Eighteen months ago, supporters of the Socialist Workers Party undertook the project of converting all of Pathfinder's titles from film to CD-ROM's so that they can be rapidly prepared for printing using new computer-to-plate technology. Now, the Reprint Project is a volunteer effort of more than 100 volunteers in eight countries. They are working together to put the entire arsenal of Pathfinder titles into digital form. This is making it possible to reprint books in Pathfinder's list in a politically timely and cost-efficient manner.
Now, all the scanning of books and pamphlets is done so that they are in initial digital form. Only three of the titles - French language editions of the New International - have to be massaged, a stage in the process that readies the titles for being sent to the proofreaders. There are several steps to making the hard copy book digital and ready to be used by Pathfinder's new computer-to-plate printing technology. These stages are (1) scan and massage, (2) proofreading, (3) formatting, (4) graphics, and (5) indexing. Scanning creates the digitized file from the hard copy book page, and massaging is a quality control process done to ferret out common errors introduced during scanning. The massagers prepare files for proofreading and help rationalize later stages of production.
The volunteers who took on the assignment of scanning and massaging have been working feverishly since September to get all the books and pamphlets assigned to the department done by January 1, 2000. The scan and massage volunteers worked on about 220 titles and 54,000 pages, spending over 3,500 hours at their computers and scanners. This huge effort was sustainable because the volunteers know that laboring now on digitizing Pathfinder's books and pamphlets ensures that future fighters can find answers on how to resist and fight back, and to develop the capacities, the virtues, and the habits that will allow for the development of a self-confident proletarian leadership capable of charting a course forward for humanity.
Eight additional titles, Ultima lucha de Lenin, Eastern Airlines Strike, My Life, History of American Trotskyism, Introduction to Marxist Economic Theory, Structure and Organizational Principles of the Party, Organizational Character of the SWP, and Fidel Castro on Chile, were put onto CD and delivered to Pathfinder in December. This brings the total to 61 titles that have been prepared on CD. Volunteers have a long-term goal of producing 10 CDs per month, and are now getting closer to reaching this target. During December, the volunteers also completed proofreading and format checking of Making History and worked on a rush order for Origins of the Family, Private Property, and the State. This title will be finished the first week of January.
Those who have been working on scanning and massaging will now be able to help with other aspects of production. A small team of three volunteers will take a month or so to double-check all the work submitted since September and then pass it on to proofreading. The dozen volunteers who have been carrying out the job will take new assignments in the other departments. So far three have agreed to move on to the formatting area, one to graphics, two to proofreading, and two to indexing. Additional volunteers continue to be recruited to the project, including three from Sweden who have experience producing Ny International, the Swedish language version of the Marxist magazine New International.
All who worked on the scan and massage effort should be congratulated! All who struggle for or support the ultimate goal of the Reprint Project should be encouraged that we are one giant step closer to realizing that end.
Warren Simons organizes the Scan and Massage department of the Pathfinder Reprint Project. Jerry Gardner is a member of the Steering Committee of the project. Anyone wishing to participate in the Pathfinder Reprint Project should contact Ruth Cheney by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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