Dear Lissi and everyone else,
I read all the messages generated by Lissi’s comments before writing this
Before stating my thoughts about why we have so few scanners, I want to make
Would it be possible for “outsourcers” to scan books for volunteers to
We have heard about Bookshare having volunteer interns work at the
headquarters; can they scan books for volunteers to proofread?
Mike and I have been proofreading and/or (in my case) submitting books)
since 2007. And we have seen many changes.
I believe that there is one main reason why we now have so few scanners. It
is very hard to see hours of hard work replaced by PQ books. Mike and I have
experienced this replacement several times and in large quantities.
Mike, Evan and I worked very hard to get a series (The Preacher’s
Commentaries) into the collection. Mike and I purchased the 35 books for
the collection; Evan scanned most of them; I scanned a few; and Mike and I
proofread them all—every word. On the day Mike checked in the last book we
discovered that Thomas Nelson had submitted hundreds of books including all
35 of our books. Our books, for some reason, were not removed but
duplicated. Even though our submissions are still in the collection it was
hard to see the duplications.
Then we began to work with another scanner to add books by Warren Weirsby to
the collection. We had purchased and added to the collection about ten of
his books and then one day all his books were added to the collection,
something our scanner called a “bitter sweet” discovery. Again, our work
was duplicated. This morning while looking through books I had scanned and
submitted I found another duplication, and that was a book I had to scan
twice to get it right.
When PQ books began to be added to the collection, at least two people who
scanned large numbers of books quit because as one said, “I felt the rug was
pulled out from under me.”
Why spend hours of time to have your work replaced or duplicated? And
submitting older books is no guarantee that your work will remain in the
collection. The Preachers’ commentary series were copyrighted in the 1980s
and until we added the last book to the collection, Thomas Nelson was not
submitting PQ books.
Several people have said that it is worth their time to scan or proofread
books even if they are replaced, because for a short time the books they
submit have been available. That is a valid view, but I find it hard to see
my work gone or duplicated.
That being said, I am so grateful for PQ books and for Bookshare’s huge
collection. Time after time I hear of a new book, one published in the last
few weeks, and there it is on Bookshare for me to download and read!
I’m glad to learn that some electronic books have page numbers added, and
I’m also thankful for the formatting of volunteer submissions.
Also I love to proofread and have no issue with the formatting requirements.
I do not enjoy scanning, and personally think scanners should earn more
credits than proofreaders. I have scanned 27 books for the collection but
just get no enjoyment from the process other than being able to read books
that interest me.
Like Lissi, I lament the disappearance of a “community” on the Bookshare
email lists. When Mike and I joined Bookshare, we learned information about
individuals, shared some happenings in our lives, and were part of a caring
group. Because restrictions were placed on what could be included on the
lists, community has faded. There were reasons for these restrictions, but
they did impact individuals getting to know one another. Possibly, this
lessening of community has reduced the number of volunteers. Who can tell?
Also, like Lissi, I worry about the small number of books on the checkout
list. I am thankful to have worked with some great submitters: Evan, Larry,
Sandy, Misha, Mike M., and Marilyn and to have proofread word for word so
many interesting, informative or enjoyable books. I believe my efforts and
Mike’s efforts have made a difference. Volunteering for Bookshare has
certainly enriched our lives. We will volunteer as long as books are
available, but can see the day when the lessening availability of books to
proofread will make our volunteer hours fewer and fewer.
Thanks for allowing me to share my views.
[mailto:bksvol-discuss-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Estelnalissi
Sent: Friday, October 30, 2015 3:08 PM
Subject: [bksvol-discuss] Going Going Gone?
Dear Booksharian Friends,
Is anyone as worried as I am about the state of the check out page? Only 2
of the books there are available to anyone and the other 9 have holds.
The scanners we have are working hard and many of them have dedicated their
time for years scanning for people they don’t know with their only
motivation being to enrich the Bookshare library. I’m not asking that the
regulars take on the responsibility for this disaster. I’m asking if anyone
knows anyone they can inspire to Take up this important volunteer work.
I try and help by searching out books that aren’t in the collection, buying
them as cheaply as possible and mailing them to people I know will scan
them. I also buy the books that have holds for me and make the scanner’s
life easier by mailing them the books to scan and by being satisfied with
the work they do and not demanding that they be perfect or follow my
personal rules beyond Bookshare’s requirement. If a scanned book is perfect,
and they never are, then what would be the value of proofreaders? It takes
careful scrutiny to find and correct errors in well scanned books.
If we proofreaders can’t help by recruiting scanners or providing them with
books we can help by not racing to grab every available book and checking it
in lightning speed but by taking time during this crisis working on no more
than a couple of books at a time leaving other books available for other
careful proofreaders who are showing like consideration.
This isn’t any one person’s fault. The scarcity of scanners seems to be at
the core of the problem, that and the fact we have to work harder now to
find books that aren’t already in our fabulous Bookshare.
A somewhat exhausted scanner friend of mine said something pretty funny but
Remember the TV show Beretta. He said:
If you don’t want to do the time,
Don’t do the crime.
The Bookshare version is:
If you don’t take the time to look,
Please don’t check out the book.
I suggest that we proofreaders be generous and actually read the books we’re
promising to tidy up by the act of checking them out.
How many people are still around who remember that we used to broadcast far
and wide, that we were deranged perfectionists? The list is so quiet now.
Nobody blows their own horn but enthusiasm and sharing accomplishments isn’t
bragging. I think it’s inspiring! Volunteers that are new here might not
have heard how we shared our journey toward improving our skills. I’ve been
doing this nonstop except for computer trouble and illness for about ten
years and I’m still reading every word of the books I proofread. When I
suspect my mind’s wandered I go back and read some pages just to be sure I
didn’t drowse and miss something. I know there are plenty of proofreaders
here who do the same, but how can they with no books to check out?
I’d also be interested to know if anyone who is new is learning to proofread
to earn credits for their membership. If so, how can they with no books to
check out? If anyone is rushing through books to get credits in time to
renew their membership I have plenty of credits I’d be glad to share so you
can relax and take your time getting to know how to proofread carefully. And
remember this list is a source of understanding and help. There are scanners
and proofreaders just waiting for a chance to answer questions from
newcomers who will gain skill and help newercomers in turn.
Oh, and we enjoyed welcoming new volunteers and celebrating their
accomplishments, so chime in and tell us you’ve arrived.
I didn’t mean to preach or wave my arms and stomp around on my soap box. I
was just shocked to see the check out down to 2 books. It’s like seeing a
loved one bleed to death.
Hoping to hear some ideas, thoughts, interest, concern etc from anyone.
It is what it is,
But it will become what you make it.
Always with love,