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July 25, 2019

Historic Books and New Ways to Access Them

Historic Books and New Ways to Access Them

By: Sherri Bonham

I recently came across this lovely book, The Schools of Indiana and the Men who have worked in them, published in 1876. It is shelved in storage in order to slow the effects of light and humidity.

This must be one of the oldest books in our collection. While it is in fragile condition, it is in better condition than one would think for being 143 years old!

The book contains a collection of submissions written by educators and was edited by James H. Smart, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction and published by Wilson, Hinkle & Company in Cincinnati.

I checked WorldCat to see if this book was available elsewhere, and I rediscovered a resource that I had forgotten about, the Internet Archive. According to the website at www.archive.org:

“The Internet Archive, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, is building a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form. Like a paper library, we provide free access to researchers, historians, scholars, the print disabled, and the general public. Our mission is to provide Universal Access to All Knowledge.”

Currently this collection contains:

Because not everyone is close to a library, the Internet Archive scans and provides free access to digital versions of books and other formats.

Books published after 1923 can be checked out through their Open Library site. Books published prior to 1923 are available for download. Either way, this site is very helpful in accessing historic books and many other formats. The image of the cover above was from the Internet Archive, the text of the book was clear, easy to read, and the pages turned as if a person were doing it. Try it out!