Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Library of Congress Puts Thousands of Historic Books Online

The Library of Congress has digitized and made freely available almost 60,000 works from its collection. Sarah Rouse in a 24 December, 2009 article in America.gov discusses the project. Excerpts:
Nearly 60,000 books prized by historians, writers and genealogists, many too old and fragile to be safely handled, have been digitally scanned as part of the first-ever mass book-digitization project of the U.S. Library of Congress (LOC), the world’s largest library. . . .

The oldest work in the batch, dated 1707, covers the trial of two Presbyterian ministers in New York. The 25,000th book to be digitized was a 1902 children’s history book, The Heroic Life of Abraham Lincoln: The Great Emancipator, in time for Lincoln’s bicentennial on February 12, 2009.

These and the other digitized books can be accessed through the Library’s catalog Web site and the Internet Archive (IA), a nonprofit organization dedicated to building and maintaining a free online digital library.

“The Library’s collections are of unbelievable scope and depth,” said Internet Archive co-founder Brewster Kahle. “Now, with an Internet connection, you can download, print or bind copies of all these books.” . . . .

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