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Project Gutenberg for CoralLevang (part 1)

Some time ago, CoralLevang asked me to review Project Gutenberg. I thought it was a good idea. I still do. I’ve put it off because I procrastinate out of habit and also because the site has a lot of features I don’t normally use and know little about. That meant I had to investigate them.

The Reader’s Digest version is that Project Gutenberg (named after the guy who invented the printing press in Europe) seeks to make electronic copies of public domain works. These are available free to the public in multiple formats, though the organization does accept donations. The work of adding books and proofreading is done by volunteers.

The database includes not only text—often with or without illustrations—but some images and audio books as well as sheet music. I have not used the audio books or sheet music so cannot speak to their quality.

The late founder, Michael Hart, invented the e-book in 1971. He saw that whatever was entered into a computer stayed there and could be replicated as many times as desired, whether that was the Bible (Johannes Gutenberg’s choice) or Alice in Wonderland , or what later came to be known as viruses. To assure as many people as possible have easy access to the works entered (as opposed to the viruses), Hart chose to encode the e-books in what he referred to as “plain vanilla ASCII.”

The catalogue is searchable by author name and the name of work. It is also arranged by topic, but frankly I’ve found this arrangement to be disappointing. On the main page, they list books that have become newly available and a link will take the curious the 100 most frequently downloaded books. I’ve not found these to be particularly useful, but they apparently are to someone.

To be continued.

Project Gutenberg is available here .

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Rufuszen wrote on December 30, 2015, 10:20 AM

I guess great ideas are easy, but organising them... now that is something more!

msiduri wrote on December 30, 2015, 10:33 AM

HA! That must be my problem. Oh, yeah, and great ideas... But it is a great site that I've used for years. He could have gotten filthy rich off the idea, but chose to work it this way.

CalmGemini wrote on December 30, 2015, 10:38 AM

First i congratulate you on taking up this task.Though it is a good idea,it is some thing difficult.I see you have started it admirably.

Last Edited: December 30, 2015, 10:41 AM

MegL wrote on December 30, 2015, 11:00 AM

I have found some useful stuff in Project Gutenberg but it is not always easily downloadable in a pleasing format.

msiduri wrote on December 30, 2015, 12:19 PM

Thank you! That's sweet of you. It was CoralLevang who put the bug in my ear.

msiduri wrote on December 30, 2015, 12:25 PM

I've had problem sometimes when the text contains foreign words, especially those with diacritical marking, or sometimes with the illustrations.

CoralLevang wrote on December 30, 2015, 7:16 PM

Thank you. I'm not sure what it was that I asked about, but this is going to be interesting, nonetheless. LOL My brain is gone. emoticon :winking: I will read more thoroughly, and I thank you for doing this for me. emoticon :smile:

Paulie wrote on December 31, 2015, 2:31 AM

Thank you very much for part one of Project Gutenberg. I look forward to reading part two.

msiduri wrote on December 31, 2015, 10:12 AM

Well, I think it has to do with the time that's passed since you mentioned t. emoticon :smile:

msiduri wrote on December 31, 2015, 10:13 AM

Thank you for the kind words. Now all I have to do it write part two. emoticon :smile: