Eighteen years ago, on October 1, 2000, Distributed Proofreaders volunteers began “preserving history one page at a time” by preparing public-domain e-books for Project Gutenberg. Since then, DP has contributed over 36,000 unique titles. Here’s a look back at some of DP’s accomplishments since our last retrospective.
33,000 titles. In November 2016, Distributed Proofreaders posted its 33,000th unique title to Project Gutenberg, A Flower Wedding, by the great children’s book illustrator Walter Crane. You can read all about it in this celebratory post.
35,000 titles. DP contributed its 35,000th title, Shores of the Polar Sea, in January 2018. This beautifully illustrated account of a 19th-Century expedition to the North Pole is celebrated in this blog post.
36,000 titles. Just last month, DP celebrated 36,000 titles with the May 1882 issue of The American Missionary. You can find out more about this historic periodical — of which DP has posted over 125 issues, with more to come — here.
Over the past two years, Distributed Proofreaders has also contributed to Project Gutenberg a number of projects of particular historic and literary significance. These include:
Motor Matt. DP posted the last of 32 issues of this popular dime novel series in November 2016. Read all about it in this blog post.
The History and Romance of Crime. In February 2017, we posted the 12th and final volume, Oriental Prisons, in this series of sensational accounts of crime and punishment around the world by a 19th-Century British prison administrator.
The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents. This is an important series of reports, in French, Latin, and Italian, with English translations, from Jesuit missionaries in the territory that became Canada. We celebrated the posting of eight volumes of these reports in a blog post in both English and French commemorating the 150th anniversary of Canadian confederation on July 1, 2017.
The Gallery of Portraits: with Memoirs. In November 2017, DP posted the seventh and final volume of this important set of books, which was produced under the superintendence of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, a 19th-Century organization devoted to providing resources for self-education.
Songs of the West. We posted this important 19th-Century collection of folk songs from Cornwall and Devon — with audio files so you can hear the music — in February 2018. Read all about it here.
Site development has flourished at Distributed Proofreaders over the past two years, thanks to the unflagging efforts of our “squirrels” (DP’s nickname for its administrators), our developers, and the many volunteers who helped us design and test these changes. Some major undertakings:
- We updated our operating system to Ubuntu 16.04 and migrated to a new server and hosting facility.
- The OS update made possible some important upgrades to our forum and wiki software.
- We also made important updates to our site coding and some of our page designs to enhance consistency, usability, accessibility, security, and future support.
- We updated our official documentation and placed it in our wiki to improve our members’ access to it.
- The entire DP site is now available in French.
Distributed Proofreaders is a close-knit community, and we all mourned when we lost three well-loved members during the past two years.
Pucon, a retired geologist, was a prolific proofreader who completed over 27,000 pages in his three and a half years at DP.
Long Green, whose friends knew her as Mama Beth, was an active proofreader and formatter who also post-processed a number of projects, some of them quite challenging. Her final project is celebrated in this memorial.
Miller, known to her friends as Emmy, performed numerous roles at DP. As a project manager, she contributed 321 books, which she also post-processed, and she post-processed over 700 books contributed by others. Her legacy is celebrated here.
Distributed Proofreaders is collaborating with Harvard University and the Smithsonian Institute in Project PHaEDRA. This project involves transcribing original notebooks created during the 19th and early 20th Centuries by researchers at the Harvard College Observatory, including early female astronomers and the famous Harvard Computers. Our General Manager, Linda Hamilton, recently participated in a video interview about our participation in Project PHaEDRA.
Many thanks to all the Distributed Proofreaders volunteers, past and present, who made this 18th anniversary possible!
This post was contributed by Linda Cantoni, a DP volunteer.