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Archive for March, 2013

There is a great website that offers, among many other things, free digitized books and free census records. It is the Internet Archives and is found at http:archives.org. This non-profit digital library has a stated mission of ‘universal access to all knowledge’. It has grown from 40 billion webpages in 2005, which equals 1 petabyte [a petabyte is over 1,000 terabytes] to over 10 petabytes, and it continues to grow.

The Interent Archive allows the public to both upload and download digital material. It’s largest collection is it archive of webpages, The Wayback Machine, which holds over 150+ billion web captures.

My favorite part is the world’s largest book digitalization project.The Internet Archive is working with several libraries to digitize the contents of their holdings. The Allen County Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana is one library that has contributed many digitized genealogy books to the project, another is the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University. Private individuals are invited to scan the public domain books in their personal libraries and upload them as well. 

 The result is a huge resource of books in TXT,  PDF, and other formats, books that you can download to your computer, save, and then search for every word. TXT files do not retain the same formatting  as the originals so Bold, Italics and Underling will be lost. Many of the books available were converted to TXT format by OCR software.  OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition, and means that you can search for a particular word or phrase.

The Internet Archive also provides most books in http, EPUB, Kindle, Daisy, and DjVu formats as well, so the books and documents can be read on almost any ebook reader, computer, iPad, or web browsing capable cell phone.

The Internet Archive also has scanned and digitized the U.S. Census records from 1790 through 1930. There is, however, no index. Small towns can be easily searched a page at a time while cities probably are best searched if you already know the Enumeration Districts involved.

This site is totally free, and has many other valuable functions. They do, however, accept donations through snail mail or pay-pal.

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