22 March 2006

Digital Libraries - the Ebook

It seems appropriate that a book about digital libraries has migrated to an online version that is freely available. Digital Libraries - for such is the nicely literalist title - is a little long in the tooth in places as far as the technical information is concerned, but very clearly written (via Open Access News).

It also presents things from a librarian's viewpoint, which is quite different from that of a your usual info-hacker. I found Chapter 6, on Economic and legal issues, particularly interesting, since it touches most directly on areas like open access.

Nonetheless, I was surprised not to see more (anything? - there's no index at the moment) about Project Gutenberg. Now, it may be that I'm unduly influenced by an extremely thought-provoking email conversation I'm currently engaged in with the irrepressible Michael Hart, the founder and leader of the project.

But irrespective of this possible bias, it seems to me that Project Gutenberg - a library of some 17,000 ebooks, with more being added each day - is really the first and ultimate digital library (or at least it will be, once it's digitised the other million or so books that are on its list), and deserves to be recognised as such.

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