Guide for Proof-listeners

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Before a project enters the LibriVox Catalog, usually all its audio files are proof-listened.

What is proof-listening?

Proof-listening is the process of listening to a recording in order to catch recording mistakes, and verify that the file meets the technical requirements. All recordings are "prooflistened" to catch repeats, big stumbles or long pauses. A Proof-Listener is the volunteer who does the proof-listening, and will report back any errors in the file.

What is a Dedicated Proof-Listener?

A Dedicated Proof-Listener (DPL) is a volunteer who commits to PL-ing all the files in a project. Being a DPL can be a big commitment if the project is a very large one. A DPL does not have exclusivity the proof-listening of the project, but most people will not PL a section of a project if a DPL is already assigned.

A DPL can keep track of their PL workload by going to their Reader page, clicking on Reader Section Details, then clicking on PL View. This lists their DPL projects and which stage of PL each section is currently in.

How to Proof-listen

The topmost thread of the Listening Forum has a lot of information:Listeners & Editors Wanted FAQs

Find a project

In order to proof-listen (PL), you must first find a project in need of a PLer. There are many ways to do this.

  • Check the Listeners & Editors Wanted Forum and pick a project that interests you.
  • Browse the Readers Wanted forums, and find a project that interests you there. Projects with a tilde (~) at the beginning of the subject line do not have a DPL.
  • Check the Launch Pad. Some of the new projects are looking for a Dedicated PLer.

Levels of Proof-listening

Always check the first post for the level of proof-listening requested, or post in the thread to ask. Please do not offer feedback beyond the level requested.

  1. In general, we ask for standard listening -- repeats and gaps:
    1. Listen for repeated words or passages that the reader likely intended to edit out.
    2. Note any long pauses or bad background noises that disrupt the flow of your listening pleasure.
    3. Note that the intro and outro has the correct wording as noted in the first post of the project thread, and 5 seconds of silence at the end.
    4. If the recording seems too loud or too quiet, please note that as well.
    5. It is NOT necessary for you to follow along with the text; just listen as you would normally.
  2. A request for word-perfect (example: Einstein's Relativity) includes all of the above, and reading along:
    1. Follow along with the online text and note any differences between what is written and what you hear. (Note: sometimes the online text is wrong, or differs from the edition that a reader worked from! It is important to use public domain texts. In some cases, the corrected text is actually under copyright(example: Ulysses)! If in doubt, ask the BC.)
  3. A reader may request special feedback, and that would be whatever was asked for. (example: "Needs listeners who can understand French / Spanish / ...") The special need will be explained in the top post for that Prooflistening thread.
  4. And some Prooflistener requests are CC - Constructive Criticism sought.
    1. Sometimes folks would like feedback on how to improve their reading style or their recording setup -- they'll write CC at the head of their subject line and post details in the top post about what type of feedback they want.

Prooflistener Notes

A good prooflistener note gives the minute and second at which a gap or repeat or whatever occurred:

12:33 repeat, "She shells sea-- " (it's at 12 minutes, 33 seconds)
27:54 gap, about 7 seconds
31:02 "commiseration", read "commission"

In order to see the timecode, you will need to download the file and open it in a media player. When you simply click on a file, it will often open in QuickTime in the browser window (on some computers), but that window will not show time code. If you open the QuickTime application and then open the saved audio file in QuickTime, you will see timecode.

Folks quickly learn to edit any errors in their file from last to first -- that way the timecode notes stay accurate during correction.

Feedback and Fine Lines

Please see Feedback, a LibriVox web page explaining the function of feedback in a kind and productive community.

We try to catch things like long silences, repeated text, editing problems, volume problems, static, etc. But we don’t really make comments on reading style — too fast/too slow, not enough oomph. For instance, we never say: “This reader is not good enough for LibriVox.”

Our policy is to accept ANY reader who wishes to read for us. We have such a huge task ahead of us: to record all the books in the public domain! We can’t achieve that without an open door policy for everyone who wants to help. Plus, it’s part of the LibriVox way. We welcome anyone who wants to help. That’s how we got this far, and we want to go a lot further.


If you're ever uneasy about a file you've prooflistened, send a PM* to the Book Coordinator or Meta Coordinator (MC) or to any admin you're comfortable talking to. (*Private Message -- use the PM button at the bottom of a post by the person you want to message)

Test Yourself

Now that you've read through this guide, try our PL quiz