5.0336 Project Gutenberg Update (1/90)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Sun, 22 Sep 1991 13:01:51 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 5, No. 0336. Sunday, 22 Sep 1991.
Reposting: Project Gutenberg Update

Date: Sun, 22 Sep 91 09:30:32 CDT
From: "Michael S. Hart" <HART@vmd.cso.uiuc.edu>
Subject: Riding the Growth Curve

As most of you are aware, Project Gutenberg has been doubling its output
every year for twenty years since we first produced a small file with an
electronic copy of the Declaration of Independence back in 1971.

This year we are releasing much larger files each month, planning on two
files a month in 1992, four a month in 1993, etc, until we have produced
and released 10,000 titles in our target year of 2001. So far hardware,
software and volunteers have all kept pace with our plans, and we are on
the right place in our growth curve as planned for the thirty year space
between 1971 and 2001.

So far our plans for hardware advances meshing with our needs have
been right on target. What we didn't plan for was the need for so
much administrivia, accounting, legal, etc. Anyone you could send
our way in any of these areas would be greatly appreciated.

Those of you who have watched the development of Project Gutenberg
over the years have been aware that it has basically been paid for
out of pocket and operated in a very unofficial manner, without an
official relationship with the University of Illinois, or even one
with Illinois Benedictine College until a little over a year ago.

This year we have already distribed more etexts, and to more users
than in our entire previous history. Thus you may also be aware I
am not going to be able to continue to keep things running in this
manner for much longer.

Many of our categories are running as smoothly as possible, a true
reflection of the support and planning which has gone into Project
Gutenberg over the two previous decades. Etexts are coming in and
the present time is undoubtedly the last in which I could ever say
I have been directly involved in the creation of half the etext we
have posted. From now on, until we can find someone else who will
shoulder admistrative responsbilities, I will be more adminstrator
than etext producer, a situation I would love to see remedied. In
the current batch of etexts we are sending out this year, I have a
direct role in only half of them, though of course I have to edit,
proofread and send each etext to other editors and proofreaders.

I enjoy the creation and distribution of etext much more than this
admistrative position, in which I fear sinking without much trace,
into the quagmire of legalese and accounting. If anyone adopted a
portion of all of Project Gutenberg into an organization that is a
present doer of all the legal and accounting stuff, then perhaps I
could return to concentrating on the creation and the distribution
of etext, as oppposed to. . . .

Surely there must be a library, college or corporation out there--
one who could put us under their wing, protect us from the heebie-
jeebies, and just let us continue distributing what we hope should
be a total of ten thousand titles to one hundred million users for
a total of one trillion dollars' worth if we value each at $1.

All suggestions are welcome. As some of you are aware the project
is taking all my time and energy these days, and I am invited to a
conference to speak about Project Gutenberg about every six weeks,
which has been fun and worthwhile, and perhaps helped me keep this
small grasp on sanity, but nevertheless is a little exhausting and
of course the email and work piles up when I am gone.

I hope you realize the doubling the output of Project Gutenberg is
a growth curve no individual could ride for more than just another
year or so, without massive support to stay in the saddle; that is
really all I have to do, as support in the creation of etexts, our
hardware and software, and all other areas, is doing quite well.

For those of you who for whom I have not yet made this clear, both
my apologies for not doing so, and also not to worry, as it should
become clear in the next few months before our 21st anniversary on
March 21, 1992.

| The trend of library policy is clearly toward
| the ideal of making all information available
| without delay to all people.
|The Software Toolworks Illustrated Encyclopedia (TM)
|(c) 1990 Grolier Electronic Publishing, Inc.

Thank you for your interest,

Michael S. Hart, Director, Project Gutenberg
National Clearinghouse for Machine Readable Texts

The views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect
the views of any person or institution. Neither Prof
Hart nor Project Gutenberg have any official contacts
with the University of Illinois.