A Trivia Quiz

September 1, 2022
Welcome to Hot off the Press’s first Trivia Quiz! How much do you know about the history of Project Gutenberg and Distributed Proofreaders? Find out, and learn more as you go!
  1. When Michael Hart began Project Gutenberg (PG) in 1971, his goal was to create a digital library of how many titles?
  2. Using a handout he got while grocery shopping on July 4, 1971, what was the first project Michael added to PG?
  3. Which university was Michael attending when he started PG?
  4. The Old and New Testaments of the Bible took about 10 years to prepare for PG and were posted in 1989. What method of data input was used to prepare them?
  5. All early projects were immediately put on the PG website for worldwide distribution. True or false?
  6. What did Pietro Di Miceli create for PG in 1994?
  7. When were languages other than English first included in PG offerings?
  8. Only public domain books are available on PG. True or False?
  9. PG has two entries in The Guinness Book of World Records. What are they for?
  10. What organization did Charles Franks found in October 2000 in order to help PG with digitizing public domain books?
  11. Who was Charles Franks’s “help/advice/guidance” partner and the second registered user on the first Distributed Proofreaders (DP) site?
  12. What was the first title produced by DP volunteers for posting to PG?
  13. How many titles has DP posted to PG since October 2000?
  14. What volunteer reward system did Charles Franks propose in 2003 in order to inspire quality work on DP?
  15. How many “sister sites” do PG and DP have?
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Answers

  1. Michael Hart’s first goal was to digitize 10,000 books. As of this writing, there are well over 60,000 free e-books on PG, far exceeding his original goal. As reported in Hot off the Press, DP contributed PG’s 50,000th and 60,000th e-books. [See A Short History of Project Gutenberg and Distributed Proofreaders on The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: Earth Edition website. For more about this and Michael’s other hopes and dreams, see Michael Hart’s Online Writings.]
  2. The U.S. Declaration of Independence. Finding the printed handout as he unpacked his bag of groceries, Michael keyed in the Declaration that night in ALL CAPS because lower case was not available. Six users downloaded the file. [Get the whole story in Project Gutenberg 4 July 1971 – 4 July 2011: Album, by Marie Lebert; Hot off the Press, 50 Years at Project Gutenberg.]
  3. The University of Illinois. At the time, Michael was a freshman working toward a Bachelor of Science degree. Both Michael’s parents were professors there; his father taught Shakespeare and his mother Mathematics. [See Michael’s obituary in the New York Times and the Encyclopedia Britannica article on PG for more.]
  4. Typing on a computer keyboard. It took almost a decade to enter both Testaments. Each book of the Bible had to be saved as a separate file due to hardware size restrictions – there was no hard drive when the project began. [See Project Gutenberg 4 July 1971 – 4 July 2011: Album, by Marie Lebert.]
  5. False. The World Wide Web did not exist until the end of 1990, when Tim Berners-Lee got his first browser and server running at CERN. [See A Short History of the Web and Distributed Proofreaders Just Celebrated Its 10th Anniversary, by Marie Lebert.]
  6. Pietro Di Miceli created the first website for PG in 1994. An Italian volunteer, Pietro developed and administered PG’s website between 1994 and 2004, winning a number of awards for his efforts. [See the New World Encyclopedia article on PG for more information.]
  7. The first non-English title was posted to PG in 1997: Dante Alighieri’s La Divina Commedia in the original Italian. It was PG’s 1,000th title. [See Project Gutenberg 4 July 1971 – 4 July 2011: Album, by Marie Lebert; and Hot off the Press, 50 Years at Project Gutenberg.]
  8. False. Michael estimated (in 2007) that about 2% of PG titles are copyrighted and posted with the permission of the author. Two examples are Michael’s co-authored titles, A Brief History of the Internet and Poems and Tales from Romania. [See Michael’s blog post, The Most Common Misconceptions about Project Gutenberg.]
  9. PG holds the Guinness World Records for first digital library and first e-book (the U.S. Declaration of Independence).
  10. Charles Franks founded DP, which officially went online October 1, 2000. He first suggested the idea on a PG volunteer discussion board beginning in April, 2000. [See DP Timeline and Distributed Proofreaders Just Celebrated Its 10th Anniversary, by Marie Lebert.]
  11. Jim Tinsley registered as the #2 user in September 2000 and did much to help Charles get DP up and running smoothly. [See DP Timeline.]
  12. The Iliad of Homer, translated by Andrew Lang, Walter Leaf, and Ernest Meyers, was the first project completed by DP, believed to have been posted to PG in November 2000. [See DP Timeline; Hot off the Press, Happy 15th Anniversary! (Part I).]
  13. As of this writing, DP has posted over 44,000 unique titles to PG. [See Hot off the Press, Celebrating 44,000 Titles; DP Timeline.]
  14. The “Whuffie” system. Based on Cory Doctorow’s sci-fi novel Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, the Whuffie system would award points for excellence in proofreading and take them away for poorly done work. Charles envisioned volunteers being able to collect and redeem Whuffie points for real merchandise like a DP t-shirt or mousepad. The system was ultimately not implemented. [Read more details in A Roadmap for Distributed Proofreaders, by Charles Franks.]
  15. PG currently has several independent “sister sites” worldwide: Gutenberg Canada, Project Gutenberg Australia, Projekt Gutenberg-DE (German literature), and Project Runeberg (Nordic literature). DP’s independent sister site is currently Distributed Proofreaders Canada.

How Did You Do?

12-15 CORRECT: Gutenberg Pro – congratulations!
Wow! Have you been around here awhile? You sure know your stuff!

7-11 CORRECT: Gutenberg Proficient – you’re on an upward trend!
Not bad! You know over half your stuff. Brush up by reading more about the other half.

1-6 CORRECT: Gutenberg Newbie – enjoy exploring more!
It’s a big world out there just waiting to be discovered. Follow the links in the Answers above to start your adventure.

0 and SKIPPERS: Gutenberg Fan – curious and hungry for knowledge!
Rushed ahead to the good stuff, huh? You’ve just begun a very interesting journey. Have fun!

DISCOVER MORE EVERY MONTH – READ HOT OFF THE PRESS

This post was contributed by Scrutineyes, a Distributed Proofreaders volunteer. Graphics by Unruly Pencil. Photos of Michael Hart from https://www.pglaf.org/hart/.


A 20th Anniversary Crossword

October 4, 2020

What would Distributed Proofreaders’ 20th anniversary be without a celebratory crossword?

Our latest brain-teaser is based on Good Stories for Great Birthdays, by Frances Jenkins Olcott, a prolific children’s author who became the first head of the children’s department of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh in 1898. The book, published in 1922, contains “over 200 stories celebrating 23 great birthdays of patriot-founders and upbuilders of the Republics of both North and South America. In the stories are more than 75 historical characters, men, women, and children.”

In order to solve the puzzle, first read the book – being for children, it’s an easy read. And, being an e-book, it’s searchable.

Then you can solve the puzzle in one of two ways:

  • Use the interactive version. Just click on a blank square and the corresponding clue pops up. Type in the answer and click OK (or, if you’re stumped, click the Solve button). Clicking the Check Puzzle button at the bottom gives the number of errors and incomplete words, if you want to see how you’re getting on. The interactive version can be used online or downloaded for offline solving.
  • Or, download the printable PDF version and print out the puzzle to solve it the old-fashioned way, with your favorite writing implement. Check your solution with the printable PDF answer key. No peeking! (But who’s to know?)

So enjoy a fun crossword for a great birthday – Happy 20th to Distributed Proofreaders!

This crossword was created by FallenArchangel, a Distributed Proofreaders volunteer, using the free EclipseCrossword app.

Tomorrow: DP’s Knitters Who Read have stitched up something special!

Previous Distributed Proofreaders Crosswords

Marjorie Dean: Marvelous Manager

The Last of the Bushrangers

Uncle Wiggily’s Squirt Gun

An Universal Dictionary of the Marine

Nothing to Do


Crossword: Nothing to Do

February 1, 2020

Nothing to do on a bleak midwinter day (or, if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, a hot midsummer day)? Try our latest crossword!

This one is based on Nothing to Do: A Tilt at Our Best Society, by Horatio Alger. It’s an early work by the not-yet-famous “rags to riches” novelist — a 300-line satirical poem in the epic style, poking fun at the idle rich.

nothingtodo_crossword_image

In order to solve the puzzle, first read the book. It’s short and entertaining. And, being an e-book, it’s searchable.

Then you can solve the puzzle in one of two ways:

  • Use the interactive version. Just click on a blank square and the corresponding clue pops up. Type in the answer and click OK (or, if you’re stumped, click the Solve button). Clicking the Check Puzzle button at the bottom gives the number of errors and incomplete words, if you want to see how you’re getting on. The interactive version can be used online or downloaded for offline solving.
  • Or, download the printable PDF version and print out the puzzle to solve it the old-fashioned way, with your favorite writing implement. Check your solution with the printable PDF answer key. No peeking! (But who’s to know?)

Happy Puzzling!

This crossword was created by FallenArchangel, a Distributed Proofreaders volunteer, using the free EclipseCrossword app.


Crossword: Marine Dictionary

July 1, 2019

Longing for the tang of fresh sea air but can’t get to the shore? Feel like yo-ho-ho-ing but don’t have a bottle of rum? What better way to get your seafaring fix than with an ingenious crossword composed of nautical terms?

Our latest Distributed Proofreaders puzzle is based on An Universal Dictionary of the Marine by William Falconer, a Scottish poet and sailor. Published in 1769, the same year Falconer was lost at sea, the dictionary is a fascinating compendium of technical terms and phrases relating to ships. It contains helpful illustrations and even an appendix with translations of French maritime terms.

marine_dictionary_crossword_grid_image

In order to solve the puzzle, first take a look at the book. Yes, it’s a dictionary. No, we don’t expect you to read a dictionary. The beauty of Project Gutenberg e-books is that they’re searchable. And you’ll learn something new (or old) about marine terms while you’re hunting for the answers.

You can solve the puzzle in one of two ways:

  • Use the interactive version. Just click on a blank square and the corresponding clue pops up. Type in the answer and click OK (or, if you’re stumped, click the Solve button). Clicking the Check Puzzle button at the bottom gives the number of errors and incomplete words, if you want to see how you’re getting on.
  • Or, download the printable PDF version and print out the puzzle to solve it the old-fashioned way, with your favorite writing implement. Check your solution with the printable PDF answer key. No peeking! (But who’s to know?)

Happy Puzzling!

This crossword was created by FallenArchangel, a Distributed Proofreaders volunteer, using the free EclipseCrossword app.

Previous Distributed Proofreaders Crosswords

Marjorie Dean: Marvelous Manager

The Last of the Bushrangers

Uncle Wiggily’s Squirt Gun


Printer Credits

March 1, 2019

colophon

Colophon of the Aldine Press

Having grown up in an age of ever increasingly sophisticated advertising, I’m amazed at the poor way printers represented their work in the printers’ credits I see in the older books we work on at Distributed Proofreaders.

Printers’ credits? I’m not sure what the proper name is. I’m speaking of the two or three lines near the beginning or end of a book where the printer’s name, address, and any other information appear.

I’m not sure of the purpose of this information appearing in a book. Perhaps it helps support a publisher’s claim that the book has been published in a particular country and is therefore protected by that country’s copyright laws. It doesn’t appear to be in every book, so it can’t have been a legal requirement to include it. Printing companies presumably had established reputations. Some may have been known for quick typesetting and turnaround, some for low prices, some for accurate technical work or quality binding. Publishers must have needed to know these reputations to select an appropriate printer for a particular job. I hope publishers weren’t depending on the two or three lines of printed identification to identify the quality of a potential printer’s work.

No, I don’t think this would have been the way printers were presenting themselves to publishing houses for future business. I expect printing companies advertised to publishers in some other way to establish business relationships. However, the printer’s credit in a book is the only way the printers are known to the reading public. In any case, I’d think they’d want to put their best foot, er, font and printing quality forward! I’d think they’d want to at least meet the quality of the rest of the book they printed.

In the early days of European printing, printers were often also the publisher, editor, bookseller, and even author or translator. The famous Aldine Press of Venice was one such printing firm, engaging giants of humanism such as Erasmus to produce translations of ancient classics imprinted with its distinctive dolphin colophon.

By the 19th Century, with specialization, the printer’s role had become separate, and the colophons belonged to the publishers. In some cases, printers may have wanted to omit a printer credit to avoid potential prosecution for printing banned or pirated books. But books containing printers’ credits that are poorly printed neither protect the printer from prosecution nor present the printer’s capabilities in a favorable light.

The printed book itself demonstrates the printer’s quality of work, but I’d expect the information naming the printing firm in the book to represent their best work. Printers’ credits first caught my eye as representing the worst example of printing in a book! I often questioned whether this blob of text had been originally printed in a book or just rubber-stamped crookedly after the fact onto the page.

As I found myself looking to see how poorly the printers’ credit looked in each book, my impression was that they typically use the worst font and have the blurriest impression of anything in the book. It’s as if they were trying to make the credit look as bad as they could. Besides the rubber-stamp look, the printing impression often looks incomplete, part of letters missing or blurred. Blobs of ink fill in the open spots of letters. But don’t just take my word for it. Here are some examples.

Let’s start with a few that have the rubber-stamp look:

printer credit

printer credit

printer credit

Here’s one with an unusual layout:

printer credit

Here’s one squeezed at the bottom of the last index page of a book, unevenly printed on a single line:

printer credit

 

Finally, here are a couple of quality printer’s credits to be the exception:

printercredit7

printercredit8

Perhaps now you’ll find yourself looking to see just how poor an impression these printers make! Or maybe you’ll find the high-quality entry that proves the exception.

This post was contributed by WebRover, a DP volunteer.


Crossword: Uncle Wiggily

December 1, 2018

Enjoy the holiday season with a crossword puzzle based on Uncle Wiggily’s Squirt Gun, a humorous illustrated children’s book of the early 20th Century, provided to Project Gutenberg by the volunteers at Distributed Proofreaders.

wiggily_crossword_grid image

In order to solve the puzzle, first read the book — it’s easy and amusing — then decide how you want to proceed:

  • Use the interactive version. Just click on a blank square and the corresponding clue pops up. Type in the answer and click OK (or, if you’re stumped, click the Solve button). Clicking the Check Puzzle button at the bottom gives the number of errors and incomplete words, if you want to see how you’re getting on.
  • Download the printable PDF version and print out the puzzle to solve it the old-fashioned way, with your favorite writing implement. Check your solution with the PDF answer key. No peeking! (But who’s to know?)

Happy Puzzling!

This crossword was created by FallenArchangel, a Distributed Proofreaders volunteer, using the free EclipseCrossword app.

Previous Crosswords

Marjorie Dean: Marvelous Manager

The Last of the Bushrangers

 


A DP Crossword: The Last of the Bushrangers

June 30, 2018

Our popular crossword feature returns with a puzzle based on The Last of the Bushrangers, a lively 19th-Century account of the capture of a gang of Australian robbers, written by a former police superintendent who was there.

bushrangers_crossword_image

In order to solve the puzzle, first read the book — it’s entertaining — then decide how you want to proceed:

  • Use the interactive version. Just click on a blank square and the corresponding clue pops up. Type in the answer and click OK (or, if you’re stumped, click the Solve button). Clicking the Check Puzzle button at the bottom gives the number of errors and incomplete words, if you want to see how you’re getting on.
  • Use the printable PDF version to print out the puzzle and solve it the old-fashioned way, with your favorite writing implement. Check your solution with the PDF answer key. No peeking! (But who’s to know?)

Happy Puzzling!

This crossword was created by FallenArchangel, a Distributed Proofreaders volunteer, using the free EclipseCrossword app.


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