Screenshot of the proofreading interface on Distributed Proofreaders.
Distributed Proofreaders (commonly abbreviated as DP or PGDP) is a web-based project that supports the development of e-texts for Project Gutenberg by allowing many people to work together in proofreading drafts of e-texts for errors. By July 2015, over 30,000 texts had been digitized and by November 2019, the site had completed 38,000 titles.
Distributed Proofreaders was founded by Charles Franks in 2000 as an independent site to assist Project Gutenberg. Distributed Proofreaders became an official Project Gutenberg site in 2002.
On 8 November 2002, Distributed Proofreaders was slashdotted, and more than 4,000 new members joined in one day, causing an influx of new proofreaders and software developers, which helped to greatly increase the quantity and quality of e-text production. Distributed Proofreaders posted their 5,000th text to Project Gutenberg in October 2004, in March 2007, the 10,000th DP-produced e-text was posted to Project Gutenberg, in May 2009, the 15,000th DP-produced e-text was posted to Project Gutenberg, in April 2011, the 20,000th DP-produced e-text was posted to Project Gutenberg, and in July 2015, the 30,000th DP-produced e-text was posted to Project Gutenberg. DP-contributed e-texts comprised more than half of works in Project Gutenberg, as of July 2015 .
On 31 July 2006, the Distributed Proofreaders Foundation was formed to provide Distributed Proofreaders with its own legal entity and not-for-profit status. IRS approval of section 501(c)(3) status was granted retroactive to 7 April 2006.
Public domain works, typically books with expired copyright, are scanned by volunteers or sourced from digitization projects and the images are run through optical character recognition (OCR) software. Since OCR software is far from perfect, a large number of errors often appear in the resulting text. To correct them, pages are made available to volunteers via the Internet; the original page image and the recognized text appear side by side. This process thereby distributes the time-consuming error-correction process, akin to distributed computing.
Each page is proofread and formatted several times, and then a post-processor combines the pages and prepares the text for uploading to Project Gutenberg.
Besides custom software created to support the project, DP also runs a forum and a wiki for project coordinators and participants.
In January 2004, Distributed Proofreaders Europe started, hosted by Project Rastko, Serbia. This site had the ability to process text in Unicode UTF-8 encoding. Books proofread centered mainly on European culture, with a large proportion of non-English texts including Hebrew, Arabic, Urdu and many others. As of October 2013 , DP Europe had produced 787 e-texts, the last of these in November 2011.
The original DP is sometimes referred to as "DP International" by members of DP Europe. However, DP servers are located in the United States, and therefore works must be cleared by Project Gutenberg as being in the public domain according to U.S. copyright law before they can be proofread and eventually published at DP.
In December 2007, Distributed Proofreaders Canada launched to support the production of e-books for Project Gutenberg Canada and take advantage of shorter Canadian copyright terms. Although it was established by members of the original Distributed Proofreaders site, it is a separate entity. All of its projects are posted to Faded Page, their book archive website. In addition, it supplies books to Project Gutenberg Canada (which launched on Canada Day 2007) and (where copyright laws are compatible) to the original Project Gutenberg.
In addition to preserving Canadiana, DP Canada is notable because it is the first major effort to take advantage of Canada's copyright laws which may allow more works to be preserved. Unlike copyright law in some other countries, Canada has a "life plus 50" copyright term. This means that works by authors who died more than fifty years ago may be preserved in Canada, whereas in other parts of the world those works may not be distributed because they are still under copyright.
Notable authors whose works may be preserved in Canada but not other parts of the world include Clark Ashton Smith, Dashiell Hammett, Ernest Hemingway, Carl Jung, A. A. Milne, Dorothy Sayers, Nevil Shute, Walter de la Mare, Sheila Kaye-Smith and Amy Carmichael.
|Milestone||Date||e-text||Link to Project Gutenberg|
|1st||1 Oct 2000||The Odyssey, Homer, Lang tr. (first pages for proofreading)||etext 3059|
|1,000th||19 Feb 2003||Tales of St. Austin's, P. G. Wodehouse||etext 6980|
|2,000th||3 Sep 2003||Hamlet -- the 'Bad Quarto', William Shakespeare||etext 9077|
|3,000th||14 Jan 2004||The Anatomy of Melancholy, Robert Burton||etext 10800|
|4,000th||6 Apr 2004||Aventures du Capitaine Hatteras, Jules Verne||etext 11927|
|5,000th||24 Aug 2004||A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature, John William Cousin||etext 13240|
|6,000th||2 Feb 2005||The Journal of Sir Walter Scott, Sir Walter Scott||etext 14860|
|7,000th||23 Jun 2005||Opúsculos por Alexandre Herculano (Vol. I), Alexandre Herculano;
Viage al Parnaso, Miguel de Cervantes;
Leabhráin an Irisleabhair-III, Various.
|etext 16111 |
|8,000th||8 Feb 2006||The Suppression of the African slave-trade to the United States of America, 1638-1870, W. E. B. Du Bois||etext 17700|
|9,000th||8 Sep 2006||History of the World War for Human Rights, Kelly Miller;
Poems, Christina Rossetti;
Hey Diddle Diddle and Baby Bunting, Randolph Caldecott
|etext 19179 |
|10,000th||9 Mar 2007||(See 10,000th E-book below)|
|11,000th||12 Sep 2007||Northern Nut Growers Association Thirty-Fourth Annual Report 1943, Northern Nut Growers Association||etext 22587|
|12,000th||26 Jan 2008||Zur Psychopathologie des Alltagslebens, Sigmund Freud||etext 24429|
|13,000th||24 Jun 2008||A World of Girls, L. T. Meade||etext 25870|
|14,000th||1 Dec 2008||The Art of Stage Dancing, Ned Wayburn||etext 27367|
|15,000th||12 May 2009||Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society - Vol 1 - 1666, Various. Henry Oldenburg (editor)||etext 28758|
|16,000th||1 Oct 2009||ABC Petits Contes, Jules Lemaître||etext 30117|
|17,000th||4 Mar 2010||The Position of Woman in Primitive Society, C. Gasquoine Hartley||etext 31500|
|18,000th||15 Jun 2010||Area Handbook for Romania, Eugene K. Keefe, et al.||etext 32700|
|19,000th||10 Nov 2010||Vanden Vos Reinaerde Uitgegeven en Toegelicht (anonymous)||etext 34261|
|20,000th||10 April 2011||(See 20,000th E-book below)|
|22,000th||2 Jan 2012||"The Nibelungenlied", William Nanson Lettsom's translation||etext 38468|
|25,000th||10 April 2013||The Art and Practice of Silver Printing, H. P. Robinson and Capt. Abney||etext 42547|
|30,000th||7 July 2015||Graded Literature Readers: Fourth Book||etext 49339|
|35,000th||26 Jan 2018||Shores of the Polar Sea, a Narrative of the Arctic Expedition of 1875--1876||etext 56424|
On 9 March 2007, Distributed Proofreaders announced completing more than 10,000 titles. In celebration, a block of 15 titles was published:
On April 10, 2011, the 20,000th book milestone was celebrated as a group release of bilingual books:
On July 7, 2015, the 30,000th book milestone was celebrated with a group of thirty texts. One was numbered 30,000.