Ben Keele submitted the following suggestion for E-Sylum readers wishing to pitch in to help create the digital numismatic library of the future. -Editor Project Gutenberg has been mentioned in the E-Sylum a couple times. The group takes books whose copyright has expired and converts them into basic file formats that can be used by almost any computer. However, the software that converts scans into plain text often makes errors, so a volunteer group, Project Gutenberg Distributed Proofreaders, works to edit and perfect the e-books before they are put online.
I really enjoy spending a couple minutes a day to proofread a few pages. You are fed one page at a time, and you compare the scan to the text produced by the software and make any changes that are needed. It is a great way to get a taste of older books (virtually all the books were published before 1923).
Many scans are taken from the big scanning operations by Google and the Internet Archive. I helped proofread the 1914 "Catalogue of coins, tokens, and medals in the numismatic collection of the Mint of the United States at Philadelphia, Pa." The e-book is not finished yet, but you can see the scans at www.archive.org/details/catalogueofcoins00unitrich .
It seems to me that some numismatically-minded volunteers might find (or produce) scans of public domain numismatic works and make them more readily accessible by getting them into Project Gutenberg. For instance, Google has scanned the 1916 volume of the Numismatist (http://books.google.com/books?id=qJUUAAAAYAAJ).
We should certainly should preserve the hard copies of numismatic works, but at the same time we can produce electronic texts so that their content is more easily accessed and preserved.
More information about the Distributed Proofreaders can be found at www.pgdp.net.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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