Feeds

Vale Michael Stern Hart

Project Gutenberg founder is dead

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

Obituary The man who arguably gave the world its first glimpse of non-Sci-Fi e-books, Michael Stern Hart, founder of Project Gutenberg, has died at the age of 64. Hart’s passing was announced in this obituary, posted on the Gutenberg Project’s Website.

For those who understand e-books only in terms of the Amazon Kindle, Hart’s name might be unknown. Yet it was his idea, launched in 1971, to capture books in an electronic archive, that first such attempt. At the time, such an archive was a radical idea; today, it’s an expectation.

His work depended, in part, an unlimited account created on a mainframe at the University of Illinois, which was also a node on the early Internet. The project has since its inception depended on the work of volunteers to help capture books as text – initially as copy-typists, later using scanners. Over time, Project Gutenberg moved between universities, and is currently hosted by ibiblio at the University of North Caroline at Chapel Hill.

As Project Gutenberg grew and attracted adherents outside the United States, it also had to negotiate the labyrinth of international copyright: a book in the public domain in one country might still be under copyright in other countries. So it was that the project eventually spawned spin-offs and affiliates in Australia, Canada, Germany, Europe and other locations.

Hart’s legacy also aligns with other early visionaries: that of a world in which important information is free. The project necessarily focused on out-of-copyright works – and by dint of academic and public support, its books are free. Literacy, Hart believed, was opportunity.

Amen to that. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Oz bank in comedy Heartbleed blog FAIL
Bank: 'We are now safely patched.' Customers: 'You were using OpenSSL?'
Forget the beach 'n' boardwalk, check out the Santa Cruz STEVE JOBS FOUNTAIN
Reg reader snaps shot of touching tribute to Apple icon
Happy 40th Playmobil: Reg looks back at small, rude world of our favourite tiny toys
Little men straddle LOHAN, attend tiny G20 Summit... ah, sweet memories...
Lego is the TOOL OF SATAN, thunders Polish priest
New minifigs like Monster Fighters are turning kids to the dark side
Dark SITH LORD 'Darth Vader' joins battle to rule, er, Ukraine
Only I can 'make an empire out of a republic' intones presidential candidate
Chinese company counters pollution by importing fresh air
Citizens line up for bags of that sweet, sweet mountain air
Google asks April Fools: Want a job? Be our 'Pokemon Master'
Mountain View is prankin' like it's 1999...
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.