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Friday, September 30, 2011

Books in the News: Michael Hart

Posted by Alana T.

On September 6, Michael Hart, the founder of Project Gutenburg died of a heart attack in his home in Urbana, IL.  It is certainly possible that you may not have heard of  Micahel Hart or Project Gutenburg, but both have had a profound influence on the status of publishing and availability of information over the internet.  We take many technological innovations for granted, and although e-books seem to be new on the scene and wildly popular, they have been around for a while.

"Michael invented the eBook (electronic book) in 1971 when he typed the U.S. Declaration of Independence into the Xerox Sigma V mainframe at the University of Illinois in celebration of the American Bicentennial. Just six out of the then 100 users on the network downloaded the file, but it was from these humble beginnings that Michael founded Project Gutenberg, which is now recognized as one of the earliest and longest-lasting online literary projects"- Michael Cook at  For more information about Michael Hart, read his obituary or visit his wikilink

Thousands of books in many languages are available for download from Project Gutenburg - totally free!  These e-books are available in many formats and can be downloaded to a Kindle, mobile phone, iPad and many other electronic devices, as well as your computer.  Most books have copyrights that have expired and are now in the public domain; they tend to be older titles.  Don't  be discouraged!  There are numerous gems in the catalog and I always find something new and amazing to read.  As you can tell from the top 100 e-books and authors, there are a lot of classics here, too.  You can keep the files as long as you like, share them, even redistribute them.  This is a wonderful resource for all readers.

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