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October 2011 Front Page

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Project Runeberg's front page section for October 2011:

E-text workshop at FSCONS, November 11

The 5th annual Free Society and Nordic Summit, FSCONS 2011, is held on November 11-13 in Gothenburg. As part of this conference, a workshop on book scanning, proofreading, and advanced reuse of digitized literature is held on Friday November 11. Register now for a most interesting conference.

Salmonsens konversationsleksikon

An important milestone in the digitization of Danish literature was reached on Friday October 7, 2011, with the proofreading and indexing of the last pages of the classic encyclopedia Salmonsens konversationsleksikon (2nd edition, 26 volumes, 1915-1930).

The digitization comprises 27,152 book pages and was started in January 2004. The volumes were scanned and OCRed by Lars Aronsson (volumes 1-8 and 26, in 2004-2005) and Joakim Ragnvaldsson (volumes 9-25, in 2008). Dozens of volunteers helped to proofread and index the pages in 43,107 edits, of which 7,553 (17.5%) were anonymous and 34,696 (80.5%) contributed by the four most active volunteers: Pultz (24,520 edits), PH (5289), Steen (2496), and Finn (2391). The index lists 159,123 articles, each linked to the right page. For example, the article on Danish town Kolding starts on page 300, volume XIV. As can be seen from the "history" link there, this particular page was scanned on April 14, 2008, and proofread on December 25, 2010, correcting several OCR errors, as seen from the difference between versions.

Selma Lagerlöf, painted by Carl Larsson, 1908

Welcome back, Selma Lagerlöf!

One of Sweden's most loved writers and Nobel Prize laureate in 1909, Selma Lagerlöf (1858-1940, see Wikipedia), entered the public domain in 1991, when fifty full years had passed after her death. Project Runeberg was founded in December 1992 and digitized several of her novels in the early years, 1993-1995.

But the Swedish copyright law was altered on January 1, 1996, extending the protection term from life + 50 to life + 70 years, and works by Selma Lagerlöf went back under copyright. We missed her so! After this date, we didn't digitize any more of her works, and stopped working on the ones we had. But we didn't remove them from our website, thinking that we could take them down if and when the copyright owners requested this, which they never did. In the meanwhile, we introduced scanning of facsimile images in 1998 and online proofreading in 2002. Neither of these improvements involved the works by Selma Lagerlöf.

So finally, in January 2011, seventy full years had passed after her death, and for the second time Selma Lagerlöf entered the public domain. But this was a different landscape. Everybody is digitizing books these days. Is it really our task to reintroduce Selma to the Internet? It turns out that only a very few of her works are available at Litteraturbanken and Wikisource. The literary society Selma Lagerlöf-sällskapet provided some information about plans for a huge digitization effort, but it was unclear if this project would get any funding. It has now been confirmed that this project is funded and running, but their aim is different from ours. They intend to produce new scholarly editions of Selma Lagerlöf's works, which will take many years. To serve those who just want to read her novels, this leaves the stage open for us.

Her collected works, Skrifter av Selma Lagerlöf, were published in twelve volumes already in the 1930s and in many later printings. During September and October, Project Runeberg has digitized all but two of them. For some of the novels, facsimile images have been added to the existing e-texts from the mid 1990s (marked F for facsimile). Others are presented with facsimile images and raw OCR text for proofreading, for the first time online (marked N for new).

A few of her works are missing from this set, most notably Nils Holgerssons underbara resa, of which we still only have our old e-text. However, this title is also available both from Litteraturbanken and Wikisource.


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