14.0318 XML ebooks from Virginia

From: by way of Willard McCarty (willard@lists.village.Virginia.EDU)
Date: 10/06/00

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 14, No. 318.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
             Date: Fri, 06 Oct 2000 20:24:58 +0100
             From: Matthew Sweegan Gibson <msg2d@etext.lib.Virginia.EDU>
             Subject: Press Release: UVA ships over 600,000 XML ebooks for 
    Microsoft Reader
    Just a note on what we've been doing of late at the Electronic Text Center
    in which I thought Humanist would take an interest....
    Contact: David Seaman, director of the Etext Center at (804) 924-3230 or
    e-mail: dms8f@virginia.edu
    October 2, 2000 - From the Bible and Shakespeare to Jane Austen and Jules
    Verne, the University of Virginia Library's Electronic Text Center (Etext
    Center) is making more than 1,200 of its 50,000 online texts available as
    free e-books that may be downloaded from the World Wide Web and read using
    free Microsoft Reader software. With over 600,000 downloads since the
    project was launched in August, the Etext Center is the largest and
    busiest public e-book library in the world, library officials said.
    The Microsoft Reader software may be installed on a desktop or laptop
    computer, or on a Pocket PC hand-held computer. The software displays the
    electronic text on a computer screen so that it resembles the pages of a
    traditional book. "The goal is to read pages on the computer screen for
    extended periods of time, rather than to print them out," said David
    Seaman, director of the Etext Center at the University of Virginia
    The e-books are available free of charge at
    http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/ebooks/ and titles are added regularly.
    E-books currently available include the Bible, all of Shakespeare, and
    classics from Dickens, Lewis Carroll, Robert Frost, Arthur Conan Doyle,
    Shelley, Darwin, and Jane Austen. The collection also includes American
    fiction and history from Franklin, Jefferson, Madison, Twain, Melville,
    Stowe, Hawthorne and Poe; early science fiction by Edgar Rice Burroughs,
    Jules Verne, and others; writings from Native American and
    African-American authors; and illustrated children's classics. "Aesop's
    Fables" alone has been downloaded more than 4,000 times, Seaman said.
    Readers from more than 100 countries have downloaded e-books from the
    Etext Center. "The use of our e-books is truly global, with users coming
    not only from North America, but also from Europe, New Zealand, Australia,
    and even a good many from Asia, Africa, and the Russian Federation. The
    enormous popularity of our e-book holdings does much to validate the
    concept of the e-book software as a reading environment," said Seaman. The
    audience is broad, including high school and college students, teachers,
    parents, and the general reading public.
    "We see e-books as another way for the library to enhance educational
    opportunities and research experiences," said Martha Blodgett, associate
    University librarian for information technology. Users can download
    numerous texts onto one computer, giving them access through one device
    rather than carrying many books. E-books are convenient for researchers,
    who can perform keyword searches in less time than it takes to flip
    through a paper book looking for a certain word or passage, she said.
    E-books also retain some of the best features of paper books. Users can
    write notes on a page and even "dog-ear" pages. "This is a new and
    evolving technology and we are excited about the opportunity to experiment
    with it," she said.
    All of the University's e-book offerings are also available on the Web as
    part of a much larger multi-language collection produced by the University
    Library's Etext Center. Currently, the entire Etext Center Web site is
    accessed some 90,000 times a day by approximately 25,000 users. The Etext
    Center, founded in 1992, was the first electronic center of its kind and
    provides Internet access to humanities-related XML texts. For more
    information, visit the center's Web site at
    Reporters: For more information about the Etext Center or the e-books,
    contact David Seaman, Chris Ruotolo, or Matt Gibson at (804) 924-3230 or
    Again, for any questions or responses please contact me, Chris Ruotolo,
    or David Seaman
    Matthew Gibson
    Matthew Gibson
    Assistant Director,
    Electronic Text Center
    The University of Virginia

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