in a Forum post:

The closing italics tag () would go after the colon in "General Information:" since it's a complete sentence.

Use of the "complete sentence" phrase in this manner is discouraged because it is inaccurate (or at least, inexact), and can be confusing to new DPers since "General Information" is not a sentence in a grammatical sense. It has been suggested that either "complete entity" or "complete expression" might be better used to relatively-generically refer to the Guidelines' general concept of "entire sentence or paragraph, ... phrase, title, or abbreviation."

diacritical mark/diacritic

Diacritical marks, sometimes referred to as diacritic marks or the "short-hand" term diacriticals, are small marks found above or below a basic character which change the pronunciation of that character. For example, the acute accent over the "e" in the character "é" is a diacritical mark.

Characters with diacritical marks may be proofed different ways in DP projects. If the needed character is available in an active character suite, it may be directly input or selected from a picker. If it is not in an active character suite it should be represented by the method described in Proofing Guidelines—Characters with Diacritical Marks.




The em-dash (—), also known as the em rule, indicates a sudden break in thought—a parenthetical statement like this one—or an open range (such as "John Doe, 1987—"). The em-dash is used in much the way a colon or set of parentheses is used: it can show an abrupt change in thought or be used where a period is too strong and a comma too weak.

The em-dash is defined as one em in width. An em is equivalent to the point size. Thus, in 9-point type an em is 9 points wide (as well as 9 points high) while the em of 24 point type is 24 points wide (and high), and so on. By definition, this is twice as wide as the en-dash in any particular font.

Monospaced fonts such as Courier or DP Sans Mono that mimic the look of a typewriter have the same width for all characters. Thus, they have only a single hyphen glyph, so it is common to use two monospace hyphens strung together--like this--to serve as an em-dash.

That is how it is done at DP. Since every project has a plain text version, the end result will be in a monospaced font. Thus the term em-dash is used to mean two hyphens --, as explained more fully in the Dashes, Hyphens, and Minus Signs section of the Guidelines.

Sometimes at DP the term "em-dash" is used to refer to a dash which is twice as long as an em-dash (like this: ——), but this would be more properly termed a "two em dash." At DP it is often simply called a "long dash."

This information was shamelessly copied, in part, from the Em-dashes section of wikipedia.


The en-dash (–), also known as the en rule, is one en in width: half the width of an em-dash, but longer than a hyphen. The en-dash is commonly used to indicate a range of numbers, or to represent a mathematical minus sign.

  • See pages 21-25
  • -14° (for 14° below zero)
  • For ages 3–5
  • X - Y = Z

Monospaced fonts such as Courier or DP Sans Mono that mimic the look of a typewriter have the same width for all characters. Thus, they have only a single hyphen glyph, so a hyphen (-) and an en-dash (-) are represented by exactly the same character. The use of the term en-dash at DP tends to refer to the use made of it. So the above examples would all be called en-dashes. The below examples would be called hyphens.

  • New York–London flight
  • Mother–daughter relationship
  • The McCain–Feingold bill

The en-dash, like the em-dash, is not included in our character suites, and therefore cannot be used during proofreading. In the rounds, a single hyphen is substituted for an en-dash character.

More information on hyphens, en-dashes, and em-dashes is available in the Dashes, Hyphens, and Minus Signs section of the Guidelines.




Disambiguation page


Out-of-line footnote


Gesperrt is the term used to refer to  s p a c e d   o u t  text.

This was a typesetting technique used to emphasize a piece of text in older German (and some Italian and other languages) books. Thus, g e s p e r r t served pretty much the same purpose that italics and bold do today.

In the example below, the English phrase "Signal Post Hill" is typeset gesperrt to emphasize it as a kind of section heading in this predominantly-German work.

Gesperrt example for definition page.png


Latin-1 (or more formally, ISO-8859-1) is a character encoding standard. It defines a set of characters used for major western European languages.

The Distributed Proofreaders website used Latin-1 for processing all of its books, from its creation until May 19th, 2020. After that, it changed to the UTF-8 encoding of Unicode.

More information can be found at Wikipedia.

page header

Per the Proofreading Guideline Section on Page Headers

  • Definition: The page headers are normally at the top of the page image and have a page number opposite them. Page headers may be the same all through the book (often the title of the book and the author's name), they may be the same for each chapter (often the chapter number), or they may be different on each page (describing the action on that page).
  • Instruction: Remove them all, regardless, including the page number unless the Project Comments say different.
  • Why would they say different? Because in some projects the information in the Page Header is useful or unique and the PM or PP wish to capture or save that information.

section header

The Formatting_Guidelines state:

Section headers are usually obvious as Titles centered between paragraphs of a page. Check the Table of Contents if in doubt. This is often linked to on the Project page, otherwise find the contents page by clicking on Images, Pages Proofread & Differences on the Project page. The page you are looking for will probably been among the first ten .png images in the first column. Project managers(PMs) will sometimes specify exceptions in the Project Comments.

Ads sometime require creative use of section headers to describe centered text.

The Formatting Guidelines state:

Some books have sections within chapters. Format these headings as they appear in the image. Leave 2 blanks lines before the heading and one after, unless the Project Manager has requested otherwise. If you are not sure if a heading indicates a chapter or a section, post a question in the Project Discussion, noting the page number.

Mark any italics or mixed case small caps that appear in the image. While section headings may appear to be bold or spaced out, these are usually the result of font or font size changes and should not be marked. The extra blank lines separate the heading, so do not mark the font change as well.

For more: see here.


Some books will have short descriptions of the paragraph along the side of the text. These are called sidenotes.

Proofing Sidenotes

During P1, P2, & P3 rounds, proof the text and separate the sidenotes from the main text with blank lines. Sidenotes should be proofed just like any other paragraph (eg., split words should be re-joined, naked dashes clothed, etc.). Where the OCR (or the previous round) has placed a sidenote at the top of the page, there is no necessity to insert a blank line above it (though it is not wrong to do so).

Formatting Sidenotes

During F1 & F2 rounds, move sidenotes to just above the paragraph that they belong to, and surround them with a sidenote tag [Sidenote: and ], with the text of the sidenote placed in between.

Format the sidenote text as it is printed, preserving the line breaks, italics, etc. (while handling end-of-line hyphenation and dashes normally). Leave a blank line before and after the sidenote to separate it from the normal text.

If there are multiple sidenotes for a single paragraph, put them one after another at the start of the paragraph. Leave a blank line separating each of them.

If the paragraph began on a previous page, put the sidenote at the top of the page and mark it with * so that the post-processor can see that it belongs on the previous page, like this: *[Sidenote: (text of sidenote)]. The post-processor will move it to the appropriate place.


Sometimes a Project Manager will request that you put sidenotes next to the sentence they apply to, rather than at the top or bottom of the paragraph. In this case, don't separate them out with blank lines.

See more in the Formatting Guidelines.

For PPers

This page has some suggestions for how you might handle sidenotes in your HTML so they work well in epub/mobi.

"silent correction"

The phrase "silent correction" is often used to refer to an intentional change a proofer made to the proofed text of a page to "correct" something shown in the scanned image without leaving a [**proofreader's note] informing the post-processor that the change has been made. Another way to put it is making a change that relies on reason rather than vision without [**noting] it.

A "silent correction" other than the very few changes specifically mandated by the Guidelines (such as removing page headers/footers and end-of-line hyphens) is pretty much the worst "sin" a proofer can commit at DP.

The reason behind this is that what we really do here at DP is to transcribe basically hard-copy documents into another form (digital text), not edit them. Thus, some PPers prefer to have the project text match the historical document rather than make any "obvious corrections;" and others will make "minor" punctuation corrections, but not corrections that could just be old spelling inconsistencies; and some PPers will tend to make spelling consistent throughout the entire project; but no matter what course they choose, they are likely to leave a Transcriber's Note about the various "corrections" to the original that were and were not made, and it's hard to do that when they don't know what "corrections" have or have not been made (such as in the case of "silent" ones).

small caps

Small caps

"spacey quote"

The phrase "spacey quotes" is sometimes used to refer to the particular type error found in OCR texts in which quotation marks (single or double) are separated from text by spaces.

For example:

Justice " in the hands of Madame de Meroul " Le

This is an especially important error for proofers to be on the lookout for and correct, because while a software script can be used to find quote marks surrounded by spaces on both sides, no automated tool can determine to which of a pair of letters the quotation marks really apply as well as a human being's understanding of the text's context can.

In other words, it usually takes a human being to figure out if the text should be proofed as this

Justice "in the hands of Madame de Meroul" Le

or as this

Justice" in the hands of Madame de Meroul "Le

thought break

Sometimes two paragraphs are separated to indicate a thought break. A thought break may take the form of a line of stars, hyphens or some other character, a plain or floridly decorated horizontal line, a simple decoration, or even just an extra blank line or two.

A thought break may represent a change of scene or subject, a lapse in time or a bit of suspense. This is intended by the author, so we preserve them in formatting by putting a blank line, <tb>, and then another blank line. (During proofreading, thought breaks can be ignored.)

In post-processing, a thought break is usually represented by a row of five asterisks in the plain text version and by a horizontal rule in the HTML version.


ToC and TOC are the standard abbreviatons used to refer to a Table of Contents.

(For post-processing advice related to ToCs, see Tables of contents.)


Transliteration is the process of converting a text from one writing system into another in a systematic way, such as converting Greek text Βιβλος to Roman text Biblos.

unclothed dash

  • Definition: Unclothed dashes are those en-dashes, em-dashes, or long dashes that occur at the beginning or end of a line or otherwise have a space on either side of them. They are considered "naked" or "unclothed" because they do not have the previous or next word snugged up against them.