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Experimenting with Project Gutenberg

by on October 7, 2013

While reading an issue of American Libraries Direct, one article caught my eye [1]. It discusses tips for using Project Gutenberg. I was intrigued by the advice offered and decided to experiment. I knew about Project Gutenberg but never used it and was unaware of its features. Aside from downloading books to your computer from Project Gutenberg, you can also upload them to a Dropbox or Google Drive account. I liked this feature and wanted to try it. I searched for The Man in the Iron Mask, found the appropriate file format, and clicked on the Drive icon. It was easy to use; the e-book was sitting in My Drive within minutes. However if you are not signed into Drive, you will be prompted to do so. You can even search the site for images using Google, just type “site:gutenberg.org” before the search term. This is great for finding copyright cleared pictures. These are useful tools for librarians seeking to connect patrons with non-traditional resources.

Next, I transferred The Man in the Iron Mask to my Kindle. I downloaded the e-book file (.mobi format) from Google Drive to my computer and saved it. Then, I plugged in my Kindle and clicked on “Open folder to view files.” I was able to see the Kindle’s e-book files displayed in a list, similar to how a flash drive displays files. I then dragged and dropped the .mobi file into the Kindle’s “documents” folder. Initially, this did not appear to work. To check, I ejected my Kindle from the computer (Figure 1) while leaving the USB cable plugged in, and pushed the Kindle’s Home button.

Again, this action is similar when using a flash drive. Sure enough, The Man in the Iron Mask was listed on the home screen (Figure 2). This process takes several steps, but it works. There are many folks like myself who rarely use their devices beyond the basic level. Playing with these gadgets helps librarians discover more about their capabilities, and they can pass on this information to patrons. Experimenting enabled me to expand my tech skills and better appreciate Project Gutenberg. If you have a few minutes, give it a try!

1. Piotr Kowalczyk, “8 tips and tricks to get the most of Project Gutenberg”, E-Book Friendly, July 5, 2013, http://ebookfriendly.com/project-gutenberg-tips-tricks/


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