Sep 13, 2011

Project Gutenberg

I have been a fan of Project Gutenberg for years and always looked forward to Michael's regular emails detailing the number of books in the expanding library and progress toward his goal of providing a million free eBooks to the world. Back when devices were rudimentary and no official standard was set for electronic books, he produced pure text book that could be read on any device. He even hand typed the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, John F. Kennedy's inaugural address, Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, and the U.S. Constitution. Here is the link to the site which offers digital versions of those documents and over 100,000 free eBooks. LINK

Below is from his obituary.

"Michael Stern Hart was born in Tacoma, Washington on March 8, 1947. He died on September 6, 2011 in his home in Urbana, Illinois, at the age of 64. His is survived by his mother, Alice, and brother, Bennett. Michael was an Eagle Scout (Urbana Troop 6 and Explorer Post 12), and served in the Army in Korea during the Vietnam era.

Hart was best known for his 1971 invention of electronic books, or eBooks. He founded Project Gutenberg, which is recognized as one of the earliest and longest-lasting online literary projects. He often told this story of how he had the idea for eBooks. He had been granted access to significant computing power at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. On July 4 1971, after being inspired by a free printed copy of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, he decided to type the text into a computer, and to transmit it to other users on the computer network. From this beginning, the digitization and distribution of literature was to be Hart's life's work, spanning over 40 years."