It may still feel new, but did you know that digital books have reached the big 5-0? The Scholarly Kitchen brought this news to us in their article, “Happy Birthday to the eBook!

Fifty years ago, on July 4, 1971, a computer scientist at the University of Illinois, was given an operator’s account to the University’s Xerox Sigma V mainframe and thereby access to the ARPANET. He was also given the freedom to do whatever he wanted with his “spare time” on the network. Long story short, he posted the text file on the network and thereby launched what was to become Project Gutenberg.

With that file, a new age of digital books was launched. In the past 50 years, Project Gutenberg has grown to include more than 60,000 works all freely available in plain text.

It wasn’t just that the network could provide a means to share information, but that we could enjoy that content.

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Access Innovations, the world leader in thesaurus, ontology, and taxonomy creation and metadata application.