Downloading the Athelstane system

by NH


Please be aware that the Athelstane system is totally non-commercial. We charge you nothing and we expect nothing from you. If anything goes wrong with your computer or you as a result of using this system then we disclaim any responsibility whatever. We use the system on a daily basis, and letting you have the use of it is a token of good-will.

It evolved to work on dos windows within Windows 95 and Windows 98. It has not been tested on any other platform. We know that Windows xp has some malfunctions (due to the arrangements for setting the size of the screen), and we have not yet completely tested for this, and made suitable work-arounds. So don't use it on Windows xp.

Before you download the Athelstane system you will need to prepare your machine for it. There are two folders that you will need.

One of them will hold the data such as the spelling checker, and lots more things like that. You must call this folder C:\wavefile.

The other one will hold the operating system, and you may call this one what you like, but we strongly recommend that you call it C:\dosextra because that name describes what it is and does.

The next thing, and the most important of all, is to make sure that your computer can always find the operating system. Load \autoexec.bat into your editor, and add the following line at the end, or at least to be executed before this batch program is completed. You should know that this file is always executed when the computer starts up.

     set path=C:\dosextra;%path%

Just make sure you get that colon and that semi-colon right. And the two percent signs.

Download the data file data.zip, into C:\wavefile.

Download the batch files batextra.zip, into C:\dosextra.

Download the com program files comextra.zip, into C:\dosextra.

Download the exe program files exeextra.zip, into C:\dosextra.

Updates will be named "updates.zip" for C:\wavefile and "dosextra.zip" for C:\dosextra.
Check for these periodically.

The password for "dosextra.zip" is the same as that for "comextra.zip". See 2 paras below.

Using WinZip or similar unzip data.zip into C:\wavefile.

Using WinZip, or similar, unzip batextra.zip into C:\dosextra.
Using WinZip, or similar, unzip exeextra.zip into C:\dosextra.
Using WinZip, or similar, unzip comextra.zip into C:\dosextra. The password for this file is "king".
You should end up here with nearly 400 programs of various kinds in C:\dosextra.

Now to start doing a book. It does not matter where in the computer you start working, but we strongly recommend that you start a folder for an author, and have folders below it for each of his/her books. The really important thing is that as we are going to work in dos, you should give these folders eight-character names. You can get away with seven-, or even six-character names, but don't go less than that, and certainly don't go more than eight.

The next thing is to decide on a second short name for the book, this time of exactly five characters. Let us say for example that the author-folder is "myauthor", the book-folder is "the_book" and the five character name is "abook".
It is most importand that you do not choose a 5-letter name that might be confused with another book. So do not choose "peter" or "frank", or "ocean", for example. You might get away with "petrx", etc. See what I mean?
Go into the folder you have created for the book and enter the following:

     set_book myauthor abook the_book

This will create a batch file on \dosextra, called "jump.bat".
Wherever you are working in the computer, just entering "jump" when in dos will bring you back to the book you are working in.
It will also create three environment variables, %author%, %name% (for the 8-char name), and %book% (for the 5-char name),

Your book must eventually be in the form of chapter files, named as follows:
abook01.txt, abook02.txt, abook03.txt ... where "abook" is the 5-character book-name you have decided upon.
If you are starting work on an existing scanned book then you need to make sure these are present. If you are scanning a book and creating the chapters, the software provided will take you through the necessary steps.

If you are starting with a text file of a total book, called for example "the_book", such as you might find when working on a Gutenberg file, you need to run

     txtsplit no the_book

This will produce chapter files unless the book is laid out a bit eccentrically!
You might feel you need to rename the chapter files to accord with the name you have decided upon.

If you have done all these things you are ready to roll.

The second thing to do with a new book is to enter some of its details. we do this by entering:

     startnew

There are help screens in this program. This stage is vital if you are scanning and OCRing a book, because it tells the computer how to show you the scanned pages to best advantage, and then how to create and automatically improve the chapter files.

This will lead you on, to a file in which you can see the page-numbers on which the chapters start and finish. Check this very thoroughly by turning to the pages themselves, in the book, and correcting any errors. When that is done, save the file and exit the editor. This will take you to a new screen, where you need to fill in a few details (most are already filled in). Then take the "W" action, and you will see some more stuff to edit, including entering the first set of five full lines you can find in the book, and telling the program how many lines there are on a page. From this it will work out how long the text is, how long it will take to process, and it will give you a price for the work, too. This of course is strictly for comparative purposes, since the Athelstane system is totally non-commercial.

When all that is done, you need to scan the book, creating good images of each page, and then OCR it, creating an html file for each page. There is plenty of information about this on the main, pivotal, program, which is called PCN.
So run

     pcn

and before you do anything more, hit F1 and read all the help files. There is a help-file which you get on page 0, and you can feed within that help-file into any of the other nine help-files, or you can turn to any of the pcn screens and get the help file for that screen. You should take a good long time reading these, and digesting them, before you attempt any more work on the book.

When you do start on the book you need screen 2A, and then pick on the chapters one at a time. Go through the book several times, as follows.

First pass, check top and bottom of the chapter, use Alt-PgDn to check top and bottom of each page, use Control-Up to fire up the spelling checker. Use Alt-A to add any new words to the computer's memory. Hit Escape when chapter is finished, and follow the instructions for adding the words found to either the local dictionary, in the case of proper names, and local slang, or if they are genuine words that you want to be in the main dictionary, you must also follow the instructions for that.

Second pass: This pass is optional, and depends on how well you think the book has been scanned. If using third-party scans, they may well be not at all good. A run with Alt-R is useful here, as well as an actual read of the text, to see if you can spot anything that has been misread, or that was a typo.

Third pass: A run with Alt-F12, to check the effects of adding markup for words that have two (or more) possible pronunciations.

Most of the rest of the system does not take effect till you've done all these things, and much of what remains consists of checks run on the book as a whole. As stated above, there are help files explaining exactly what is going on, so read these to remind yourself, when you come to that point.


An Essay by the Webmaster of Athelstane E-Books