Wikisource:WikiProject Proofreading/Plain text proofreading

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Proofreading involves two activities: the first is ensuring that the text of the page corresponds to the original; the second is to achieve an approximation to the layout of the original in the resultant format, including italics, page headings, footnotes, tables, etc. Because the second activity can involve a detailed knowledge of wiki layout, you are allowed do the first part of the proofreading process without getting into these details.

This is an excellent way to start your proofreading in Wikisource: you concentrate on the content of the piece without having to understand all the technicalities and so get used to the process of editing before starting on layout.

(Note: the following is a summary of the text for discussion purposes, which will be expanded in the real thing, with examples.)


The aim is to correct the text so that it represents accurately the text in the image on the opposite page.

  1. Paragraphs: Leave a blank line between them
  2. Spaces at the start of a line: Remove them
  3. Quotation marks: Use ‘’ or “” as indicated in the text
  4. Extra spaces: Remove any spaces before colons and semicolons, and between quotation marks and their content. Use single spaces at the end of phrases
  5. Hyphens and dashes: Distinguish hyphens (-), en dashes (–), and em dashes (—). Use spaces around them only if they are spaced in the text
  6. Remove any page numbers and running headers or other printer's marks
  7. Any word in Small Caps should be converted to the equivalent upper and lower case.
  8. Place square brackets [ ] round any superscript or subscript characters including footnote markers.
  9. Any footnotes at the bottom of the page should start with the number (or other character) and be separated by blank lines
  10. If there is a hyphenated word at the end of a line, join it up with the rest of the word on the next line, and insert a new line so that the following word starts on the new line.
  11. If a hyphenated word occurs at the end of a page, leave it in position.
  12. Ensure that accented and foreign characters are inserted correctly using the drop-down boxes
  13. Replace fractions such as 1/4 by the appropriate symbol from the special characters (symbols) menu.
  14. For the first letter of a chapter which is ornate or a 'drop cap' use the ordinary letter.
  15. If an illustration occurs on the page, insert the text {{image}} and mark the page "problematic" instead of proofread. But proofread any caption text leaving it as a separate paragraph.
  16. Insert any sidenotes (printed notes in the margin) before the paragraph in which they occur, leaving the line breaks as they are.
  17. Proofread text in multiple columns as a single long column.
  18. Tables: Proofread each line of the table as a separate paragraph (leaving a blank line). Leave at least two spaces between each column of a row but don't leave any extra spaces for blank columns and, in particular, ignore an initial blank column. If the text in a particular column overflows into several lines, run these together on the first line.
  19. Poetry. Keep each line separate and put the text <poem> on a line by iteself before the poem and </poem> afterwards.
  20. Blank page: Mark this with the indication "No text" rather than "Proofread".
  21. Centred text: treat each logical line as a separate paragraph, with no leading spaces.
  22. Contents lists and indexes. Skip these.