Thursday, June 29, 2017

Over 150 Million Words of Books Now Available Here

I’d think that the vast majority of all the serious writing ever produced exists in the form of books, yet currently there does not seem any fully satisfactory means of reading this huge accumulation of content material on the Internet.
Most of those books currently available are provided in PDF-type format, but this is inconvenient for sustained reading, especially on small-screen devices such as smartphones, and particular parts of PDFs also cannot easily be referenced elsewhere or shared. Meanwhile, closed-design Kindle-type books may not be externally linked, nor is their content generally visible to Google and other search engines. The pure HTML-type books found at Project Gutenberg and other websites either occupy inconveniently large webpages or must be split between numerous separate ones, representing chapters or sections.
Therefore, since the beginning of this year, I have been working on a project to produce a new software system aimed at avoiding these difficulties by presenting even very long books in the form of single HTML webpages, but with the individual chapters or sections hidden by default for reading convenience, but available for display at the click of a mouse. The underlying software technology represented an extension of what I had already developed for the website. As a consequence of my design architecture, the system is extremely fast and responsive, with even books running hundreds of thousands of words reaching your browser in just a second or two, and all subsequent operations usually being almost instantaneous. And unlike books displayed in PDF-type formats, the system should function quite well on smartphones and other mobile devices.
A few features still need to be added and my system is not yet ready for full release, but I’m making it available for initial testing and would welcome any comments or suggestions you might have at this time, obviously including problems or bugs that you notice. While developing the system, I also added over 150 million words of mostly copyright-expired books for development/testing purposes and so that people could get a good sense of the capabilities.
(1) The main bookpage is located at /book/ and the boxes near the top let you display a dynamically filtered “cloud” of the available books grouped to Author or various characteristics. For example, here are the available Authors filtered by the letter “L”
If you click on “Jack London”, you’ll get a list of 49 of his books:

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