Another terrific online text source

A couple days ago, Eric Wittenberg passed on to me another great online source for books, texts, and many other media types.  It’s the “Internet Archive” at http://www.archive.org.  There appear to be even more digitized books accessible here than on Microsoft’s site that I posted about previously.  Both of these sites often take you to the same database for books.  A search will repeat a particular source several times when it’s in different databases.

Just type in what you’re looking for in the search box at the top of the screen, then select the media type.  When you find what you want, you can flip through the book, download it, print it, etc.

Last night I was thinking about the digitization of so many historical sources – books, papers, manuscripts, newspapers, all kinds of documents.  I can easily see where, some day, everything in – for instance – the Library of Congress, National Archives, university libraries, historical repositories, etc. will be available for viewing online.  You can see anything you want from the comfort of your own computer.

Researchers who now work doing this digging for scholars and writers will probably one day be mostly out of a job, but such easy access to this nation’s historical documents can only be good – now everyone can see the sources for themselves.

Check out the site.  It’ll keep you quite busy.

Published in: on January 9, 2007 at 10:59 am  Comments (7)  

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  1. JD:

    Here’s another terrific online source that might be of interest to you and your readers:

    http://home.wlu.edu/%7Estanleyv/pentrans.htm

    If you want to know the mind and heart of General Lee as we celebrate his 200th birthday this year, what better way than to read his personal correspondence?

    From the site: “The following are transcriptions of letters to and from Robert E. Lee in the Special Collections of the James Leyburn Library of Washington and Lee University. In some cases letter summaries are used in place of transcriptions. These transcriptions have been created by Robert C Peniston, retired Captain in the United States Navy and former Director of the Lee Chapel at W&L. Captain Peniston has been working on transcriptions from our Lee collection as a volunteer since September 1998 and his work continues to this day.”

  2. “I can easily see where, some day, everything in – for instance – the Library of Congress, National Archives, university libraries, historical repositories, etc. will be available for viewing online.”

    Only if there are billions of dollars to (1) do the digitization and (2) to maintain the materials once digitized.

  3. David,

    Indeed. With the amount of material already online however (100,000 books just on this one database) I think it’s only a matter of time.

    J.D.

  4. JD:

    Here’s another great online source for CW buffs, especially this year. Its much of the correspondence of Robert E. Lee, arranged chronologically and in a searchable database:

    http://home.wlu.edu/%7Estanleyv/pentrans.htm

  5. Terrific, Richard!

    I wonder if any website has all of these primary source sites listed – I’m aware of the many that have lots of links to all kind of sources and sites listed, but it’d be great to have one that lists items such as period newspapers, books, etc. Anyone aware of such a site?

    J.D.

  6. Here’s one that you may already be familiar with. It covers a fairly wide range of topics:

    http://www.vcdh.virginia.edu/research.html

  7. Excellent. By the way, I checked through the Lee letters collection on that last site, and found a great letter by Mumford to Lee in 1866 about the 1863 fight at Aldie that I’ll be able to use in a future book!

    J.D.


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