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The Project Gutenberg Weekly Newsletter 19th November 2003

eBooks Readable By Both Humans and Computers For Since 1971

Part 2

In this week's Project Gutenberg Weekly Newsletter:

Smart webtools for e-book preparation and editing revisited by Thierry Alberto ...

Brand-new e-gourmet club is inviting you to the dinner next week ...

Alice made a little expedition to find out what Early English Text Society really
is ...

Tomorrow is Universal Children's day, so it seems naturally to mention some works

of Lewis Carroll in the Math and Poetry series ?


Editorial notes

Dear readers,

To make a newsletter is huge effort of many people. It takes lot of emails, sweat
on the key-board and plenty of computer-time hours. We glad to present it to you
every week and trying to keep it alive and interesting. Alice is working hard now
to improve and enhance the form and content (that are deeply connected as we all
know ?) of the PG source for news and amusement. Your feedbacks and comments are
and always will be greatly appreciated by her and every member of the distributed
newsletter team.

Happy reading to everybody!


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You'll hear back within a few days.


2) The Distributed Proofreaders Update is coming this week together with the new

by Thierry Alberto

Transitional periods are often disconcerting. History reveals that people

throughout the
world develop a fondness for the known and potentially familiar. While working on
upgrade of a web site interface a couple of years ago, I was involved in a debate
another designer over the scale of some new additions. He argued for keeping the
designs just as they were, adding that this was sure to be the preference of the
audience. Then, as if to solidify his stance he said, "The only person who likes
change is a wet baby."

He did not win that day, but his words were tattooed upon my memory, by their
I have thought about them now and again, because I do not necessarily agree with
view. I believe that there is a certain type of individual who thrives within a
environment. Granted, you will not find large crowds of such people in any one
By nature, such a person tends to be more at home in a small, loosely woven social
I can speak for this group because I am kin. After observing and interacting with
the DP
community for 9 months, I would say that here is the largest gathering of
nomads I have ever encountered.

Change is a constant at DP. The project is like a river which is different every
time that
you wade in, transforming even as it flows around you. This dynamic nature does
suit everyone, and after a taste or two a number of folks will move on. Among
those who
have stayed with DP for a measurable time are some who would never consider
not with any lasting seriousness, anyway. It is this fair sized circle of people
who are ever
in the midst of the great transformations to the project. It might be fair to say
that they are
in fact the very agents of change, always at the heart of the latest upgrade,
feature addition
or process innovation.

In searching for the thread to tie the weekly news with the production focus of
this week,
I found myself looking into these ever turning wheels of change that have made DP
unique success it is today. There is a loosely worded creed of sorts which is
around the community now and again. While it is not officially stated anywhere,
it comes
very close to a standing policy. It goes more or less like, "If you see something
clearly needs doing, take the initiative and set it in motion. Others will soon
join with you
and iron out the wrinkles."

Whether this process works or not is now beyond the shadows of doubt. Distributed
Proofreaders itself is an example of this method; the follow through of an idea
from one
person is today a collective endeavor of thousands. Whether it is an easy choice
embrace such a process and remain dedicated is a topic for another column.

One example of personal initiative at DP was introduced in last week's newsletter

will be explored a little further today. This is the development of the series of
programs that help automate the different stages of text processing. The people
built these tools did not wait for approval or instructions, they saw a need and
went to work at constructing a satisfying solution. Over time, with trial and
input, they
evolved their initial efforts and continue to do so today. The exact measure of
these programs and scripts have added to DP's output is not possible to calculate.
After you have used some of them a few times, it becomes clear that whatever the
specific measurement, this contribution has made a profound difference in the both
degree and quality of DP's final product.

Among the most widely used tools are Steve Schulze's guiprep and guiguts, their
egos Winprep and Winguts; the tool suite of GutAxe; GutHammer; GutSweeper;
GutWrench, written by Bill Flis and the Re-Wrap and Indent script created by Bill
Keir. These are by no means all the tools available to assist the DP process but
which are utilized in the Pre and Post production stages, that have been featured
the column previously. There are many other tools which have become incorporated
into the proofing process. One is the customized proofing font, which makes it
on the eyes to spot less obvious errors. Another valuable assist is the
panel for Greek letters, originally created by DP's Donovan and long since
as a fixed component in the proofing interface.

In future columns we will explore each of these tools a little further. A

permanent feature
for the off-line programs and scripts is presently being constructed upon the
archive site. Here, tools will be available for download to independent text
along with background information and extensive help files. This effort has the
full support
of the tool masters, thus the archive feature should evolve into a valuable
resource over time.
Here in the column we will be providing space for the developers to introduce the
in their own words. This week we begin our spotlight with the suite of tools
and maintained by Bill Flis


GUTWRENCH SUITE (Windows only)

All four programs are contained in a single .zip file, downloadable at:

The programs come with documentation that explains their function in more detail.
Email the
author at if you have any problems or suggestions. GutAxe and
are probably of most interest outside DP, as they are not at all DP-specific.
Anyone interested
in the Visual Basic source code is welcome to it.


This simple program helps make rapid corrections to errors in e-texts. These
include many
"Stealth Scannos" (OCR errors that will pass a spell-checker), words that are
usually hyphenated
or have accents or ligatures, and mistakes in punctuation and markups. It is
intended mainly as a
quick-and-dirty, time-saving, error-reducing tool, not as a replacement for other
more thorough
tools, such as Gutcheck or a spell-checker.
It works much like a spell-checker: when it finds an error, it shows the context
and proposes the
likely correction, asking the user to confirm. For example, if it finds the word
"arid", it asks
whether this should be changed to "and" (a "Stealth Scanno", because the erroneous
word "arid"
will pass a spell-checker). If it finds the string "Mrs," (with a comma), it asks
whether it should
be changed to "Mrs." (with a period). Of course, many errors do not have such
corrections or are too unlikely to occur (it doesn't flag "and" as possibly
"arid", e.g.), and GutAxe
does not attempt to be a completely general tool. However, it flags a relatively
low percentage of
"false positives" and enables the user to not only find but also correct a large
number of errors in
a short time.

It is now set up to check English-language texts (with some French words).

However, the errors
that it detects and the corrections it offers are all contained in external text
files, which could easily
be edited to handle other languages (no re-programming needed).


GutSweeper is a little time-saving tool intended to be used first in post-

processing at DP. It
automatically cleans up clear-cut errors. It divides any very long lines of text
(over a specified
length). It does some general cleaning up: removes trailing and double blanks, and
deletes blank
lines at the bottoms of pages (before the DP-style Page Separators). A preliminary
feature insures that it will not be confused by erroneous poetry and other mark-


This multi-purpose error-finding tool performs three kinds of functions:

1. Mapping the text. This function creates various tables concerning the text:
a) List of all characters in the file and their frequencies.
b) "Page Map" gives a brief (one-line) summary of special features (such as italic
paragraphs, special characters) that appear on each page of text (between DP-style
Separators). This may be printed then quickly compared with the scan images to
find missing
features in the text.
c) List of all hyphenated words, and occurrences of unhyphenated versions of them.
d) List of all accented words, and occurrences of unaccented versions.
e) Concordance (alphabetic list of all words, their frequencies, and point of
first occurrence)
f) List of all lines of text having adjacent UPPER CASE characters (useful for
checking chapter headings and finding some errors).
2. Checking the text for errors (intended as a supplement to Gutcheck):
a) Hyphens and dashes
b) Italic and bold (HTML-style) markups
c) Stealth scannos, including also optional lists of "ftealth fcannof" (old-style
long "s" confused
with "f") and French and "other" (mostly a few German) stealth scannos. (These
lists are all
contained in external text files, easily modified or expanded.)
d) Other assorted errors in punctuation.

3. Modifying the text:

a) Joins short lines of text (outside of poetry and other markups, and provided
the result is
shorter than a specified length).
b) Deletes trailing blanks.
c) Deletes DP-style Page Separators.
d) Deletes poetry, block quote, and stet markups.


This is an easy-to-use text-rewrapping program. It uses a simplified version of

markups (see his RewrapIndent program) to handle poetry (indented), block quotes
and rewrapped), and tables (left as is). Optionally, it will simultaneously
replace HTML-style
<i>italic</i> and <b>bold</b> markups with specified characters, or convert
<b>bold</b> to
ALL UPPER CASE. It uses a GUI to adjust its settings (e.g., column width), but it
non-interactively--just a few mouse-clicks and you're done!


Next week we spotlight the tools of Steve Schulze and take a closer look at the
of today's tools; GutCheck and PRTK (Proof Reader's Tool Kit). This week is still
around us and there is much change taking place, even as I write these words. The
prominent alterations in recent days are immediately obvious to any regular
visitor to the DP
forums. In fact, it is fair to say that if you tend to the familiar and cozy, you
may still be a
little startled by the depth and width of the to this week's forum
transformations. While it may
seem to have occurred with the suddenness of an earthquake, the reorganization is
long in
planning and implemented with the best intentions for DP's future.

The most important thing to be aware of is that nothing has been lost or removed.
It may
require a little searching around, but you will find everything is still there.
Several new
forums have been created, some for better organization, some to make the forums
friendly and accessible to new members and others were added because their time
come. Among the new additions is a tier specifically set aside for new proofers
and new
forums for Project Management; Mentoring; Promotion, even a gathering place for
historical events and discussions of significance to the various DP cultures.

It may all be somewhat overwhelming at first. If so, take your time exploring and
accustomed to all the new avenues and interesting side destinations. Just keep in
there's still proofing and content development to do! Not that the new forums
will fare
much better than anything else at slowing us down. I am running out of
superlatives to
relate this continuous growth in production. If October called us to reach up and
to be the best that we could, November is making that expanded effort look like
average workaday pace.

We reached 2,500 distinctive texts posted to PG in the past week, without even
much of a
murmur in the forums. In November alone, 215 projects have been posted. By
end that number will be greater than any previous month. The same looks to be
true for all
other measurements of production as quality and output continue to expand. On
this course,
November shall be the finest month to date for Distributed Proofreaders, and it
appears certain
that at December's end there will be great things to celebrate. The year behind
us was nothing
short of wondrous from beginning to end. The year ahead is already shining with
promise and
bright indications of great prosperity for world's first free and international
library. If they only
knew what was in store for 2004, many book lovers would agree, change is a good

Until next week...

All the best!

Thierry Alberto

3) Newsletter news:

We are starting the new cookery club in the newsletter. See below an invitation to
the perfect fall dinner by lovely club hostess Tonya Allen:

Project Gutenberg's Cookery Club

A few weeks ago we ran an article about PG's cookery book collection. Since then,
still more cookbooks have been added, including the five-volume Library of
Cookery; English Housewifery Exemplified In above Four Hundred and Fifty Receipts
Giving Directions for most Parts of Cookery; Directions for Cookery, in its
Various Branches; 365 Foreign Dishes (well, foreign from the point of view of the
apparently American author); and the most recent addition, the mammoth compendium
The Book of Household Management, by Isabella Beeton.

It occurred to some of us that this rich and growing collection could serve as the
basis of an interactive weekly column. Each week we will present a menu, with
recipes (or links to them). Our intrepid editorial staff will prepare one or more
of these dishes, and will report successes, challenges, improvements, and even
utter flops in the following issue of the newsletter. Now here's the interactive
part: you, our readers, are invited to join the feast. Pick a recipe or two, give
it a try at home, and send us your comments and ratings! All comments will be
carefully collected and will be available online:

INVITATION [loosely based on Mrs. Beeton's suggestions for civilized conduct in

this sphere]

The editorial staff present their compliments to their gentle readers,

and request the honour of their company
at dinner on Wednesday (or Thursday), the 26th (or 27th) of November next,
depending on the publishing schedule.

No R.S.V.P. necessary. Come as you are.

An endless candlelit dining table with flexible seating awaits you in our corner
of cyberspace.

Our first full menu will appear next week. Meantime, we'll whet your appetites
with this starter from The Belgian Cookbook :


There was a man in Ghent who loved mushrooms, but he could only eat them
done in this fashion. If you said, "Monsieur, will you have them tossed
in butter?" he would roar out, "No--do you take me for a Prussian? Let me
have them properly cooked."

Melt in a pan a lump of butter the size of a tangerine orange and squeeze
on it the juice of half a lemon. The way to get a great deal of juice
from a lemon is to plunge it first of all for a few minutes, say five
minutes, in boiling water. When the butter simmers, throw in a pound of
picked small mushrooms, stir them constantly, do not let them get black.
Then in three or four minutes they are well impregnated with butter, and
the chief difficulty of the dish is over. Put the saucepan further on the
fire, let it boil for a few minutes. Take out the mushrooms, drain them,
sprinkle them with flour, moisten them with gravy, season with salt and
pepper, put them back in the butter and stir in the yolk of an egg. Add
also a little of the lemon juice that remains. While you are doing this
you must get another person to cut and toast some bread and to butter it.
Pour on to the bread the mushrooms (which are fit for the greatest saints
to eat on Fridays), and serve them very hot.

Tonya Allen


Radio Gutenberg

Two channels of broadcasting are available, but what for the subtle
change in the web address, that's org not com.

channel 1 - Sherlock Holmes "The Sign of Four"

channel 2 - Robert Sheckley's "Bad Medicine"

Both are high quality live readings from the collection.


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3) Notes and Queries, Reviews and Features

Note 1:
Early English Text Society

Following a recent posting on gutvol about the EETS I decided to take

a look and see what it was. Founded by Frederick James Furnivall, with
the help of others in 1864, EETS seems to be an early prototype for
Project Gutenberg. It's aims are to bring the mass of unprinted Early
English literature within the reach of students and also to provide
sound texts that could be a source for what is now called the Oxford
English Dictionary. It continues to publish medieval English texts

So what sorts of texts are we talking about? Current Publications

include The Old English Gospels, Sidrack and Bokkus, and The First
Translation of the Imitatio Christi. What??? Further investigation on
the Oxford University Press website reveals these to be very highly
regarded as texts that give a rare insigt into some of the popular
beliefs of medieval England. Sidrack and Bokkus for example, is a
previously unpublished book of knowledge, written in question and
answer form and enclosed in a framing adventure story taken from an
old French source. The archive looks like it could be a very valuable
addition to Project Gutenberg, and I understand there may be a
possibility that one of those marvellous Uber Projects at Distributed
Proofreaders could be a useful way to get these through (This is known
as a 'hint'!)

You can find out more about EETS at

Alice Wood


Note 2:

Math and Poetry.

The works of Lewis Carroll.

Tomorrow is the Universal children day so it seems to me as non-English person

very logical to speak about Lewis Carroll in our math and poetry series. It can be
started something like ? ? once upon a time there was a mathematician who?s name
was Lewis Carroll ?? And this is of course all wrong ? everybody knows that there
was a poet called Lewis Carroll but his name was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson and he
was actually a mathematician ? His mind games are fascinating, even as brightly
pointed out our chief-editor, a little bit too much well-known. However, here is
the paradox ? how much out of more than 15 books and plentitude of other printed
works, you can list in your memory right now? I bet, that not more than are
submitted on Project Gutenberg ?Alice in Wonderland?, ?Through the Looking-Glass?,
?Haunting of the Snark?, ?Sylvie and Bruno? ? what else do we have in GUTINDEX ? and the Phantasmagoria and
Other Poems http://www Bright and genius they are, with
amusing interweaving of math and poetry inside. The highly structured formlessness
of his poetry is always reminding me the water ? it suits every occasion but yet
it can not be squeezed much. Zen koans are somewhat similar ? the huge mind space
created by skilful nonsense. Speaking about the kids and math, my favorite math
book in the childhood was A Tangled Tale with its Mad Mathesis (translated to my
home language as Mad Mathemathilda ?), Her Radiance and other strange personages.
You can find it on the internet, so as usually if not to submit
to PG, but at least to enjoy the reading. There is quite many other
e-texts forgotten due to the overwhelming popularity of their author, which sounds
as another L.C. paradox, isn?t it? This one however is easier to solve than one of
the Achilles , I think ?
List of works:


Nursery Alice:

Complete stories:

What Tortoise said to Achilles:

'Achilles had overtaken the Tortoise, and had seated himself comfortably on its
"So you've got to the end of our race-course?" said the Tortoise. "Even though it
does consist of an infinite series of distances? I thought some wiseacre or other
had proved that the thing couldn't be done?"
"It can be done," said Achilles. "It has been done! Solvitur ambulando. You see
the distances were constatntly diminishing: and so -"
"But if they had been constantly increasing?" the Tortoise interrupted. "How
"Then I shouldn't be here," Achilles modestly replied; "and you would have got
several times round the world, by this time!"
"You flatter me - flatten, I mean," said the Tortoise; "for you are a heavy
weight, and no mistake! Well now, would you like to hear of a race-course, that
most people fancy they can get to the end of in two or three steps, while it
really consists of an infinite number of distances, each one longer than the
previous one?"
"Very much indeed!" said the Grecian warrior, as he drew from his helmet (few
warriors possessed pockets in those days) an enormous note-book and a pencil.
"Proceed! And speak slowly, please! Short-hand isn't invented yet!"
"That beautiful First Proposition of Euclid!" the Tortoise murmured dreamily. "You
admire Euclid?"
"Passionately! So far, at least, as one can admire a treatise that won't be
published for some centuries to come!" ?..?

And for the desert and entertainment let's play Doublets - the word game invented
by mathematician Charles Lutwidge Dodgson with much help of poet Lewis Carroll.
Its name got transformed to the Word Ladders, Word Chains or Stepword however it's
essence remained untouched since 1879, when Mr.Dodgson has published his new
invention in the magazine Vanity Fair : "The rules of the Puzzle are simple
enough. Two words are proposed, of the same length; and the Puzzle consists in
linking these together by interposing other words, each of which shall differ from
the next word in one letter only. That is to say, one letter may be changed in one
of the given words, then one letter in the word so obtained, and so on, till we
arrive at the other given word. The letters must not be interchanged among
themselves, but each must keep to its own place. As an example, the word 'head'
may be changed into 'tail' by interposing the words 'heal, teal, tell, tall'. I
call the given words 'a Doublet'
, the interposed words 'Links', and the entire series 'a Chain', of which I here
append an example:
It is, perhaps, needless to state that it is de rigueur that the links should be
English words, such as might be used in good society."
Here are a few more examples:
Make DOOR LOCK in 3 steps

Obtain LOAN from BANK


See on the for more interesting word

ladders' examples. You can also try on your own:

Turn RIVER to FLOOD (suggested 11 steps)

HARD to SOFT (suggested 4 steps)
CLIMB to HILLS (suggested 8 steps)
SMALL to GREAT (suggested 9 steps)


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Thanks this time go to Brett and George for the numbers and
booklists. Alice, Thierry, Tonya, Gali, Greg, Michael, Mark and Larry
Wall. Entertainment for the editor-on-duty provided mostly by MA recordings: ?Sera
una noche? and ?Naster?.

Special thanks for the readers!

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