10000 Free Books

Yesterday, Project Gutenberg posted its 10,000th freely-available book onto the internet, reaching its longtime goal! I’ve been following their progress for a couple of years, and this past year finally got involved as a Distributed Proofreader, using their simple web interface to proofread OCR’d texts. The On-line Books Page (a portal indexing free books on the internet from a variety of sources including but not limited to PG) has a small article about this on their site. I love this project, and with over thirty years of history, I think they have a good change of reaching a million titles … Continue reading 10000 Free Books

Greek Reality

I have no comment on this entry from Everything Once, My Big Fat Greek Blinding, except to say that it has nothing to do with the movie its title spoofs off of, but is rather a hilarious contemplation of the reality of Greek mythology. Trust me – just go read it.

Darker Harry?

It is always striking to me that a two-week vacation from the internet results in a much higher number of books actually getting read, particularly for having been on a “working vacation”. Among other things, I re-read the Harry Potter series to date in preparation for the release of the 5th book. They were all good on re-reading, though the 3rd book suffered a bit for knowing the underlying mysteries. I think it might be the weakest of the series. It was certainly the transition from lighter children’s fare to the darker tone of Goblet of Fire, which is clearly … Continue reading Darker Harry?

Book Donations

Prompted by the call over at pamie.com for donations of books to the underfunded Oakland Public Library, and the latent frustration at all of the books I own that I know I’ll never get around to reading, I did a spring cleaning of my shelves and have two bags of books packed up to take to the local Friends of the Library group, who will pick out what they can put on their shelves and what they’ll sell in their annual Book Sale. So my shelves are clearer, my unread book list is a bit smaller, and donating the books … Continue reading Book Donations

Extensive Text Search

I can imagine a number of uses for this search tool I just found which lets you search not just the titles but also the text of every book in the Project Gutenberg collection. Go to the “Preferences” page to activate boolean searching.

Distributed Proofreaders

I’ve been meaning to volunteer with Project Gutenberg for a couple of years, but I finally signed up to help proofread scanned and OCR’d texts. The Distributed Proofreading project makes it very easy. Sign up, read over the proofreading guidelines document, and then you can view page scans and the OCR’d text side by side in their web browser tool and edit the text to make any necessary corrections. They manage to coordinate the proofreading of between 500 and 1500 pages a day. It’s a very easy process, and a single page isn’t too time consuming, so think about signing … Continue reading Distributed Proofreaders

Alternate Copyright Plan

If you liked Lessig’s much-linked NYTimes editorial Protecting Mickey Mouse at Art’s Expense from a couple of weeks ago, or perhaps just noticed today’s Foxtrot, you might want to check out Lessig’s FAQ on the proposed Eric Eldred Act, which suggests requiring a tax be paid by copyright holders who wish to extend their copyright beyond some term (say, 50 years), thus allowing Disney to pay to keep Steamboat Willie out of the public domain (which they presumably believe still has monetary value) while allowing other less profitable works to become available on a reasonable schedule. The FAQ also fills … Continue reading Alternate Copyright Plan

Supporting Online Books

I suspect all my readers have already seen the ruling this week in Eldred v. Ashcroft – if you haven’t, pretty much everything you might want to read about it is collected at Lessig’s homepage with some interesting personal comments in his blog there as well. It seems like a worthwhile time to remind people who are bothered by the ruling and current copyright law in general that, on top of trying to change the law, the on-line book community is doing a lot to show the desire for and power of freely available public domain works – and they’re … Continue reading Supporting Online Books

Banned Books

To wrap up Banned Books Week, I just thought I’d point out some of the excellent works which ended up on the list of the 100 most frequently challenged books of 1999-2000, the most recent list I’ve seen published: The Chocolate War, Robert Cormier (#4) Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck (#6) Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling (#7) The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger (#13) The Great Gilly Hopkins, Katherine Paterson (#21) A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L’Engle (#22) In the Night Kitchen, Maurice Sendak (#25) Anastasia Krupnik series, Lois Lowry (#29) Blubber, Judy Blume (#32) Julie of the … Continue reading Banned Books

National Banned Books Week

To celebrate National Banned Books week, I’ll be featuring a different banned book each dady I remember to update. My favorite banned books site is the Online Books Page Banned Books Online site, though ALA has a nice one too. I’ll start off with Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, banned at one time by South Africa’s apartheid regime and required reading this year for incoming Cornell freshmen. Of course, everyone here remembers that Frankenstein is the scientist, not the monster… By one of those caprices of the mind which we are perhaps most subject to in early youth, I at once … Continue reading National Banned Books Week