• After a book has been scanned, a second volunteer (NOT the same person as the scanner) reviews the book for basic quality and corrects any mistakes found.  The volunteer then uploads the proofread book to the Bookshare® approval queue for a final review by Bookshare staff.
  • Scanning a book actually involves two processes.  First, the scanner takes a picture of each page.  Second, Optic Recognition (OCR) software is run on these pictures.  The OCR software tries to figure out the correct letters and words in each picture. However, even the best scanner and best OCR software make mistakes.  Proofreading for Bookshare means finding and fixing these OCR mistakes.  Please understand that proofreading in this sense does not involve making edits to the content, only to formatting problems created during the scanning process.


How to Proofread:


1. Sign in to and go to the “Volunteer Home” page. Click “Checkout a Book” (on the left) and scroll through the list of books available for checkout.

2. DO NOT choose any books with "priority" or "HOLD FOR [name]" in the title.

3. Once you’ve chosen the book you want to proofread, click “Checkout.” First, make sure the book is not in the collection (please see the FAQs for more information on this subject). If it is not, follow the guidelines below as well as in the Manual, and proof and correct the book. *Note: if it is in the collection but not in excellent collection a submitter may be submitting a BSO—a “Better Scan Of”—in which case the book title should start with “BSO” before the actual title. If it is a BSO, continue proofreading as usual.

4. After you have fixed any garbled text, added missing page numbers and corrected page breaks, etc., go to “My Checked Out Books” and click “Check In” *NOTE: Do not use the “Submit a Book” tab. That tab is only when you are uploading a new scan, not a proofed scan.

5. If a book has excessive problems, do the following:

       a. Obtain a physical copy of the book to make the corrections

       b. Join the Volunteer Discussion list for guidance and technical assistance (please see the Contact Us page)

       c. Contact the submitter (who may still have a physical copy of the book)

6. If a book has too many problems, it may need to be recommended for rejection. Reject it if:

       a. The book is already in the Bookshare collection

       b. There is no title page and/or copyright notice

       c. There are too many junk characters, making the text unreadable and therefore unable to be fixed

       d. It is missing pages


The Details:


  • Click here to check out the Scanning and Proofreading Manual.
  • Confirm that the scan contains complete copyright information, including the copyright holder and copyright date, even if the book is in the public domain. Copyright law does not permit Bookshare to distribute copyrighted dramatic literary works (plays or screenplays). However, Bookshare can accept dramatic works which are no longer copyrighted. If the scan lacks copyright info, see the details about problem scans above.
  • Bookshare cannot accept any materials that are proprietary, or that were obtained in breach of any contract, or illegally (this includes commercially available e-books, accessible digital books received by schools directly from a publisher, and digital books from other accessible book providers, such as an RFB&D digital book, or a Library of Congress (NLS) Web-Braille book). Bookshare is also not authorized to distribute standardized, secure, or norm-referenced tests and related testing material. 
  • Scans should be kept as close to the original as possible. This includes keeping italics, bolding, paragraph breaks, and page breaks identical to the print copy to preserve the author's intent. Additionally be sure to keep the text on the page on which it was originally printed.
  • Books without page breaks are not accepted.
  • Page numbers in scanned books should match those of the original. In classrooms, neither teachers nor pupils with print disabilities should need to worry that their copy of a book has a different set of page numbers.  Correct pagination will also facilitate reader discussions, searches, and indexing. Page numbers are not required for books that do not have page numbers in the original text, which often is the case with children's books, for example. Please make sure that the pages have numbers, that they are all in order, none are missing, and that they match up to the number of pages of other copies of the book. You can look for the book on to see how many pages it should have or check your local library.
  • The file must be in the format: RTF (rich text format).
  • For practical and legal reasons, Bookshare does not accept books that are not complete.
  • In order to best allow for all types of navigation (such as in DAISY), the font size and bolding should follow the table below:

         20 point + BOLDING = Book title

         18 point + BOLDING = Larger section headings (such as "Part I", or "Section 2") 

         16 point + BOLDING = Headings for each section in the Front Matter, & Back Matter 

         16 point + BOLDING = Chapter headings

         14 point + BOLDING = Chapter subheadings

         12 point                    = Text in the body of the book


Proofing Checklist:


A.  The file contains the title page, with the book title and the author's name.

B.  The file contains the copyright page (or if not, that it is freely distributable, e.g. public domain or Creative Commons licensed).

C.  The file has no missing pages and no duplicate pages.

D.  Missing or garbled text has been replaced with the correct sentences or words from the original.

E.  The file has page breaks or section breaks that correspond to the original (1 per page) as well as page numbers.

F.  The file is in the format:  RTF.

G.  The entire book is submitted in one file.


Some volunteers scan books, some proofread books, and some do both.  The choice is yours!  The only restriction is that you can't proofread a book that you have scanned.