Project Gutenberg offers an extensive source of online e-books. This project started through a volunteer effort which aimed to digitize writing works to encourage book publication and distribution through digital means. The e-books provided through project Gutenberg, also termed as PG, are available for free and in a format that can be used in any computer. E-books are available in plain text, HTML, PDF, Plucker, MOBI and EPUB. Most e-books are available in the English language however there are e-books available in other languages also. There are many project affiliated with project Gutenberg and they archive e-books from specific regions or language.
The founder of project Gutenberg is Michael Hart. He began the project in 1971, with the first digital format of a written document – The United States Declaration of Independence. Inspiration to do this occurred when he was a student in the University of Illinois and was allotted unlimited computer time by two friendly operators. Wanting to give something back he created The United States Declaration of Independence in digital format and set a goal to make 10000 most wanted books available in digital form. He named his project after the German printer, Johannes Gutenberg, who initiated the movable type printing revolution.
Over the years, many improvements were made to enhance usability of Project Gutenberg. In 2004, the online catalog was improvised so that users could easily browse and search for the e-books they require. In 2009, Project Gutenberg stated that it has more than 32000 e-books, with an average of more than 50 e-books being added every week. All books available here are copyrighted and added to the site only after there is clear proof of the e-book having got its copyright clearance. Project Gutenberg does not require any new copyright on the e-books that is makes available for readers and allows for their reproduction and distribution.