Why I love Project Gutenberg

Last month I started volunteering for Project Gutenberg’s Distributed Proofreading project. They are putting public domain texts online for the benefit of humanity! Errors from the OCR scanning process have to be proofed and formatted before the etexts are uploaded for viewing.

The wonderful thing for me is the variety of texts being scanned. I’ve worked on Six Metaphysical Meditations by Rene Descartes, a biography of Swedenborg, a pirate adventure, and Historic Trees of Massachusetts.

Many of the texts are serious literature or works of science. Others, however, are just silly. The following gem of dialogue comes from a 1846 Scottish magazine story:

“Blockhead!” said I, “what made you show her in there?
To a certainty she’ll be meddling with the theodolites!”

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