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April, 1999

Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg is an electronic library that provides free public access to a huge list books and publications. The format makes these texts an excellent resource for a wide range of projects.

Few graphics, but well arranged and utilitarian.

The texts can be searched by title and author, but unfortunately not by subject or genre. Each page has a well-organized navigational bar on the left. Text files download fast!

Project Gutenberg (PG) is a literal treasure trove of literature. It offers nearly 2000 texts in 1999, and it's still growing. Begun in 1971 (back in the days when computers were something associated with NASA), the site's creators have gained a lot of insight into the changing nature of computer science and provide these texts only in the most basic (and universally recognized by any computer) ASCII format. This means they have no graphics or fancy formatting, which may seem kind of boring but offers educators hidden potential. Why not take this basic text and publish a fully illustrated classroom version? The wide range of texts available means that this can be done at any grade level. Elementary students can use Hans Christian Anderson's works, The Red Fairy Book, The Wizard of Oz, or The Secret Garden. Jules Verne is ideal for the middle school. High school students might gain a new perspective on Shakespeare by illustrating A Midsummer's Night Dream or The Tempest. PG has something for everyone. Drama teachers will love the ability to cut and paste scripts for individual parts. History teachers can find documents such as the Declaration of Independence, and the U.S. Constitution. Music teachers, there's even a copy of Beethoven's fifth symphony! The list of texts is impressive and well worth browsing, and bookmarking!