DHARMANET BOOK TRANSCRIPTIONS: A Guide For Librarians, Transcribers, and Proofreaders by J

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DHARMANET BOOK TRANSCRIPTIONS: A Guide For Librarians, Transcribers, and Proofreaders by John Bullitt v1.4 (March 13, 1995) +-------------------------------------------------------------------+ | Which parts of this Guide should you read? | | ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ | | | | If you are a... Read... | | ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~ | | DharmaNet Librarian All of it | | | | Volunteer Transcriber Section 1 (INTRODUCTION) | | Section 5 (Tips for Transcribers) | | | | Volunteer Proofreader Section 1 (INTRODUCTION) | | Section 4 (Matters of Style) | | Section 6 (Tips for Proofreaders) | | | | Volunteer Formatter Section 1 (INTRODUCTION) | | Section 4 (Matters of Style) | +-------------------------------------------------------------------+ * * * * CONTENTS {1} Introduction {2} Procedures {3} The Structure of a DharmaNet e-text A. The README.1ST file B. The FILE_ID.DIZ file C. Other Files {4} Matters of Style A. Faithfulness to the Original Text B. Detailed Style Considerations {5} Tips for Transcribers {6} Tips for Proofreaders * * * * -------------------------------------------------------------------- {1} INTRODUCTION -------------------------------------------------------------------- For more than 2,500 years the tradition of //dana//, or freely-offered generosity, has been both a fundamental support for the transmission of Buddhist teachings from generation to generation, and an essential part of the Buddhist way of life. The teachings are traditionally offered freely, in recognition of their priceless nature. In keeping with this tradition, DharmaNet's Dharma Book Transcription Project aims to transcribe high-quality books on Buddhism into electronic form for free distribution on computer networks. DharmaNet does not "own" these electronic text ("e-texts") in any way. Rather, it simply provides the organization and human-power necessary to support the three stages of the distribution process: 1. Securing permission from the appropriate source (usually the copyright holder -- often the author or publisher) for transcription and free distribution 2. Making faithful transcriptions of the texts 3. Freely distributing the e-texts The nature of the electronic medium is such that once an e-text is released at any point in cyberspace it will inevitably leap to other networks -- from DharmaNet to Fidonet to Internet and beyond -- as people upload and download them from one computer to another. We hope these e-texts will travel far and wide, becoming widely accessible to whoever would like to read them. In order to make the e-texts accessible to everyone, regardless of the type of computer hardware or software they use, we have tried to standardize the format of these files. This document outlines the procedures and technical standards required for faithful and consistent transcription and distribution of the e-texts. This project is meant to be much more than a matter of getting as many Dharma books on-line as quickly as possible. The entire process -- from recommending a book for transcription, to asking an author's permission, to volunteering as a transcriber or proofreader, to reading the finished e-text -- is a wonderful opportunity to practice mindfulness, generosity, patience, and many other qualities so important to Buddhist practice. It's a circle of generosity: the authors, many of whom have already given years of their lives to putting the Buddha's teachings into practice, offer their writings to us; transcribers and proofreaders give their time to make these words available to others; readers receive the books, read them, and bring the words to life in their lives and in the lives of those around them. The circle is complete. Whether you are a librarian, a transcriber, or a proofreader, if you ever find the work becoming an unpleasant joyless struggle, then perhaps you might do well to put it down for a while and examine closely: What am I doing? Why am I doing this? Every stage in the process of producing an e-text offers countless opportunities for practice. Kind of like life itself. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions about this document, please get in touch with me at the e-mail address above. May all beings share the fruits of our good deeds! * * * * -------------------------------------------------------------------- {2} PROCEDURES -------------------------------------------------------------------- The procedure for turning a book into a distributable e-text is not complicated, but it does require careful coordination. DharmaNet file librarians ("Librarians"), appointed by the DharmaNet IC, coordinate the transcription of books with the pool of available volunteers. These volunteers perform three essential tasks: transcribing, proofreading, and formatting the text. These tasks may be done by the same person although, especially for larger and more complex books, it is strongly recommended that these tasks be performed by separate individuals. Proofreading, in particular, is best done by someone other than the one who transcribed the text. Decisions about distribution of labor are left to the discretion of the Librarian. Here is a sketch of the entire procedure, from beginning to end: Anyone may recommend to a Librarian a book for distribution on DharmaNet. If the Librarian thinks the book would be an appropriate addition to DharmaNet's file library, then it is up to him or her to contact the copyright holder (usually the author or publisher) for permission to transcribe and redistribute the book. Once written permission is obtained (either on paper or via e-mail), the Librarian sends a copy of the permission document to the DharmaNet IC for safekeeping. The Librarian then matches the book with a volunteer transcriber. If the volunteer doesn't already have a copy of the book, the Librarian can usually lend a copy to the volunteer. The Librarian should make sure that the transcriber is working on the same edition of the book for which permission was originally given. The volunteer transcriber types or scans the text into his or her computer, according to the guidelines spelled out below. This includes spell-checking and a minimal amount of formatting (just enough so that a printed version of the file would be easily readable by a proofreader). The volunteer returns the book by post and the file by e-mail (if possible) to the Librarian. The Librarian now matches the book with a volunteer proofreader, to check the accuracy of the transcription. The Librarian makes a printout of the file (laser, please!) and sends it, along with the original book to the proofreader. The proofreader should compare the two, marking corrections by hand on the printed copy. The proofreader then returns the marked printout and the original book to the Librarian. The Librarian now matches the book with a volunteer who will format the file for release. The Librarian sends the marked-up printout of the text, the original book, and the transcribed file to the formatter. Using a word processor, the formatter enters the proofreader's changes into the file, spell-checks it, and formats the file for easy on-screen reading. The formatter returns the book, printout, and the edited file to the Librarian. Finally, the Librarian assembles the file for release. If the Librarian is satisfied with both the integrity of the transcription and the organization of the files, (including accurate README.1ST and other information files--see below) then it is ready for release. The Librarian sends the file archive to the DharmaNet IC, who will then "hatch" the file out to all participating DharmaNet sites. It is important that the Librarian be involved at the intermediate steps in the process (as, for example, between proofreader and formatter), in order to oversee the accuracy of transcription. In practice, the Librarian usually does the final formatting, as s/he is usually the one with the clearest sense of what a DharmaNet e-text should finally look like. At the time of this writing, there are two librarians: one for Theravada books and one for Vajrayana. As DharmaNet continues to grow, more niches for specialized librarians may well emerge (Zen, Chinese Buddhism, etc.), making the cooperation and coordination among librarians essential in order to avoid duplications and confusion. * * * * -------------------------------------------------------------------- {3} THE STRUCTURE OF A DHARMANET E-TEXT -------------------------------------------------------------------- To help insure that it will only be offered freely, each e-text is bundled together with a Distribution Agreement listing the author and publisher data and including a statement explaining that 1) the e-text may only be offered freely, in the spirit of dana, and 2) the Distribution Agreement must always accompany the e-text. All e-texts are distributed as archives compressed in PKZIP 2.04g format, using maximum compression ("-ex"). Each archive consists of at least the following files: README.1ST Distribution Agreement FILE_ID.DIZ Brief description of the text for automated file cataloging software TITLE.TXT Information from the title page and copyright page of the original book In very simple texts, especially those that have not been published previously, there may be no need for a separate TITLE.TXT file. In these cases the title information (author name and title of the text) can be incorporated in the main text file of the archive. The archive also includes one or more files containing the actual text of the book. In general only one book is contained in an archive, although occasionally smaller pamphlets and booklets on a common theme or by the same author may be compiled together for convenience. All text files in the archive are plain vanilla ASCII files with no hardware- or software-dependent formatting. This restriction may occasionally be relaxed to accommodate situations in which the text depends on graphics, diacritical marks, or other special formatting. The name of the archive should be unique but sensible, giving at least a hint (to someone browsing through a long file list) of what lies within. In general it's better to avoid naming the file after the author's name, as more files by the same author may be added later on. A. The README.1ST File ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ A sample README.1ST file accompanies this Guide. All entries should be filled in. If any information is unknown, it should be filled in as "N/A" (not available). Please note that, while the standard README.1ST *does* authorize copying and redistribution of the intact ZIP archive file, it does *not* authorize free reprinting and redistribution of the book. Some authors, however, may choose to give special permission allowing their book to be freely reprinted. Others may impose certain restrictions concerning distribution of the book. In either case, if the author chooses to spell out certain rights and restrictions not covered by the standard README.1ST "boilerplate" text, then those should be entered into the "ADDITIONAL RIGHTS AND RESTRICTIONS" field of the README.1ST file. B. The FILE_ID.DIZ File ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The FILE_ID.DIZ file contains one or more lines of text with a short description of the text -- usually the title, author, and a brief description. Each line must contain no more than 45 characters. It is permissible to shorten or abbreviate the title in order to stay within the 45 character boundary. Just a few lines is sufficient. C. Other Files ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Depending on the complexity of the original book, there may be one or many additional text files. In general these files correspond with all the "parts" of the original book. For example, a large book having many parts would have its parts divided into separate files as follows: CONTENTS.TXT Table of Contents FOREWORD.TXT Foreword PREFACE.TXT Preface ACKNOWL.TXT Acknowledgments INTRO.TXT Introduction CHAPT001.TXT Chapter 1 CHAPT002.TXT Chapter 2 ... ... CHAPT123.TXT Chapter 123 APPENDIX.TXT Appendices NOTES.TXT Endnotes GLOSSARY.TXT Glossary BIBLIO.TXT Bibliography INDEX.TXT Index Complex books may also include a batch file, MAKEBOOK.BAT, to allow PC users to assemble the various parts of the book in the proper order into a single document. Most books that DharmaNet distributes are much simpler than this example, and so do not require so many separate files. It's helpful, however, to divide the text into manageable chunks, logically organized using the above scheme as a guide. (Keep in mind that the end user may not have a large computer and so may not be able to load a large file into memory.) On the other hand, too many files can make a text difficult and annoying to read. As a rule of thumb, each individual file should contain no more than about 50 printed pages. The text of the README.1ST file should be appended to the main text file in the archive. In works with many text files, the README.1ST text should go at the end of the last file in the archive. A record of any corrections made to typographical errors appearing in the original text is kept in the file ERRATA.TXT. This would be the last file in the archive. See Section {4} below, for more about the ERRATA.TXT file. * * * * -------------------------------------------------------------------- {4} MATTERS OF STYLE -------------------------------------------------------------------- A. Faithfulness to the Original Text ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ DharmaNet aims to distribute e-texts that are both faithful transcriptions of the original texts and that are in themselves consistent in style and format. In practice it is often difficult to realize both goals simultaneously, as many of the original texts may themselves contain typographical errors or may not use punctuation consistently. Transcribers and proofreaders are thus often faced with subjective choices about how best to render a text. Keep in mind that this may be our one and only opportunity to introduce these books into cyberspace. Once in cyberspace, these e-texts will travel far and wide for many years to come, perhaps being printed and published again in books or in other media. If transcription errors are detected after a book has been released, it is impossible to go back and make corrections to all the existing copies. If these transcriptions are therefore to have any value at all, they must be faithful reproductions of the original. While we want these transcriptions to be faithful to the original, we also want them to be readable and consistent in style. For this reason we have adopted a set of style guidelines (see below). These guidelines usually demand only occasional and minor adjustments to the texts (for example, putting double slashes around words to denote //italics//.) If, however, significant editing would be required to make a text conform to DharmaNet's style standards, then the original copyright holder, author, or publisher should be consulted. DharmaNet's style guidelines do //not// allow for modifying the meaning of the texts. For example, if we come across language that to our ears sounds old-fashioned or patriarchal, we are not authorized to "modernize" the language by changing "men" to "humans." Whenever this kind of thorny conflict arises between fidelity and stylistic consistency, we should always err on the side of fidelity. Sometimes transcribers come across obvious errors in the original text (e.g., "He walked form the village," when clearly "from" was intended). In such cases it is acceptable to make corrections, provided that a record of the changes is kept in the file ERRATA.TXT, which would be included in the archive. It is allowable (that is, preferable, but not mandatory) to "Americanize" the spelling of words ("colour" becomes "color," "practise" becomes "practice," etc.). B. Detailed Style considerations ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 1. Except where noted otherwise, text files should be prepared using standard MLA or CMS (Chicago Manual of Style) format. In addition, certain modifications are necessary to make allowance for the electronic medium. 2. The maximum line width should not exceed 72 characters, so that people with a variety of terminals can read the texts without irritating line wrapping. 3. Paragraphs should be ragged right, with a column width of 72 characters. Block quotes are indented 10 characters from each margin, and are also ragged right. 4. Use the double quote character (") for quotations, and the single quote (') for sub-quotations. For further levels of sub-quotations, continue alternating double and single quotes. 5. The text should be saved in plain ASCII or "Text" or "DOS Text" format. No ASCII codes outside the range 32 to 126 should be included. 6. Since attributes such as underlining and italics are not available in ASCII, please use the following conventions: *bold* //italics// ^superscript^ ~subscript~ _underline_ em-dash (long dash) should be represented by a double hyphen surrounded by spaces. (Example: "He entered the temple -- the one in the village -- just as the moon rose.") en-dash (short dash, as between a range of numbers) should be represented by a single hyphen. (Example: "Read chapters 5-9"). 6.1 When italicized text is enclosed in parentheses, do //not// italicize the parentheses: wholesome (//kusala//) mind-states (CORRECT!) wholesome //(kusala)// mind-states (INCORRECT!) 7. Since diacritical marks are not available in ASCII, they should simply be ignored. For example, n-tilde becomes "n"; a-with-a-bar-over-it (a-macron) becomes "a"; t-dot-under becomes "t"; etc.). 8. Since page length loses its meaning in the electronic medium, reference to page numbers in the text should be augmented with references to sections and paragraphs. For example, "(see p. 15)" might become "(see p. 15 [Chapter 2, paragraph 3])". Note that page numbers are retained. 9. The style of section headings and subheadings should imitate those in the original book as closely as practicable. Sections should always be separated by blank lines. This includes section headings, paragraphs, bibliography entries, and individual footnotes. Judicious use of multiple blank lines between major sections can make the text much easier on the eyes. You may also use rows of tildes to simulate underlining in section headings. ~~~~~~~~~~~ 10. Numbered footnotes should be set in square brackets (e.g., [12]). The actual citations should be placed as endnotes at the end of each file. If the original book has endnotes rather than footnotes, the notes should all go in a separate file (e.g., "NOTES.TXT"). If the work has only a small number of footnotes, they may be treated as unnumbered footnotes (see below). 11. Unnumbered footnotes (indicated by asterisks or daggers, for example) may be handled in either of two ways: A. They may be set in square brackets using asterisks ("[*]"). The actual citation should be placed after the end of the paragraph in which the footnote appeared. B. They may be numbered consecutively throughout the book. In this case they become "numbered footnotes," and treated as described in the preceding paragraph. 12. Words with British spellings may be "Americanized." For example, "colour" becomes "color," "practise" becomes "practice," etc. Of overriding importance is //consistency// of style in a given book; this means that spellings should be either consistently British or consistently American throughout. * * * * -------------------------------------------------------------------- {5} TIPS FOR TRANSCRIBERS -------------------------------------------------------------------- Here are a few tips to make the transcription process easier on all of us: * Spell check your file before sending it to the Librarian. * Be sure to submit your finished transcription as a plain ASCII text file. Most word processors allow you to save files in this no-frills format. The files we release must be in this format so that everyone can read them, regardless of the software or hardware they use. Also, the Librarian, proofreader, or whoever will be doing the final formatting may not happen to have the same word-processing program that you used. If for some reason you're unable to do this, contact the Librarian -- s/he may have the software tools to translate your file into plain ASCII. How do you know if you saved the file as a plain ASCII file? If you're using DOS, look at the file using the TYPE command (Example: "TYPE MYFILE.TXT | MORE"). If it's readable, with no funny characters or unexpected gaps, then it's probably OK. * Do //not// submit to the Librarian a file that's in some page-layout program format -- for example, a file produced by QuarkXpress or PageMaker. The Librarian usually won't have the resources to convert these files to ASCII. * Don't spend too much time making the text look "pretty" on the page. As long as it's clearly readable when printed out, it's OK. Your main task is just to get the text into machine-readable form. Remember that when you save the file as plain ASCII, all your italics, fancy fonts, and all that, will disappear anyway, so you're better off keeping it simple from the start. * Please enjoy your transcription work. If at any point you find you're simply not enjoying doing it, and it becomes a struggle, put it down for awhile and try again next week. If it continues to be a struggle, please feel free to return the book along with whatever portion of the transcribing you've finished. * * * * -------------------------------------------------------------------- {6} TIPS FOR PROOFREADERS -------------------------------------------------------------------- * Use a red pencil or other high-contrast marker when marking up the printed copy. This makes it //much// easier on the formatter's eyes. * If you know them, please use the standard proofreader's marks. Ask the Librarian if you're not familiar with these. * * * * Sabbadanam dhammadanam jinati The gift of Dhamma excels all other gifts! 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