Buoyed by my online volunteering success last week, I decided to look for further volunteering work. I found a whole host of different opportunities, some I’ve bookmarked for the future, but today Project Gutenberg caught my eye.
Project Gutenberg is an initiative where volunteers digitise old books where the copyright has expired and turned them into eBooks which are free to read. There are currently over 60 000 books, but due to some complicated legal battle, none of them are available to read in Germany. Nonetheless, I decided to support this fantastic project, and proofread some of the books that are in the process of being digitised.
This was a lot more complicated than I first anticipated. The website does a good job of going through all the different things to look out for, and there are even quizzes to test your proofreading skills, but the technical language was quite confusing, and there were so many things to look out for: it was quite overwhelming. The pressure was off as the text would pass through two more rounds of proofreading before being finalised, and you only commit to 1 page at a time, but it felt like a lot of information to hold in my head.
After going through a few pages of some books for beginners, my confidence returned and I actually started to enjoy it. There are a really wide variety of books to chose from, and you can do one page here, and one page there – as much or as little as you wish. I ultimately felt quite comforted knowing somebody will be checking the text a couple more times, the pressure was off if I let something slip through my net. It was a really interesting way to spend a few hours, and something I’ll return to.