User:BookBuff/Smooth Reading FAQ

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This is a list of Frequently Asked Questions about Smooth Reading.

General Information

What is Smooth Reading?

When books have almost completed Post-Processing but before being uploaded to Project Gutenberg, they are often made available for Smooth Reading so that the Smooth Readers can help find additional errors that may 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 in either the text flow or display format. 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 intent is to preserve what the author wrote. It is not a complete Post-Processing or Post-Processing Verification; nor is it 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!

What types of projects go through the Smooth Reading 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.
Projects enter and leave the Smooth Reading Pool from day to day. If you don't find something to your liking one day, please check back again later. You are may discover almost any genre paddling along in the SR Pool, from Adventure, Juvenile, and Periodicals, all the way to History, Religious, and Zoology.
The Smooth Reading pool is not limited to English texts. You may often discover projects 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.

For Smooth Readers

What will a Smooth Read text look like?

Smooth Reading files may be available in several formats, at least one of which should be a text format -- these are the easiest files to make notes in even if you Smooth Read in one or more of the other formats.
Other possible file formats are HTML, epub and mobi. These formats are not easily annotated. If you choose to do your Smooth Reading in 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.
Text files cannot show emphasis by changing the weight (bold) or the slant (italics) of the font, so they will usually use underscores to show italics formatting (_like this_), and equal signs to show bold formatting (=), and ALL CAPS to show small caps.
The Smooth Reading Pool page gives a rough idea of the length of the book in number of pages, but remember, some pages are very short, and others are very long.

May I request a particular e-text to Smooth Read?

You may only make requests for current projects at Distributed Proofreaders, that have not completed PP. (Requesting books not yet created at Distributed Proofreaders falls under Content Providing.) While it is up to the individual Post-Processor whether to use the SR Pool, many will take such requests into consideration when making that decision.
There are a few ways to let the Post-Processor know you are interested:
  • You may post your interest in the project thread.
  • Distributed Proofreaders volunteers may 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: Go to 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 below the Event Subscriptions heading).
  • If you know who the Post-Processor is or will be, you may send them your request in a Private Message (PM).

What are the basic steps for Smooth Reading?

Select a Book to Read

  1. 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, or
  2. Visit Smoooth Readers Team thread, go to the last page and look at the latest "New and Extended Listings" post for the most current offerings and click on the book's title to go to its related Project Page.

Check the Post-Processor's Comments

Read the PPers comments on the Project Page for notes or extra information about the book.

Download the file to be Smooth Read

Scroll down the Project Page to the section labelled Smooth Reading. Choose which file format you want to Smooth Read under the "Download a Smooth Reading file" heading, and click on the link for the format you wish to read (or if you prefer, simply select "Download all formats").
The file size for each format is displayed beside the download link so those with slow connections will know what to expect. If you wish, you may also view Smooth Reading text and HTML formats 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 downloaded in "zip" format; the text formats and the Epub and Mobi formats will all be downloaded unzipped, immediately viewable with the appropriate software.
Be sure to download a text format in which to annotate with any notes you wish to make

Click on the [Volunteer to SR] button.

While this is entirely optional (and revocable), pressing this button lets the Post-Processor (PPer) 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.

Reading the Book!

Now for the fun part! Read through the selected format. Note any questions or errors in the text file using the format: [**your correction or query] at the point in question. 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.
If you find you need more time to finish reading the book, please send the Post-Processor a private message requesting a time extension before the pool deadline (it is helpful to suggest how much additional time you think you need)-- most Post-Processors will happily extend the deadline for you.

Reporting your Findings

When you are finished Smooth Reading the e-text, or have read as much as you can, please add a comment to the top of the annotated file, even if you didn't find anything to mark, summarizing your findings: [** no errors found through chapter 10] or [** finished book; left 3 comments]. "Zip" the file up into a .zip format and upload it using the Upload a Smooth Read report link on the book's Project Page in the Smooth Reading section.
If the upload link is not visible because the SR term has expired, please send the PPer your results by private message and post a message to the Smoooth Readers Team thread indicating the project name and that you have upload a read directly to the PPer. This will allow a SR Coordinator to manually record the read in for the SR statistics.
File names should be reasonably short, and contain only lower case letters a-z, the numbers 0-9, and the special characters -_, with one dot separating the filename from the extension. No capital letters, spaces, or other special characters are permitted. Only the .zip extension is accepable. Do not use .ZIP, .Zip or other compression formats such as .tar files.

What software/tools do I need?

Your web browser (the one you are reading this with) may be used for viewing the online formats.
A text viewer/editor will be needed to read and annotate the text file: (e.g. Notepad, TextEdit, Textpad). Text files should be Smooth Readusing a mono-spaced font to maintain text alignment in tabular or formatted portions.
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 before uploading. Please see the ZIP file wiki page for more information.

What if I upload the wrong Smooth Read file?

Simply upload the right one and the new copy will overwrite the old. It would also be wise to sent the PPer a PM (private message) informing them of the correction.

What if I 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 by posting in the Smoooth Readers Team thread. 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 as indicated in the Reporting your Findings section.

How long will I get to read?

The Smooth Reading Pool listing will show how many days the project has left before it leaves the pool. If you find you need more time to finish reading the book, please send the Post-Processor a private message requesting a time extension before the pool deadline (it is helpful to suggest how much additional time you think you need)-- most Post-Processors will happily extend the deadline for you. If you aren't able to finish, please add a comment to the top of the annotated file indicating what portion your read [** read through line 758] or [** read through chapter 8] and then go ahead and upload the results of 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, no addition action is necessary. If you have read some of it and run out of time, see the instruction under How long will I get to read?

Can I share a book with another Smooth Reader?

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 Smoooth Readers Team thread 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) should be taken.

How do I provide feedback to the PPer?

Annotate notes or corrections in the text file immediately after each error or other problem is identified: [**correction or query]. When you have finished, report your finds as instructed in the Reporting your Findings section.

What if I did not find any mistakes?

This is also valuable information. You can do this by putting a [**note] at the beginning of the file and upload it as instructed in the Reporting your Findings section.

I have this friend...

Great! This process is especially good for people who like 'regular' proof-reading or reading Gutenberg texts. Encourage your friend to register as a DP volunteer, so they too can enjoy being a part of our Smooth Reading team.

For Post-Processors

Please see Post-Processing_FAQ: Smooth Reading for detailed information.