100,000 Volunteer Proofreaders and a Whole Lot of Books

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Perhaps you, like millions of other people out there, have perused the books in the world’s oldest electronic library, Project Guttenberg. Founded in 1971, Project Guttenberg has put tens of thousands of books in the public domain on-line, on CDs, and on DVDs.

But they haven’t done it alone. In 2000, an organization called Distributed Proofreaders was founded to help Project Guttenberg with their work. Made up entirely of volunteers, Distributed Proofreaders catches the mistakes that computers often miss. And this month, they earned a place in the record books when their volunteer numbers reached 100,000. That’s right: 100,000 people around the world have now volunteered reading over 25,000 books all for the public good.

Who are these volunteers? And why do they do it?

Juliet Sutherland, the Former General Manger and Board Chair of Distributed Proofreaders, explains it all.