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Old 01-21-2008, 11:38 PM   #1
RWood
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How to Find Out if a Book has Already Been Posted at MobileRead

Several people have posted a book that has already been posted at MobileRead. (I too am guilty of this for example when I posted a copy of Voltaire's Candide.)

It is simple (which is great for me):
  1. Click on the E-Books menu item in the white on blue menu bar near the top of the screen
  2. On the next screen just under "E-Books Uploads" click on "Author / E-Book" This changes the index from chronological (most recent first) to alphabetical by author and title.
  3. Now use the band of letters (and number sign) above to jump to the group where the author you seek is located (i.e.: "V" for Voltaire)
  4. Next use the page forward buttons to find the author and titles you seek (in this case currently Voltaire starts on page 3 and the duplicate entries for Candide are on page 4.)
There are two (2) main exceptions to this method. First, many people like HarryT have published omnibuses or collections of books as a single volume. Sherlock Holmes is available complete in one volume while Tom Swift or the works of Haggard are available in several anthology volumes. The other exception to all of this is the Harvard Classics series that I posted as these are filed under "H" rather than under the name of the writer of the books within the volume. While many have also been published in stand-alone ebooks, the full index to the Harvard Classics series is in the MobileRead Wiki.
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Old 01-22-2008, 02:52 AM   #2
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You can also click the eBooks menu, then use the "Search eBooks" link on the menu. That's perhaps better because it searches the message text, and hence will find books in anthologies, etc, provided their contents are listed in the description message.
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Old 01-22-2008, 04:11 AM   #3
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The books folks provide at MobileRead are great, but it would be helpful to see some information on the provenance of the text used; e.g.:
a) Gutenberg - formatted but not proofed
b) Gutenberg - formatted and proofed
c) Gutenberg/Distributed Proofreaders - formatted but not proofed
d) Gutenberg/Distributed Proofreaders - formatted and proofed
etc.

Without wishing in any way to decry the efforts of contributors who provide many texts for the rest of us to enjoy; such provenance information would, imho, help other people decide which versions of which books to download and read.
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Old 01-22-2008, 06:14 AM   #4
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Do you mean "proofed by the book creator"? What I do personally is that, while I'm reading the book, I mark any pages with errors, then go back and fix them and re-post the book. What do you do?
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Old 01-22-2008, 06:18 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sparrow View Post
The books folks provide at MobileRead are great, but it would be helpful to see some information on the provenance of the text used; e.g.:
I have missed that also. I have also missed statement about the license used in the case of works with a license and a statement if the work is in public domain if that is the case. For me it is very unclear if a book here is in the public domain or not when it is based on a public domain book.
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Old 01-22-2008, 06:55 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
Do you mean "proofed by the book creator"? What I do personally is that, while I'm reading the book, I mark any pages with errors, then go back and fix them and re-post the book. What do you do?

Yep, some indication of the work the contributor has done on the source text. I've only posted a couple of books so far; but I've tried to proof both of them.
I started off reading the etext and comparing each paragraph to a pbook (or a different PD etext - a comparison utility makes it easier than using a pbook, but you need to be sure it's a truly different source). But it was a very slow process (my hat goes off to contributors who've done hundreds!! of books ); I ended up just reading the etext, and only checking if I thought I spotted a problem.
One of the etexts I worked on didn't have many spelling issues, but a lot of punctuation was missing - making it a cumbersome read - it took several days to go through it, checking against a pbook version.

I think some errors are always likely to creep through, but a note of the work done is reassuring if you spot an issue in the first few pages - you'll know if further problems with the source text are likely to have been spotted or not.
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Old 01-22-2008, 09:09 AM   #7
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I haven't yet read most of the books that I've posted. As I say, as I do read them, I make whatever changes are required and re-post. You are right in saying that you can normally tell within the few half-dozen pages how good or bad the proofing of the book has been. Some of the early "classics" posted to PG (in the pre-scanner days, when people used to type the books in) are in a pretty shocking state.
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Old 01-22-2008, 10:16 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
Some of the early "classics" posted to PG (in the pre-scanner days, when people used to type the books in) are in a pretty shocking state.
Can you think of any examples off hand?

I wonder if there would be any interest in a few MRers getting together to correct such a classic. If someone wanted to format the book for the collection, I wouldn't mind proofing a few chapters of it (doing the whole book would be a bit much - but I'd prefer to proof it than format it, my formatting ain't very good ).

Maybe several volunteers could do a few chapters each over a week, then the text could be recompiled and formatted for the collection. A bit like DP, although not as thorough procedurally - it would have the advantage of being a book people are quite likely to want to read.
(I do some proofing on DP - but a lot of their output is rather obscure, and you wonder if anyone will actually read it.)
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Old 01-22-2008, 10:28 AM   #9
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One example is Dickens' "Oliver Twist". The updated version I posted here has literally hundreds of errors corrected.
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Old 01-22-2008, 03:51 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sparrow View Post
The books folks provide at MobileRead are great, but it would be helpful to see some information on the provenance of the text used; e.g.:
.
That is an very good idea. In an ideal world we all ought to adopt it at once.

My only reservation is that if we actually made it a rule then new book posters might feel discouraged if there were lots of procedures to follow. As it is, we are asking people to post in a certain place, with instructions on thread titles and requests to include some indication of the contents (though without plot spoilers because some people have been annoyed by these).
I personally would be very hesitant about requiring anything more. But that's not to say that it would be an improvement, and a bonus if included.

My current uploading practice is to say nothing when the book is public domain but to note when it is available under creative commons or some other licence. Perhaps I should be doing more...
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Old 01-23-2008, 11:28 AM   #11
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I've just become aware of a much more serious issue associated with the "typed in" PG books and that's missing text.

I've just started doing a "paragraph by paragraph" comparison of "Oliver Twist" (which was typed in at PG) against a printed version. In the 11 chapters I've gone through so far, I've found four cases so far of lines or (in one case) a whole paragraph missing from the PG text. These are all cases where the text "repeats" at the start of the paragraph, and obviously the copyist inadvertently skipped from one instance of it to the next.

One example from chapter 5:

"What's set you a snivelling now?"
"Not you," replied Oliver, hastily brushing the tear away. "Don't think it."
"Oh, not me, eh!" sneered Noah.

"No, not you," replied Oliver, sharply...

The text I've marked in italics above is missing from PG (and from my current posted version of the book!). Obviously the person who typed it in saw the first "replied Oliver" and then their eye skipped to the second "replied Oliver" and they continued from there.

This illustrates why, for a book which is important to you, proof-reading the eText is not sufficient - you've got to check against a printed source.

I intend to proof all my Dickens books in this way against my 36-volume printed "Complete Works of Dickens". Quite a big job, but I need to do it for my own "peace of mind".

In none of the case I've so far found does this affect the "sense" of the book - the text "makes sense" without the text that's missing, so I suppose some might (perfectly legitimately) ask "why does it matter?". All I can say in response to that is "it matters to me". Perhaps I'm being obsessive, but it really does matter a great deal to me .

This problem shouldn't exist for a scanned book. There was nothing missing, for example, from "Great Expectations", which I've recently finished proofing in the same way. Be warned, though; if the PG text says "typed by ...." then treat it with great caution and (preferably) proof it against a printed version of the book!
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Old 01-24-2008, 06:19 AM   #12
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Dear me, I've just found a huge chunk of text missing from Oliver Twist - about half a page in the printed book! I've very glad that I decided to do this proof-reading exercise!
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