A Whimsical Tour of Distributed Proofreaders

October 1, 2022

Distributed Proofreaders is 22 years old today, and we’re celebrating our anniversary with a bit of poetry. Congratulations to all the volunteers who have helped in “preserving history one page at a time” all these years!

DP = Distributed Proofreaders
PM = Project Manager
PP = Post-Processor
PG = Project Gutenberg

Calliope by Meynier

Welcome to DP; please step right on in.
The tour I shall give is about to begin.

The goal of DP is to save the old books
Where some have sat gathered in dusty ole nooks.

We find them and scan them to bring back to life;
So you can view free on your electric device.

Now let’s take a tour to observe what goes on
And capture the secrets of change undergone.

The PMs are wise folks who manage our projects.
They keep the work tidy for steps that come up next.

The next step is proofing to check for mistakes
That optical scanners leave lying in wait.

Our Proofers have keen eyes that don’t miss a beat.
Our books are proofed three times; it’s really a feat!

The Formatters labor to put things in line
So reading is easy and feels so refined.

They use special coding to line up the text.
This work is what keeps their big brain muscles flexed.

Some covers are damaged and look really ratty,
But DP has Wizards to make them look natty.

These Wizards are clever with mysterious notions
Who wave their wands deftly in all sorts of motions.

When all of the proofing and formatting’s done,
The job of the PP has only begun.

They gather and sort and they move things about
Till it’s pretty and perfect and ready, no doubt.

But wait, one more step comes before a book’s ready;
Our Smooth Readers check with their eyes fixed and steady.

Some issues crop up that we’ve not seen before,
But there’s always a Mentor with guidance galore.

The talent in all teams just boggles the mind,
Plus count on support from a Mentor who’s kind.

Believe it or not we have Squirrels running ‘round,
But they aren’t the same type in the woods to be found.

Our Squirrels are equipped with knowledge all-round,
Technicians who keep this place all safe and sound.

When DP transforms these old writings anew,
They’re sent to PG as enjoyment for you.

I think you will probably all quite agree
What a gift these books are to be offered for free!

At DP you know you will always be welcome–
Whatever your interests; wherever you’re from.

This tour is concluded but not without wishing
That you will come back, and not just go fishing.

And, if you come back, you might volunteer;
You’ll be welcomed with sentiments truly sincere.

By Susan E., a DP volunteer, with special thanks to all the DP volunteers for their inspiration.


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