Preparing an Etext

Selecting a Book

First, choose the genre (nursery rhymes, fairy tales, fables, mythology, legends, hero stories, epics, history, biography, Bible stories, nature stories, poetry, literary fairy tales, fiction, storytelling, readers) of the book you would like to work on. Also tell me if you prefer to do a book for a particular age child. Once you send me ( your preferences as to genre and age, I will send you a list of books for you to choose from. Or you can select a book from the list of books awaiting volunteers. After you send us the name of the book that you would like to work on, we will send you a link to the pagescans of the book you chose. Depending on the book that you are working on, you will be interfacing either with me, Lisa, or my son, Nate. Typically we will assign you a section consisting of 60 or so pages. When you get close to completing the section, let us know if you would like to continue. If so, we will send you a link to another section. Please plan on completing each section within two months from the time it is assigned.

Ways to Enter Text

You prepare the text either by scanning it in with a scanner or by typing it in. If you scan it, you also have to edit the text since some things don't scan properly. So scanning may not be that much quicker than typing unless you have a book that scans particularly well!

If you will be typing the text, just enter it in any editor. Since I work on Windows, I typically use Wordpad. You can save it in either .txt, .doc, or .rtf format. Email me your complete section in a single file when it is done. You can send it as an attachment in .txt, .doc, or .rtf format, or you can include the text in the body of the message. For the subject of the email, please put the name of the book, followed by the page numbers of your section. For example if you were doing pages 60 to 119 of "Famous Men of the Middle Ages," please put "Famous Men of the Middle Ages: Pages 60-119" as the subject of your email.

Transcribing Instructions

Here are some instructions that I put together to explain how texts should be transcribed. These instructions are a "work in progress" so please let us know if there is anything that could be clearer or that you don't understand!

If you are interested in reading more about the transcribing and proofreading process we recommend that you read this page on Transcribing and Proofreading from A Celebration of Women Writers:


We will scan images ourselves from the original copy of the book, so you don't have to worry about that. We will also prepare the table of contents. If there is a Foreword or Preface in the book you are working on that, please do include that text.

Posting of Finished Chapters

We try to prepare the chapters you send us for publication on the web site as soon as possible after we receive them, so you can see the results of your hard work! If we won't be able to get to it quickly, we will try to let you know that so you won't be left wondering. We add formatting to each chapter after you send it to us, then we post it on the web site. After the text for all the chapters in the book is complete, we print a copy of the complete text that we proofread against the text in the original book. We make any corrections to the text and formatting that are necessary, then run a spellchecker against the text and make additional corrections if needed. Finally, we add the images, as well as the "About This Text", "Front Matter", and "Back Matter" sections. We also add all the stories from this book into the story data base, so you can see them in the Story Index. When the book is complete, we send a message to The Online Books Page ( ) announcing its availability. At some point (sometimes months later) they post it on their New Listings page ( ). There are several ways to view the book you are working on while it is in progress. If you go to the "In the Works" page, you will find it listed under the appropriate genre. Also, it is included in both the "Books by Author" page and the "Books by Title" page with an "(in progress)" notation after the title.

Your Responsibilities

Please let us know if you are willing to have us include your name on the About This Text page as the volunteer who prepared the text for this book. If you do not tell us otherwise, we will assume that is OK for us to include your name.

If after two months, you find that you haven't had time to complete your section, please let us know so we can pass it on to someone else.