Librarians in Trouble

Thinking ahead

Project Gutenberg

with one comment

 

 Project Gutenberg  is the first one project in Digital Libraries. Michael Hart, the founder, said “To encourage the creation and distribution of eBooks.”
The PG, abbreviated, was founded in 1971 is a project made possible through the efforts of volunteers from around the world. The main idea is digitize, archive and distributed culural works (Wikipedia) and using the World Wide Web make this information available in the public domain. Also the PG is affiliated with many projects that are independent organizations with share the same ideals. Most of the content is in English but is also found in other languages such as French, Portuguese, Italian …

After this short introduction extracted from Wikipedia  I´d like to comment on how this project impressed me for years. I use it to find books that I like to read, as a normal library but with the huge difference that I can see every book from my home and I can edit, copy, print or anything I would like. For example I love the Beatrix Potter´s tales, and her beautiful and expressive animal drawings. The catalogue is easy to use, I introduce her name and I receive the page with all her digitized works and something interesting, also her webpage in Wikipedia.

Is great know that some of the tales are audiobooks, not all of them, but some. Miss unless there is no more language versions. I supposed in the future this will be more complete, hopefully!! But allways is necessary remind that it is a cooperative work. This point remind me one famous novel and film, more famous between the librarians because we normally use as an example :-), the novel “Fahrenheit 451″ where

“The novel presents a future American society in which the masses are hedonistic, and critical thought through reading is outlawed. The central character, Guy Montag, is employed as a “fireman” (which, in this future, means “book burner“). The number “451” refers to the temperature (in Fahrenheit) at which the books burn[1] when the “firemen” burn them “for the good of humanity”. Written in the early years of the Cold War, the novel is a critique of what Bradbury saw as an increasingly dysfunctional American society.” (from Wikipedia article).

Of course is not my purpose explain here the novel, but I only wanna comment that this novel-world has some similarities with the PG, on the novel some crazy people go away from society to save their favorite book and so it could survive with them, as book-people, which may transmit to future generations, independenly of political or religious reasons. On PG the people work to make available the books to the public, exactly on the same way that in the novel of Ray Bradbury. I like very much this ideals and the spirit behind it. Share culture, share knowledgement, share humanity using our little bit.

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Written by claesju

February 24, 2009 at 1:00 pm

One Response

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  1. What is really amazing about PG, I think, is the fact that so much could be done without money – for love, so to speak.

    Wikipedia is the biggest example, of course, but the web has created a world where such possibilities are much more available for people with computers, commitment and some bright ideas.

    LibraryThing is another such stunner. This is part of the flattening that Thomas Friedman writes about.

    And yes, I also like Beatrix Potter …

    Very nice blogging, Clara!

    Tord

    February 24, 2009 at 6:37 pm


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