Proofing EEBO materials (unbatched files)

  1. CHOOSE an available file from the inbox (F:\markup\eebo\work\todo\[latest month's folder]).

  2. MOVE it (i.e., do not simply copy it) into your working folder in F:\markup\eebo\work\ (monall, pfs, krenee, etc.) using Windows Explorer. Especially if you are working on a file from the backlog (i.e. from a previous month), you may want to place the working file in a directory named after the folder in which you found the file. (Because you'll need to go back to that original folder to fill in the spreadsheet at the end.)

  3. BACKUP the working copy. It is a good idea at this point to make a second copy in a backup directory, in case you lose or scramble the working copy.
    If you make radical changes to a file, it doesn't hurt to make several backup copies along the way (e.g. "*.bak1, *.bak2 etc.) so as to allow you to go back to an earlier version if you make a real hash of things.

  4. NOTE that the procedure for working with batches of small files is slightly different. See separate documentation for that process.

  5. OPEN the *.sgm file in TextPad (double-clicking in Explorer should work).

  6. SAMPLE the open *.sgm file (choose "sample" from the 'tools' menu in TextPad. This runs a script that does several things:
    Alternatively: type "sample [filename]" at the command prompt.

  7. OPEN THE HTML file in a browser and print it.

  8. OPEN THE NOTES FILE in TextPad (double-clicking on the file should be enough).
    At this point, many people print the notes file, attach it as a coversheet to the sample, and use it to write notes on. Others prefer to enter all their comments electronically and do not print out the notes file and attach it till the end of the review process.

  9. OPEN THE PDF in Adobe Acrobat (again, double-clicking the file should work).

  10. PROOF THE SAMPLE FILE against the pdf, being careful to distinguish:

    1. mistranscriptions that should have been avoided (using the online documents that supply the principles and examples of "inexcusable" errors)

    2. mistranscriptions that were caused by some defect in the original (on the same principles).

    3. completely legible letters or words which are illegitimately flagged as illegible. Adopt a generous and forgiving spirit in compiling this count.

    4. letters (or words) that are more or less completely missing in the original, but which the vendor supplied anyway.
    5. spacing errors, e.g. "spa cingerr or"

    NOTE: Of these five categories, only errors in categories (a) and (c) should be counted against the vendor's allowable error rate.

    NOTE: when a book is very bad, you may be able to stop proofing early. E.g. if the stripped sample size is 20,000 bytes, the vendor is allowed only one error. If the number of clearly inexcusable errors counted exceeds this (especially if it exceeds it by more than one), you may stop proofing, since the file has already failed. If this happens you should add a note to the notes file of this sort: "stopped proofing after 5 pages because of excessive errors." Some judgment is called for in doing this; we prefer not to reject books without good evidence, and rarely reject on the basis of (say) a couple of missing full stops, or an s/S case error.

    NOTE: We usually "give" the book a free error. That is, for small books, we do not reject it for just one error, regardless of size; and even for larger books, we discount one error in deciding whether to reject, accept, or pardon.

    NOTE: very small books (books of 5-10 pages), and many slightly larger books (10-25 pages) we will usually pardon regardless of how many errors they have, since we will have effectively proofed the entire book anyway.

  11. RECORD YOUR FINDINGS. When proofing of sample is complete, enter appropriate number in each category in the notes/coversheet file.

  12. REACH A VERDICT on the book. Decide on the basis of the inexcusable-error count (as well as more tenuous grounds of general quality, if appropriate) whether to ACCEPT, REJECT, or PARDON the book. If you ACCEPT or PARDON the book, move on to the review stage; if you REJECT it, go directly to the record-keeping ('end') stage.

  13. COMPLETE THE NOTES/COMMENTS file This procedure differs depending on whether you have accepted (or pardoned) the book, or rejected it. If you are keeping the book, record in the notes file every inexcusable error found (including context and location), and a sampling of excusable errors as well. If you are rejecting the book, include in the notes file only a characterization of the errors found (e.g. "Found 1 pair of transposed letters; one omitted letter; one confusion of "x" and "r") -- and then record the full details of these errors in a separate file "S12345.ERRORS.txt", and save it along with the rejected file in the \rejects\ folder.