T h e B a l d w i n P r o j e c t
How to Put a Book Online
Select a text.
At this site we publish classics for children. You may either work with a children's classic of your own choosing, or you may select a book from one of the following lists:
Once you have selected a text and made sure that it can be published electronically, inform us of your plans by sending e-mail to Lisa@MainLesson.com, listing the author and the title of the work, as well as the publisher, and date and location of publication.
Acquire a hardcopy edition of the book you will use as the basis for your e-text.
Here are some sources I've used successfully for acquiring books. If you have a text that you would like to work on, but are unable to locate a printed copy, send mail to Lisa@MainLesson.com and I will see if I can locate one for you.
Convert the text into machine-readable format.
You can get your text into electronic format in three ways. You can scan the text, type it in, or locate an e-text that you can get permission to use.
The last way is easiest, of course. Before you begin, I suggest that you consult The On-Line Books Page and Project Gutenberg to see if there are any existing e-texts that you may use. Project Gutenberg welcomes the transformation of their texts into other formats, but that is not the case for all publishers of online books. Check with the site that publishes the e-text you are interested in using to see if you might start with their source (with HTML tags), or if you have permission to save the text from the browser display (without HTML tags). Since we have our own style of formatting, it may be easier to start with text without HTML tags.
The next easiest way to get your text into electronic format is with a scanner, since most people can scan text a lot faster than they can type it. Scanners are available for purchase as stand-alone devices, or in conjunction with a printer, for several hundred dollars. Most scanners come with OCR, or Optical Character Recognition, software. To scan text, simply position the page of the book on the scanner, then press the book as flat as possible to minimize the distortion of the page as it is processed. Scanners do better on text that is in a modern typeface, so if you have a later edition of a book, you may want to use that for scanning, even if you use an earlier text as the basis for your proofreading. Project Gutenberg offers detailed information on the use of scanners in an article by Anders Borg, Making Etexts from Paper Originals.
Lastly, if you can't locate an existing e-text and you don't have access to a scanner, you can type the text in yourself.
Proof the text and make corrections.
Regardless of how you get your text into electronic format, you should proofread it multiple times to correct for errors. You can expect different types of errors, based on your mode of converting text. For a good methodology of proofreading, see The Proof of the E-Text is in the Reading by Jim Tinsley at the site of Project Gutenberg.
The methodology I follow for scanned text is as follows:
When I start with an existing e-text, my methodology is slightly different:
Many people use a spellchecker at some point in the process. I recommend that you do too, if you are not confident of your proofreading skills.
Add HTML formatting tags.
You may want to add the HTML formatting tags after you have gotten the original text in good shape, or you may prefer to do it as you go along. In either case, refer to our Editorial Guidelines for guidance on what tags to add where.
Proof the text again using your Web Browser.
Proof the text one last time either online using your Web Browser or from a printed text printed by your Web Browser.
Send your completed text file to us.
When you have completed work on your text, save your text as a plain text file or files (with a .txt extension), then e-mail the text file(s) as .txt attachments to Lisa@MainLesson.com.
We will take care of publishing your text on the web site. This includes preparing a table of contents, adding an About This Text section, formatting Front Matter and Back Matter, if applicable, and adding entries to indexes as appropriate.
Give yourself a pat on the back.
Once your e-text is published, millions of people around the world will be able to read it! So, give yourself a pat on the back, then think about what book you'd like to tackle next!