Hawaiian story
getting new life

A Makiki resident aids a project
to resurrect the story as an e-book

When Karen Lofstrom wanted to try e-books, she found a Web site that offered a digital version of old books that are out of print.

The Web site led Lofstrom to Distributed Proofreaders, a Web site that provides the digitization of public-domain books.

Soon after, Lofstrom, a Makiki resident who helped launch Internet service provider LavaNet, became a volunteer for Distributed Proofreaders and is helping the company and Project Gutenberg proofread and release the original version of its first book in the Hawaiian language, "The Hawaiian Romance of Laieikawai," as an e-book.

Distributed Proofreaders helps Project Gutenberg -- the Internet's oldest producer of free electronic books -- provide free e-books to the public through the Internet.

The book is about Princess Laieikawai and her quest to find a proper mate for a magical princess who lives in a Puna home thatched in gold o'o feathers, Lofstrom said.

Lofstrom said someone had found images of the book online. The book was recited by S.N. Haleole and first printed in Hawaii in 1863. The introduction and translation of the book was then done by Hawaiian scholar Martha Warren Beckwith and published by the Smithsonian Institution.

"I hope to see a lot more Hawaiian text in the future," Lofstrom said. "I have a dream of resurrecting a lot of literature in Hawaiian that were published in the Hawaiian newspapers in the 19th century."

According to its Web site, Distributed Proofreaders was founded three years ago by Charles Franks to support the digitization of public-domain books, or books not protected by copyright.

The Web site helps ease proofreading work by breaking the work into individual pages so a number of proofreaders can work on the same book at the same time. This helps the pace of proofreading and the process of creating each e-book.


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