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Old 07-26-2007, 11:54 PM   #1
RWood
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Posts: 7,233
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Virginia, USA
Device: Sony PRS-500
Harvard Classics Series Now Complete

The final three volumes of the Harvard Classics (HC) series have now been posted and Bob Russell asked me to explain a bit about the series and the production of the series.

First, for those of you not familiar with the HC, they were assembled under the Editorship of Charles W. Eliot, past President of Harvard College. Called “the five foot shelf of books” they consist of 49 volumes drawn from the greatest writing then available in English. The subjects range from travel, to science, to myth, to biography, to folk tales, to plays, to history, to religion, to poetry, to … every area of civilization and humanity. Originally published from 1909 to 1917, it stayed in print for many years and is still available used for prices upwards to $2,500.

On the Internet there have been several sources available that offered all or part of the series. The Portable Harvard Classics started and posted a several volumes before going dark. Recently another site has offered PDF files of the first seven or so volumes divided into individual books within each volume for a fee. Each book does have unique original cover art and he says the cost is just to cover his bandwidth.

The only full HC set until now has been at Bartleby. They have the complete series on line for no charge. They also have extensive advertising surrounding the text and the site will leave a number of tracking cookies and adware on your computer if your security settings are not high enough. They also have many other great reference works available on line.

Some individual books and one complete volume are also available at Project Gutenberg.

For sources I used available indexes of the series, texts from Project Gutenberg, electronic copies of some works that were emailed to me, and imaged copies of the series from the Internet Archives. They have PDF copies of most of the volumes along with sometimes questionable quality OCR versions of the images.

For proofing the text I used the PDF images, Bartleby, and several books I have around here including my late Uncle’s old college text of English poetry. Most work was done in MS Word (often using Stingo’s Word Macro) and then transferred to BookDesigner 5.0 (BD) via DOC, RTF, or HTML depending upon the source material. In BD the links for the notes were created and checked, the titles and subtitles fixed, and the front pages arranged. On most volumes the series seal is included on the title page as well as the MobileRead logo and the “mobileread.com” name.

The covers were created in Corel Draw and feature the Harvard seal in the center with the title above it in Wilke font. At the bottom of the page is the MobileRead logo again and the “mobileread.com” name.

The series is now complete for the Sony Reader BBeB/LRF users. I will post the missing volumes for the MobiPocket users by the end of the weekend. The first volume posted at MobileRead was on 15 April 07 so the whole project took about three and one-half months.

I have learned a lot over the course of creating these volumes and I want to thank all of you for your assistance, support, and karma. Special thanks to Bob Russell for encouraging me throughout the process and to Alex for hosting the books.
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