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In a message dated 12/13/2006 12:48:01 PM Eastern Standard Time, 
[log in to unmask] writes:

  For me, the best evidence of this can be found in the digitization 
initiatives of google. Does anyone remember Project Gutenberg?They have about 20,000 
volumes so far. Obviously business can afford to do more, but libraries could 
have been donating a portion of their funds to Project Gutenberg for the last 
25+ years and, well...maybe there wouldn't have been an opportunity for google.
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I've used PG  http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Main_Page extensively in the past 
and still download .txt files occasionally to feed into my text-to-speech 
software.

They are getting bogged down in technology, providing texts in several 
formats, converting them to audio, adding audio and video content, and trying to 
present this in a complex data access hierarchy. 

This may be limiting access, I thought there used to be more than 20,000 
texts at the site.  According to a press releases 
http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Gutenberg:News:

May 4, 2006: 1/3 Million eBooks Free from July 4 Through August 4. Press 
release: 1/3 of a million books, or 10 times the number found in the average 
public library, will be available for free downloading via the Internet and World 
Wide Web beginning July 4, as Project Gutenberg and the World eBook Library act 
on their dreams of increased world literacy and education. 

October 1, 2006: Another month of the WorldEBookFair. During October 2006, 
about 1/2 million free eBooks are available. Sponsored by the World eBook 
Library, Project Gutenberg, and others. 

If these were in plain text ASCII format only, you could have them all on a 
hard drive on your shelf. However as library content evolved to include books 
with high resolution colored images on every page, then audio and now video 
content, the concept of an online library becomes more complex, adding to the 
copyright and user formats.

Imagine maintaining online library access to the shelves of video games and 
HD movies at your video store.

Mike Csontos

Mike Csontos