Project Gutenberg is the brainchild of Michael Hart, who on July 4, 1971 decided that it would be a really good idea if lots of famous and important texts were freely available to everyone in the world. Starting with an all-caps version of the Declaration of Independence
Since then, he has been joined by hundreds of volunteers who share his vision. Now, more than thirty years later, Project Gutenberg has the following figures (as of November 8th 2002): 203 New eBooks released during October 2002, 1975 New eBooks produced in 2002 (they were 1240 in 2001) for a total of 6267 Total Project Gutenberg eBooks.
What does this mean for you and your church web site? Compelling content. For example, some of the documents freely accessible from their digital library include:
- The Confessions Of St. Augustine
- Grace Abounding To The Chief Of Sinners by John Bunyan (1628-1688)
- Pilgrim’s Progress; Bunyan ibid
- Kingdom Of God Is Within You – Leo Nikoleyevich Tolstoy (1828-1910)
- Ben-Hur; a tale of the Christ by Lew Wallace (1827-1905)
How would you implement this? Well, that’s up to you and your creativity. And to the good folks who’ve volunteered their time to the Distributed Proofreaders leg of the project.
Now compare this to Microsoft’s annoucement yesterday of their own “Free eBooks” initiative. One which BlackMask Online refers to in an article yesterday as “Passport on, give us your data, let us control your device, Windows-only, here’s some free best-sellers if you have any doubts about our good intentions” measure.
Indeed. Why don’t we shelve this topic for 32 years and see how it plays out.