April 23, 2014

Project Gutenberg Founder, Michael Hart, Has Passed Away

share save 171 16 Project Gutenberg Founder, Michael Hart, Has Passed Away

Some sad news to report.

An info visionary and go-getter, Michael Hart, the founder of Project Gutenberg has passed away at the age of 64.

An obit has been posted on the Project Gutenberg web site.

History books that discuss publishing and information technology will need to devote a sizable amount space to Michael who began Project Gutenberg 40 years ago. That’s right, 40 years ago.

It’s one thing to have an idea, a belief,  but it’s something else to to be devoted to it and energetic about it 40 years later. Michael Hart was.

Here are two passages from obituary written by Greg Newby:

Michael S. Hart left a major mark on the world. The invention of eBooks was not simply a technological innovation or precursor to the modern information environment. A more correct understanding is that eBooks are an efficient and effective way of unlimited free distribution of literature. Access to eBooks can thus provide opportunity for increased literacy. Literacy, the ideas contained in literature, creates opportunity.

In July 2011, Michael wrote these words, which summarize his goals and his lasting legacy: “One thing about eBooks that most people haven’t thought much is that eBooks are the very first thing that we’re all able to have as much as we want other than air. Think about that for a moment and you realize we are in the right job.” He had this advice for those seeking to make literature available to all people, especially children:

Michael S. Hart left a major mark on the world. The invention of eBooks was not simply a technological innovation or precursor to the modern information environment. A more correct understanding is that eBooks are an efficient and effective way of unlimited free distribution of literature. Access to eBooks can thus provide opportunity for increased literacy. Literacy, the ideas contained in literature, creates opportunity.

In July 2011, Michael wrote these words, which summarize his goals and his lasting legacy: “One thing about eBooks that most people haven’t thought much is that eBooks are the very first thing that we’re all able to have as much as we want other than air. Think about that for a moment and you realize we are in the right job.” He had this advice for those seeking to make literature available to all people, especially children:

“Learning is its own reward. Nothing I can say is better than that.”

See Also: “An Interview with Michael Hart” (Project Gutenberg News, 2009)

See Also: “Some Things I Like the Best and the Least About eBooks” (Project Gutenberg News, 2009)

See Also: Chapter 19 From the The Oxford Companion to the Book (via WSJ, 2010)
It ends with a paragraph about Michael Hart.

See Also: “Project Gutenberg Fears No Google” (via WSJ)
A 2005 interview with Michael Hart published by the Wall Street Journal

share save 171 16 Project Gutenberg Founder, Michael Hart, Has Passed Away
Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.