I’m thrilled to share that Ari Sigal has joined the NSR team to draw our attention to free content and free books online. Ari and I collaborated on many library and publishing projects together and our story began 15 years ago when I was still Book Review editor at Library Journal (he reviewed books for LJ under my guidance). Ari shares my passion for free access to knowledge beyond institutions, zip codes, and library cards (and he is a librarian, so his support is extra special). I thank him for agreeing to come on board and enlighten our readers about the wealth of good free content online available for discovery. I look forward to his tour of free books in digital format every Friday and learning from his evalutions. As I am discovering every day, there is much more out there to take note of than we may realize.—Mirela Roncevic, NSR Editorial Director
As regular readers of the NSR portal know, one of its overriding purposes is to be a passionate advocate for what could be called ‘boundary-less reading’. By that I mean, e-reading liberated from the confines of space, time, and—increasingly—economic control by rapacious publishers and colluding library administrators whose model for reading demands that digitized books conform to the limitations of print in terms of availability and accessibility.
This radical departure in how to think about electronic reading can free reading material from the requirements of location, platform, codes, passwords, and library cards and let people just read. There would no longer be a Library-Patron relationship, or a Vendor-Subscriber one. The high-tech simplicity of it all! This is possible when committed people join together. Therefore, I dedicate this space (and a new column) to NSR‘s readership, who seek to read boundary-less.
Our tour of open reading sites begins at the beginning, with Project Gutenberg. The oldest (1971) of such collections, it currently has a collection of 53,000+ volumes. This number is expected to grow significantly in 2019, when changes in the copyright law allow more books to become available. Originally, founder Michael Hart’s intent was to focus of the collection was books in English in the public domain. Recently, though, several European languages have been added. The history of the project is available at Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Gutenberg) and on Project Gutenberg’s site. Continue reading Free Content Alert: Project Gutenberg
Congrats to Project Gutenberg on adding it’s 40,000th title.Â Hat tip to @paulkbiba for the news.
From the PG site:
With little fanfare, Project Gutenberg reached #40000 in its eBook series; Extinct Birds: an attempt to unite in one volume a short account of those birds which have become extinct in historical times: that is, within the last six or seven hundred years: to which are added a few which still exist, but are on the verge of extinction, by Walter Rothschild. Continue reading Project Gutenberg adds 40,000 title
In 1971 Michael Hart created the first eBook, The Declaration of Independence.Â Little did he or anyone else know where this would lead.Â Michael hart passed away yesterday.Â There are several tributes and obituaries on the web already. I’ve linked to a few of them below.Â Those considering a donation can use the usual Project Gutenberg link.
Project Gutenberg Obituary
Gutenberg News – A post from July of 2011 from Michael Hart, celebrating the 40th anniversary of ebooks
The World eBook Fair runs from July 4 through August 4, 2011. Their goal is to provide Free public access for a month to 6.5 Million eBooks.Â Project Gutenberg and the Internet Archive are both contributing organizations and will be presenting a number of items in other media this year, including music, movies and artwork, even dance choreography.Â The collections include light and heavy reading materials, more reference books, scientific items, etc., and about 50,000 music entries in addition to the 12,000 that debuted last year.
All are welcome to join the World Public Library as well for an annual membership of $8.95 per year.Â Members can download a selection of about 2,000,000 PDF eBooks.
From Eric Hellman’s blog, Go To Hellman – The fourth section my book chapter on Open Access eBooks looks at theier relationship with libraries.Â I previously posted the Introduction,Â What does Open Access mean for eBooks and Business Models for Creation of Open Access E-Books. I’ll be posting one more section, a conclusion.
Thank you for all of your comments; the completed chapter (and OA eBook) will be better for them.
Libraries and Open Access E-Books
One of the missions of libraries is to provide access to all sorts of information, including e-books. If an e-book is already open access, what role is left for libraries play?
Hereâ€™s a thought-experiment for libraries: imagine that the libraryâ€™s entire collection is digital. Should it include Shakespeare? Should it include Moby Dick? These are available as public domain works from Project Gutenberg; providing these editions in a library collection might seem to be superfluous. Many librarians have been trying to convince their patrons that â€œfree stuff on the Internetâ€ is often inferior to the quality information available through libraries. There are certainly e-book editions of these works available for purchase with better illustrations, better editing, annotations, etc. Should libraries try to steer patrons to these resources instead of using the free stuff? Continue reading Open Access eBooks, part 4, by Eric Hellman
From Eric Hellman’s Go To Hellman blog.Â Please offer your comments to Eric at the Go To Hellman blog.
Here’s the third section of my draft of a book chapter for a book edited by No Shelf Required‘s Sue Polanka. I previously posted the introduction; and What does Open Access mean for eBooks subsequent posts will cover Open Access E-Books in Libraries. Note that while the blog always uses “ebook” as one word, the book will use the hyphenated form, “e-book”. The comments on the second section prompted me to make significant revisions, which I have posted.
Business Models for Creation of Open Access E-Books
Any model for e-book publishing must have a business model for recouping the expenses of production: reviewing, editing, formatting, design, etc. In this section, weâ€™ll review methods that can be used to support Open Access e-book publishing. Continue reading Open Access eBooks, Part 3
Reprinted from the Go To Hellman blog from Eric Hellman.Â Here’s the second section of my draft of a book chapter for a book edited by No Shelf Required‘s Sue Polanka. I previously posted the introduction; subsequent posts will include sections on Business Models for Open Access E-Books, and Open Access E-Books in Libraries. Note that while the blog always uses “ebook” as one word, the book will use the hyphenated form, “e-book”. The comments on the first section have been really good; please don’t stop!Â Comments can be directed to Eric via the Go To Hellman blog.
What does Open Access mean for e-books?
There are varying definitions for the term â€œopen accessâ€, even for journal articles. For the moment, I will use this as a lower-case term broadly to mean any arrangement that allows for people to read a book without paying someone for the privilege. At the end of the section, Iâ€™ll capitalize the term. Although many e-books are available for free in violation of copyright laws, Iâ€™m excluding them from this discussion.
The most important category of open access for books is work that has entered the public domain. In the US, all works published before 1923 have entered the public domain, along with works from later years whose registration was not renewed. Works published in the US from 1923-1963 entered the public domain 28 years after publication unless the copyright registration was renewed. Public domain status depends on national law, and a work may be in the public domain in some countries but not in others. The rules of what is in and out of copyright can be confusing and sometimes almost impossible to determine correctly. Continue reading Open Access eBooks, Part 2. What does Open Access Mean for e-books?
Yesterday, OverDrive released updates to the OverDrive Media Console apps for iPhone (iOS) and Android, which include the addition of one-click, automatic downloads and other enhancements to user experience.
At the same time, theyâ€™ve updated the mobile â€˜Virtual Branchâ€™ sites for libraries with a Project Gutenberg collection, enabling access to the 15,000 DRM-free EPUB Â eBooks on iPhone and Android. This gives users a chance to download an eBook directly to their iPhone or Android every time they visit your mobile site without waiting lists or holds.
More information and visuals about these OverDrive upgrades are available on the OverDrive Library blog.
Big news fom the Digital Library blog at OverDrive about their pilot project with Project Gutenberg records – it’s live and available for libraries. Â From the blog post: Â OverDriveâ€™sÂ Project Gutenberg eBook collection, featuring over 15,000 EPUB titles that are free to your library and to your customers, is out of beta and available on more than 125 â€˜Virtual Branchâ€™ websites. Since we launched this feature in August, library customers have downloaded 100,000 eBooks from the collection. Thatâ€™s great news for all libraries with these free EPUB eBooks because each download can count as a circulation for your library, even though no authentication is needed to access these â€˜always availableâ€™ titles.
More information, including instructions on viewing the “Gutenberg Report” within one’s Content Reserve account, is in the post.