Library and wiki thoughts
I was going to post in the "Reading Recommendations" forum, asking if a guide to significant authors of the past (works in PD) and their works existed online. A survey that could be used to find areas of interest and "great works" - fiction and non-fiction; things that "should" be read or one might want to read. I imagined it contained a short summary of each author, and an intro into each work included; perhaps with recommended reading order and links to other related authors or works. It would include "higher level" discussions, tying together authors (or distinguishing them), according to era, stages in development of a genre, similarities in style or thought - a way to find areas of interest and great authors that were active in that area. In general, a guide that would be useful as a survey and map for readers to find their way through the growing riches of public domain writing (I would say "literature", but evidently that does not include nonfiction).
Then I thought about this in relation to the library here at MR. Looking at the epub forum and its threads, I found some existing bonuses and some opportunities.
For example, many first posts contain not only the epub, but also a short author bio and a summary of the book in the body of the post - this is excellent IMHO. I think it would also be useful to have this type of information available outside the post for a particular work; maybe in the form of a new wiki of authors and their works that pointed to the uploaded epub files, maybe as a separate forum post. I have checked Wikipedia entries for a few authors just now, and this seems to be already thoroughly done there, often having a PG text among the external links.
Also, the MR library has some searching, filtering, and sorting criteria: format (epub, etc) filter, genre filter, author's name and work title (sort), date of posting (sort), uploader (sort). I think it would be good to have more, including the date of original publication (sort), the language the text is in (filter), author's name (filter). Thinking about this reminds me of the metadata that may be present in an epub.
Sorry for the rambling. To summarize, I am interested in exploring new reading areas (and revisiting works I read so long ago I have forgotten them); a friendly guide to potentially profitable areas would be greatly welcome.