Project Gutenberg has done an excellent job of maintaining a balance between readability and portability of electronic texts. To maintain wide accessibility across a broad range of platforms, the text formatting needs to be very simple and consistent.
If we are to submit the completed text to PG, it needs to meet their requirements for Plain Vanilla texts. However, there are certain complications when collecting a set of files from several people who will most likely use different tools and perhaps even operating systems. In this instance I would like to collect the files in a modified version of the PG format, and then I will reformat the entire collection so it will be consistent.
All files should be in plain ASCII format with the following formatting:
NO special font or margin formatting, such as bold, italic, centering, etc.
Italic words should be typed as _italics_ so Alec Forbes would appear as _Alec Forbes_
Paragraphs are not indented. New paragraphs are denoted by an extra carriage return.
No carriage returns (CR/LF) within a paragraph. I will add those in the final version.
Double space between punctuation at the end of sentences.
Put the chapter number in all caps as the first paragraph using Roman Numerals, e.g., CHAPTER XXVI.
This one is subjective: I do not think we should follow the convention of a space before semicolons as the style was in GMD's day. This can cause problems with electronic texts because a line could wrap just before the semicolon.
Other special cases will probably come up, and we can address those as they arise. The FAQ page at Project Gutenberg goes into much greater detail.
Please put each chapter in a separate file with the name alecforbnn.txt where nn is the chapter number, e.g., alecforb01.txt, alecforb22.txt, alecforb45.txt, etc.
Whatever you are comfortable with. Microsoft Word will work fine as long as you 'Save As.../Text File only' and NOT 'Text File with line breaks'. Simpler text editors like Notepad, EditPlus, emacs, etc. are better at making plain ASCII text files, but may lack the spell checking features, which come in handy (except for the Scottish Dialect!). If you want some entertainment, turn on the Grammar checker in Word.
BE AWARE that the Auto Correct features in tools such as Microsoft Word can unexpectedly do strange things to Scottish dialect. I recommend turning this feature off.
After I concatenate all of the files, I will add hard wrapping with a CR/LF at 70 columns to meet the PG format specifications. Different tools and operating systems use different codes for hard returns, so this will guarantee consistency, and make it easier for those submitting files.
If you have any questions, suggestions, or would like to send a test case, don't hesitate to contact me.