The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1906  Monday, 9 October 2000.

From:           Hardy Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 09 Oct 2000 07:56:57 -0400
Subject:        XML E-Books from Virginia

[Editor's Note: The following is from the Humanist Discussion Group
<This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>.]

               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 <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
         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: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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