Hello, today I want to talk about Project Gutenberg. I don’t think it’s as well know here in the UK as it is across the pond in the USA.
I’m a member of the National Trust and champion those who preserve our history for future generations as well as those who search out our past. However, I was unaware of Project Gutenberg until 2020.
Project Gutenberg is an online library of free eBooks. Accessible for all. Wow!
A Quick History Lesson
Project Gutenberg was founded by Michael Hart. Hart has been credited by some with creating the first eBook when he typed the Declaration of Independence into a computer on 4th July 1971. Wanting to share the Declaration, he posted a notice that the text could be downloaded by anyone who wanted it, and the foundations for Project Gutenberg were laid.
Project Gutenberg was the first provider of free electronic books, or eBooks. Its goal, formulated by Hart, was “to encourage the creation and distribution of e-books” and, by making books available to computer users at no cost, “to help break down the bars of ignorance and illiteracy.” As someone who has spent many years in the education sector, Hart’s ideal resonates with my own.
Over the next decade, working alone, Hart typed the US Bill of Rights, the Constitution, the King James Bible and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland into the project database. The 80s were the beginning of the electronic age, a world of eBooks, hand-held electronic devices like the Nook and Kindle, and unprecedented individual access to texts on a vast array of Internet archives.
Today, relying on the work of volunteers like myself who scan, proofread and format without pay, the project adds to its list at the rate of hundreds of books each month.
Want to find out more?
Here are some useful links to get you started:
- Background, History and Philosophy: Various essays and articles.
- Partners and Affiliates
- Help and how-to
- The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation, which operates Project Gutenberg and accepts donations.
Do you volunteer as a project proofreader? What do you think about what Hart is trying to achieve? I’d love to chat. Drop me a comment below.
Before you go, find out about the other clients I’ve worked with and check out The BG Portfolio.
Bye for now,