Project Gutenberg

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Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg is a project to collect books online. It is free and it is in open format so that everyone can contribute to the project. Most of the books are in English but there are also some non-English books such as French, German, Dutch, Spanish in the website.

History of the Project

The project was started by Michael Hart in 1971. He received an account with an unlimited amount of computer time, which was pretty expensive during those years. So, he decided to do something good to pay back this gift. He decided to make 10,000 books available to the public by the end of the 20th century. The reason him to create an online free source for books was that he knew computers would eventually become accessible to the public.

He named the project after Johannes Gutenberg, who helped the creation of movable type printing press revolution.

By the mid-90s with the help of more volunteers, all of the text was manually entered. People who want to contribute to the project increased with the increase in the number of the e-books.

The development of the website is started by Pietro di Micelli in 1994.

Recent Information About the Project

There are over 24,000 books in the website now. Approximately, fifty new books of any kind such as novels, poetry, short stories, and cookbooks are added to the website. Besides, it is possible to find some audio files.

Since his goal was to encourage the creation and the distribution of ebooks, there were no rules to determine the types of books to add. That is why the books added are totally depend on the interest of the volunteers or the availability of the books.

Copyright Situation

The books are added to the Gutenberg library after they are verified with US Copyright law. Project Gutenberg does not require new copyrights for the books it adds to the library. In short, a book is eligible to be added to the project, if it can legally be published. Besides, most of the books included in the project are public domain, meaning they are a set of cultural works that belong to everyone equally. Any book that is published before 1923 is in the public domain in the U.S. So the books in the website are mostly old works.

References and External Links

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