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The time commitment is amazingly flexible. The average "task" takes around 2-15 minutes each. It depends, they vary and you choose the tasks yourself. There is no upper limit, you can take as long as you want essentially. Nobody rushes you. 2 minutes is about the minimum per "task".

Not just in English. They need people familiar with other languages also. It's far more important to be able to read in the language than to be able to write in the language. You can even work in languages you don't understand, because it is essentially like those spot the differences games. French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish, Scots, Greek and Latin are some of the languages besides English which they need people for also.

What do they do? They preserve books. Turn printed books into ebooks, which don't fade or deteriorate over time and hence are preserved for future generations.

The completed ebooks are made available to the world for free.

The "task" consists of proofreading. You get shown a scanned image of a single page of the printed book. You are also shown the plain text which the OCR software generated from that image. The OCR is good, but not perfect. The task is to compare the image and the text and make the text match the image. A "." Might have been incorrectly read as a "," or missed completely by the OCR, so you correct the text to make it match the picture. An "and" might have been misread as "end", so you edit the text to fix it and "match the scan".

It's like those spot the difference games. Just compare the two (the image and the text) and spot the differences.

Not only keeps the brain active with the task itself, but you'd be amazed at the variety of interesting material covered in the books also. Some of which trickles in via osmosis during the proofing.

It is preserving, not editing or correcting. If the author made spelling mistakes or used improper punctuation then we don't correct that, we match what the author created and preserve that. The books being old and language changing over time, what sometimes seems wrong or a mistake is actually correct for that time. And we preserve it, we don't adapt it or correct it. Such as "today" often being a hyphenated word in the older books as "to-day". The archaic spellings are different too at times. We keep them also and do not modernise words. "Match the scan" is the golden rule.

You don't have to know what all the words mean. Just make sure the text is the same as the image and correct typos and scannos, so that the text matches what you see in the image.

Does not matter whether you think you are a lousy speller. People who know how to spell, often find the archaic spellings strange, weird and wrong anyhow lol.

It's called Distributed Proofreading, because the task of proofing the whole book, is distributed to hundreds of people all over the world who each work on different pages at the same time.

They deal with old books which are no longer in copyright and hence can be made available for free. Often 100 years old or so. At first I thought these old tomes would be boring and not at all interesting, but there's an amazing variety and I have found all the ones I have participated in so far as surprisingly interesting and or entertaining. All types/genres. Fiction and non fiction. Highbrow and lowbrow. Funny and serious. Amazing variety from what to choose to work on and you do choose. You don't get anything assigned. There is a list of books currently being proofed and you pick one that sounds interesting to you. If, after seeing the page you decide it isn't interesting after all, or looks too hard, you can toss it back for someone else to deal with (return the page to the round - there's a button for that) and you can try a different page from that book or a different book instead.

Pages vary with how much text they contain. The more text per page, the longer it generally takes to compare and proof of course. Iíve found the range is around 2-15 minutes per page.

There's no fixed time commitment. You just do what you can, when you can. There is no obligation. If you can't proof any pages because you have no time, that is fine. If you only have time to proof one page a day, that still helps. If you only proof one page a month or year, it's still contributing and helping. You can spend hours there and the system will keep feeding you pages. You can hop between books for variety. You choose.

If your situation changes and you started a page, but then suddenly no longer have time, don't worry about it. You aren't letting anybody down. The system will automatically reassign the page for someone else who requests a page to work on, if you have not finished the page yet, there are no other pages still for people to proof and you have not worked on the page yourself in the last 4 hours. So projects don't bottleneck and stagnate because one individual got called away or interrupted or is just unable to finish a page.

Nobody tells you off if you miss something or do it wrong. If you ask questions or do not understand what should be done for a given situation then you can post in their forum and ask and someone will try to explain. Each book/project is given a separate thread with a PM (project manager) who will try and field such questions. There are detailed instructions on what to do in different situations.

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