Category Archives: Project Updates

News about the project, like things relating to the internship program, current projects, etc.

Introducing our BYU student research fund

Starting this Fall, MTP will fund one or more BYU student researchers who will help us increase our output of books. MTP is staffed by volunteers, our work to date has been done entirely by volunteers, and we expect that the majority of our work will always be done by volunteers. However, we recognize that many people who would like to support our work (including some of us, frankly) have more discretionary money than discretionary time,  and we’ve heard of interest in making donations, hence this program.

The best BYU students are as capable as anyone of quickly producing high-quality e-books. They are also typically in need of financial assistance and relevant career experience. Through this fund, we will simultaneously help students avoid debt, give them resume-friendly proofreading experience (“I proofread and produced five e-books start to finish”), and increase our output of books in a cost-effective way. At standard research assistant wages and average productivity, this program will make an extra book available on Project Gutenberg for every $425 we receive in donations. In light of all this, we believe that funding student researchers at BYU to work on ebook production offers excellent value for everyone involved. Furthermore, by channeling donations through BYU, donors can take advantage of BYU’s tax-exempt status and of many employer matching gift programs.

In the interest of putting our money where our mouths are, the staff and volunteers of MTP will be donating on an ongoing basis and putting up several thousand dollars to kick-start this program. For more information, see our Donate tab.

News: Gearing up for an exciting summer

Intern recruiting for summer 2014 is now complete; we have a group of eight interns for this summer, and I’m excited to see what they’ll accomplish. They’re signed up for different numbers of hours depending on their credit needs, but on average each will be putting in something like 100 hours of work spread across the summer, so they could easily do a couple of books each.

Our volunteer base is also expanding, in significant part thanks to friendly press like the piece Meridian ran this week on LDS Great Works and MTP. We recently experimented with using Google Docs to do multi-user proofreading, and it didn’t work especially well. People get psychological fulfillment from having and completing specific responsibilities, especially complete books, and in the attribution-free multi-user environment the opposite was true. So, from here on out volunteers are being assigned specific projects and often complete books. This means that our project slate is expanding and that progress is likely to come in fits and starts. (Having all our interns start at the same time may also contribute to this.) That said, it looks like between interns and volunteers we could hit 50 LDS books on PG by the end of August. At the start of the year we were at 21 and now we’re at 31, so 50 is an exciting prospect.

Meridian has proposed that I write up a post with an excerpt from one of our books every couple of weeks, so keep an eye out for that. I’ll post links as they become available.

Finally, there will be a Conference weekend book release this Friday. Stay tuned.

News: new interns, guest post on By Common Consent

First off, if anyone hasn’t seen it, By Common Consent very kindly ran a guest post I wrote the other day. If I may say so, I quite liked the post – it talks about the vision behind MTP in more detail than I have anywhere else. The attention was very helpful; in addition to a nice spike in traffic here, a number of BCC readers have volunteered to help out with proofing–we’re excited to have them. My thanks to BCC.

At this point we have five interns signed up for this summer: Mariah Averett, Max Cook, Jared Ure, Katie Duckworth, and Heidi Billy. Jared is already getting a head start on working on History of the Church, vol. 1, and everyone else will start at the end of April. We’re excited for all the progress they’re going to help us make – they’re going to do an average of something like 100 hours of work each, which with luck ought to mean a couple of books each. Check out their bios in our people section. We’re also still recruiting.

Not much else to report. Expect a release this Saturday!

News: .zip of all ebooks, internships, new Supervising Editor, etc.

So, it’s been an eventful week or two for MTP. We’ve welcomed Nichole Eck aboard as Supervising Editor. Her bio:

Nichole Eck, Supervising Editor of the MTP, graduated with degrees in English and Linguistics and a minor in Editing from Brigham Young University. She has worked as a grammar and writing tutor at BYU, a proofreader on the 2013 edition of the LDS scriptures, and a writer and editor for the New Era and Liahona magazines. She writes speculative short fiction and occasionally blogs when not hanging out at home with her husband and 3-month-old daughter.

She brings a skill set and perspective that will be very helpful to the BYU editing interns we’re recruiting for this next summer. In related news, the BYU Editing Minor has officially approved our internship for class credit, and we’re advertising it at the BYU Publisher’s Fair in the Wilkinson Center today (Wednesday). We’re getting some interest in the history internship as well and have recruited our first intern, Mariah Averett.

We now have .zip files in the Available Texts section that contain all of the books in said section. This should make it a bit easier to get the whole collection without PG worrying about whether or not you’re a robot for how much you’re downloading.

In other news, we’re adopting a posting schedule. Release announcements will be posted on weekends. (There will not be a new release every weekend in the long run, but for a month or so here it may be close.) On weekends without new releases, we’ll typically post some commentary, quotes, etc. from a prior release. There should pretty reliably be weekend posts.

It’s not currently the weekend, which brings us to the other half of the posting schedule — when I have updates about the state of the MTP, announcements, or other meta-level material, I’ll typically post it on Wednesdays. There will only be Wednesday posts when I feel like there’s something worth posting about. On a related note, there are now blog categories for Project updates (typically Wednesday stuff), Book Commentary (typically weekend stuff), and Release Announcements (typically weekend stuff).

Good news: first-round proofing of History of the Prophet Joseph by His Mother is now complete. Second-round won’t happen until Mormon Doctrine of Deity is done, so it might be a while yet, but progress is occurring.

Also, if you’ve read this far, I have a confession. Project Gutenberg posted “General Smith’s Views on the Powers and Policy of the Government of the United States,” a new work we’ve done, a while ago. They’ve also just posted William Clayton’s JournalMy First Mission by George Q. Cannon, and Essentials in Church History by Joseph Fielding Smith, which were previously available on the old MTP site but never got posted to PG before. All of these are now linked in the Available Texts section, and each will get its own full release announcement-style post on a coming Saturday, in an effort to spread the publicity out a bit. Going forward, I expect to continue this pattern; I will only formally announce multiple releases per week if we’re many weeks ahead, but I will try to keep Available Texts up-to-date even if the announcements are dragging a bit.

Upcoming releases – Orson Pratt, Joseph Smith, and more

I’ve just submitted two more pamphlets to Project Gutenberg – Orson Pratt’s “Absurdities of Immaterialism” and “General Smith’s Views of the Powers and Policy of the Government of the United States” by Joseph Smith. With luck, the releases will go through smoothly and within a week or two, so keep an eye out for the release announcements. 

B. H. Roberts’ Mormon Doctrine of Deity (~300 pages) is about 20% done final proofreading; with luck it’ll be available within a month. History of the Prophet Joseph by His Mother (also ~300 pages) is 40% done first-pass proofing and will be the next major work we focus on after Mormon Doctrine of Deity. With luck it’ll be finished within a couple of months. We’ve also got clearance from Project Gutenberg to do the “Lectures on Faith,” so that’s third on the to-do list. We also expect to release some previously non-Project Gutenberg MTP books on Project Gutenberg in the near future.

Finally, the BYU history program is officially offering academic credit for our summer internship program, and they’ve started publicizing it. We’re optimistic that interns will help us release several major works on an aggressive schedule towards the end of the summer.