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Beginner's guide

A five minute guide to proofing Sanskrit texts

Proofing, short for "proofreading," is when people like you create high-quality Sanskrit text that everyone can use and enjoy. All of our proofing projects are based on scans of physical books.

How to find a project to work on

You can see all of our active projects on our ongoing projects page. Each project has a progress bar that shows what work has been done on its pages so far:

  • gray means that the page is not relevant to the main text. Gray pages include blank pages, copyright pages, and so on.

  • red means that nobody has fully proofed the page.

  • yellow means that one person has fully proofed the page and that the page is ready for a second proofer to review it.

  • green means that two people have fully proofed the page. We recommend that you check some of our green pages to get a sense of what kinds of results we're aiming for.

If you don't see a book you want to work on, you can create a project instead. We are open to any book that is in the public domain and related to Sanskrit in some way.

How to proof a page

Once you find an interesting project, you can start proofing one of its pages. We recommend starting with a red page, since these pages need the most work.

Our page editor shows a basic side-by-side view:

Our page editor. This example doesn't display any image on the right-hand side. On a real page, the right side will display a page from some Sanskrit text.

The right side has the original page, and the left side has a text box where you can type your changes. The left side also has an OCR button that automatically transcribes the page.

Your goal is to match the text in the original scan as accurately as possible. We strongly recommend running OCR first then fixing its mistakes by hand.

When you're ready to save your changes, you can use the form at the bottom of the page editor:

By saving your changes, you agree to release your contribution under the CC0 (public domain) license.

Publish changes
The submission form

If your change is complex, feel free to write a short message about what changes you made. Otherwise, you can leave this blank.

More importantly, you can change the page's status so that other proofers know what work still needs to be done on the page.

Proofing guidelines

For much more detail, see our complete guidelines.

Our goal is to extract the original text and its basic format as accurately as possible. However, our goal is not to create a pixel-perfect copy of the original image.

Do include:

  • the exact text of the book. If the book says कार्य्यते, please write कार्य्यते and not कार्यते. Our goal is to transcribe the text, not to edit it.

  • hyphens and line breaks, if they appear in the original text. Hyphens and line breaks help proofers quickly compare a specific line against the original page, and we can easily remove them later on.

Don't include:

  • page numbers and page headers. These are not useful for a digital edition, so we can exclude them.

  • any content that is not part of the original book. This includes: handwritten notes, stamps, watermarks, dirt, stains, etc.

  • extra word splitting (पदच्छेद) or sandhi splitting (सन्धिविग्रह) of any kind. If the original book says कश्च, please write कश्च and not कश् च or कः च.

  • transliterations of the original text. If the original text says नरस्य, please write नरस्य and not narasya.

Frequently asked questions

How do I write in Devanagari?

We'll write a better answer soon, but here's our quick response:

  • For Windows users, we recommend using Baraha.
  • For macOS users, we recommend using LipikaIME.

How should I handle typos and mistakes?

Our job is to capture the text as-is. If you see an error, please do the following:

  1. Highlight the error.
  2. Select Markup → Mark as error from the menu bar.

If you are very sure how to fix the error, please do the following:

  1. Write your fix next to the error.
  2. Highlight your fix.
  3. Select Markup → Mark as fix from the menu bar.

If you cannot understand what the source text says, please do the following:

  1. Highlight the unclear text.
  2. Select Markup → Mark as unclear from the menu bar.

Once the page is proofed and ready for publishing, a specialist will examine each of these errors and decide how to handle them.

What if I still have questions?

Please join our Discord server and ask your question on our #proofing channel! We are friendly, responsive, and deeply grateful for your help.