How we work May 23, 2004 19:26:57 GMT
Post by Thomas Wolmer on May 23, 2004 19:26:57 GMT
Somehow, I got inspired to write an "easy reading" introduction to how Project Aon works with a "normal" book. I will probably flesh it out more in the future, but for the time being, enjoy it as it is:
- Someone who is willing to bent his/her book out of shape scans all the pages of the book. Then someone, which is usually the same person, feeds the scans to an OCR program to get something which more or less resembles the original text, as a computer text file. For working with this stage, one gets credited with Transcription (OCR).
This activity is finished for all books.
- Someone with access to the original book (and not the abridged US version, in case of the Lone Wolf Grandmaster books) takes the raw OCR output and splits it into one text file per section of the book. He also corrects all transcription errors he finds, so that the text file as far as possible matches the original text. The text file is formatted according to a set of rules, to make it usable as input to the next stage. For working with this stage, one gets credited with Proofreading.
This activity is finished for all books.
- The text files from the previous step are fed to a script that assembles them into one big "preliminary" XML file, with markup based on the formatting of the text file, and some general rules. The file does not yet adher completely to our XML DTD.
This step is very simple, and has always been carried out by our esteemed Jonathan Blake. It is finished for all books.
- A somewhat technically minded person goes through the preliminary XML file by hand, and with more or less help from scripts and advanced text editor functions makes the file follow our DTD. For working with this stage, one gets credited with XML.
- Now comes the eagerly awaited moment when the the XML file is fed to the script/program machinery that generates the first HTML (or, if we want to be really strict, XHTML) preview of the book.
- A swarm of pedantic and generally obnoxius persons now starts to scrutinize the book, and reports all faults and problems they find, be it transcription faults that escaped the Proofreader, markup blunders by the XML worker, language flaws in the original text, bad/inconsequent choices/links between the sections, or general storyline problems. Someone with an original book confirms if it is an original text problem or our own inventions. For all problems originating from the original text (and that are more complicated than a misspelling or bad punctuation), we try to discuss forth a solution on the volunteers' mailing list. Consequent spelling and formatting is upheld with the help of a document known as the Manual of Style. The final word on all issues is given to Jonathan Blake. All mere mortals taking (significant) part in this stage are credited with Editing.
Trouble reporting and status tracking is assisted by the Editor's Companion. An awful lot of manual coordination is also required, which is why there is a Coordination credit given too.
- After going through a few iterations where the XML file is updated with a bunch of corrections and footnotes, and new preview versions are generated, the book enters the Comment Period. During this (approximate) week, also those project volunteers who could not be bothered to take part in the Editing battle are encouraged to playtest the book to find the issues that the now tired eyes of the Editors did not spot.
- The Comment Period comes to an end, the final (yeah, right) faults are fixed, and the book is published. Jonathan Blake sends the email to the Announcements list and everyone is happy.
- Of course, when the beast finally has been released from it's lair, readers do spot a few imperfections here and there, and sometimes when working on a later book we decide differently upon some issue that was encountered in this book, and we are need to go back and rework. Back to the Editing battle again, and sooner or later a republication.