I’ve been volunteering to read public domain audiobooks for LibriVox for a while. One of the challenges I have with that activity is keeping track of the status of what I’m doing. I read books and parts of books and upload the audio tracks; and I listen for errors in what other folks have done.
In order to follow everything, I have to periodically poll several web pages. The more projects one has going at one time, the longer that takes, and the more likely it is that something will get overlooked. So here’s my answer: LVTool.
LVTool is really pretty simple. The volunteer tells the tool who they are and what projects they are interested in. The tool visits all the relevant web pages (and does it a lot faster than a web browser does), aggregates the information, and displays it in one place. It also has a number of productivity enhancers, to make your job easier.
LVTool only works under Microsoft Windows. The latest version is 4.0.3.
LVTool is controlled by menus and a few check boxes; and its display is a tabbed notebook.
Readers and Listeners use the My tasks tab:
This display is basically a compilation of all of the magic windows for your projects, color-coded according to what you are supposed to do, and filtered by your task. For the reader or listener the first tab shows what you need to upload, fix or listen to.
The volunteer can directly go to the LibriVox forums, to the LibriVox Upload page or to their own catalog page from the Navigate Menu. Double-clicking on any segment on a tab takes the user to the forum page for that project. A right-click menu provides many options to automate your work. You’ll never have to type a file name or an IDV3 tag again.
The BC tab looks the same as the Tasks tab, only all the segments in the projects are shown, not just the ones assigned to you.
Once projects are added, they appear on the Projects Tab, for example (click to enlarge):
There is a right-click pop-up menu to change the project status or delete it from your list. It also includes tabulations on the status of each project.
There are some simple statistics for your reading and listening projects too:
- Is my information secure? LVTool doesn’t ask for or look at any private information. You don’t give it your forum password, and all it does is to look at the public LibriVox web pages.
- How can this be faster than a web browser? When you look at the Project in the LibriVox forums, you go through the forum software to generate the page, and then you go through the Magic Window software to generate the Magic Window; then all of that is sent to your browser. LVTool only looks at the Magic Window, bypassing the forum entirely. It only uses the forum the first time you add a project, that just to get the Project Name and ID.
- How about a version that will run on my [Mac, Android tablet, Windows RT tablet, iPad, etc.]? Sorry; I don’t know how to do that.
- Which version of Windows is required? LVTool has been tested on Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8, 8.1 and 10. It will very likely work on Windows Vista.
- What was the development environment? Delphi XE4.
- How long did the project take? Less time than reading Oblomov.
- What is Hollow Tree Software? There is no Hollow Tree Software.
- Is there a 64-bit version? You don’t need the 64-bit version; these aren’t the droids you’re looking for.
Version 4.0 begins a program of making the program more usable on touch screen. Eight new buttons have been added for frequently-used actions that previously were only available through right-click menus.
- Install the Win32 (even if you’re running 64-bit Windows) Microsoft Visual C++ 2008 Run-time library. If not already installed on your computer, get it from Microsoft.
- Install the current 32-bit version of the OpenSSL libraries. You can visit OpenSSL.org and find links for downloading these libraries, or go here and download OpenSSL v1.0.0o Light. When installing, select all the defaults.
- Install LVTool itself (link here). Take all the defaults on the installation.
To insure you have an authentic unaltered version, get it only from the preceding link.
You should now find LVTool in your Start Menu and pinned to the Task Menu on the desktop.
The First time
The first time you use LVTool, tell it who you are. The program will pop up the following dialog:
The user name is your forum user name, and the Catalog URL is the URL of your LibriVox Catalog, the page that looks like this:
If you also include the path to the Audacity (or any other program for that matter), you can start it from LVTool. If you leave it blank, it will default to the location Audacity installs for your operating system (64-bit or 32-bit). Click the … button to browse for the program.
The Audio Folder is a folder on your computer where recordings you download with LVTool will be placed, and where LVTool will expect the files to be when launching Audacity. Click … to browse for the folder.
Database Folder: You can leave this blank, but if you want to share the database on a network shared folder or on Microsoft OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive), fill in the directory name. Click … to browse for the folder. Note that if you use OneDrive, make sure that the folder is set to make all its files available offline (right-click on the folder in Windows 8 to make this setting).
Click OK to save the settings. Typically, you will never need to change settings and won’t see the form again; however, if you want to change the settings, they can be changed later by selecting Configure from the File menu or pressing Alt + C.
The next step is telling LVTool what projects you are interested in. To add a project, select New Project from the File menu or press Alt + N. A dialog is presented where you enter the URL of the Forum project page (the one where the Magic window is found):
If you are a reader, select the Read item under Interest, dedicated proof listeners pick Listen and book coordinators select Both.
After all that one-time installation work is done, the fun part begins and LVTool starts doing things for you! After some projects are loaded, there is a little delay when you start LVTool while it visits the magic windows of your projects to collect information. The more active projects, the longer it takes. It is, however, faster than your visiting the pages manually.
Here are the major areas of the program:
The Navigate Menu
Selections from the Navigate Menu open a page on your default web browser:
To Do Statistics
When you start LVTool, it visits all the magic windows of the projects you’re interested in. It adds up some statistics:
The My Tasks tab
Most of the screen is filled with a tabbed notebook comprised of data grids. Here’s what it looks like (click image for full size):
The leftmost tab is the Tasks grid. By checking or un-checking the Active Sections Only check box, you can include or exclude sections which are PL OK. The List shows the projects that you are the assigned reader, or that you have a Listen interest. There is also a check box labeled “Titled Sections Only” that is checked by default. This filters out any sections in the Magic Window without a track title; this is useful when you are filling in track titles as you go.
You can sort the grid on any column by clicking on the title above the column. You can resize the columns by dragging the vertical line separating the column titles. You can also drag the column titles to re-order the columns. While all of the important information is shown by default, you can scroll the grid to the right to see additional information.
The Action column shows what you need to do. Action is a reinterpretation of the Status values from the Magic Window.
- Complete: File Uploaded and PL OK in the notes (green)
- Listen: File Uploaded and “PL Needed” or Spot Check needed
- Upload: Assigned, but no recording URL (light gray)
- Available: Available (white)
- Edit: Uploaded recording is not PL OK.
The Complete action will only show when the Active Segments Only checkbox is unchecked (as in the example preceding).
The grid is accompanied by a powerful right-click menu filled with options to automate your work such as putting file names and ID V3 tags on the clipboard, downloading files, and starting Audacity. Here are the menu options:
- Browse Project on Forum – Launch your web browser on the LibriVox forum page for the selected project (also accessible with the Forum button)
- Go to Book Text – Launch your browser on the web page for the book text (also accessible with the Book Text button)
- Go to BC Admin – Launch your browser on the BC Admin page for the project (also accessible with the BC Admin button)
- Intro Text – Display the Intro text you should read at the open a