From 1971 to 2010 > Booknology, an ebook timeline >
The electronic book (ebook) was born in 1971, as eText #1 of Project Gutenberg, a visionary project created by Michael Hart to freely disseminate electronic versions of literary works. 40 years later, ebooks are part of our lives. We read them on our computers, PDAs, mobile phones, smartphones, and ebook readers. A text version of this Booknology is available in Project Gutenberg <http://www.gutenberg.org> and in ManyBooks.net <http://manybooks.net>.
[Updated version, December 2010.]
July 1971 > Project Gutenberg, a visionary project >
Project Gutenberg was launched in July 1971 by Michael Hart to create free electronic versions of literary works and disseminate them worldwide. In the 16th century, Gutenberg allowed anyone to have print books for a small cost. In the 21st century, Project Gutenberg would allow anyone to have a digital library at no cost. Project Gutenberg got its first boost with the invention of the web in 1990, and its second boost with the creation of Distributed Proofreaders in 2000, to share the proofreading of ebooks between hundreds of volunteers. In 2010, Project Gutenberg offered more than 33,000 ebooks being downloaded by the tens of thousands every day, with websites in the United States, in Australia, in Europe, and in Canada.
1974 > The Internet took off >
When Project Gutenberg started in July 1971, the internet was just a glimmer. The internet took off in 1974 with the creation of the TCP/IP protocol by Vinton Cerf and Bob Kahn. It expanded as a network linking U.S. governmental agencies, universities, and research centers. The internet got its first boost with the invention of the web by Tim Berners-Lee in 1990, and its second boost with the release of Mosaic as the first public browser in 1993. The Internet Society was founded in 1992 by Vinton Cerf to promote the development of the internet.
1977 > ASCII extensions for a few European languages >
ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) is a 7-bit coded character set for information interchange in English. It was published in 1968 by ANSI (American National Standards Institute). The 7-bit plain ASCII, also called Plain Vanilla ASCII, is a set of 128 characters with 95 printable unaccented characters (A-Z, a-z, numbers, punctuation, basic symbols), the ones that are available on the English / American keyboard. With the use of other European languages, extensions of ASCII (also called ISO-8859 or ISO-Latin) were created in 1977 and 1986 as sets of 256 characters taking into account accented characters as found for example in French, Spanish, and German.
1977 > UNIMARC, a common bibliographic format >
The IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations) published the first edition of "UNIMARC: Universal MARC Format" in 1977, followed by a second edition in 1980 and a UNIMARC Handbook in 1983. UNIMARC (Universal Machine Readable Cataloging) was set up as a solution to the 20 existing national MARC formats, with a lack of compatibility and extensive editing when bibliographic records were exchanged. With UNIMARC, catalogers would be able to process records created in any MARC format. Records in one MARC format would first be converted into UNIMARC, and then be converted into another MARC format. UNIMARC would also be promoted as a format on its own.
1984 > Copyleft, to adapt copyright to the internet >
The term "copyleft" was invented in 1984 by Richard Stallman, a computer scientist at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), who launched the GNU Project. As explained on its website: "Copyleft is a general method for making a program or other work free, and requiring all modified and extended versions of the program to be free as well. (...) Copyleft says that anyone who redistributes the software, with or without changes, must pass along the freedom to further copy and change it. Copyleft guarantees that every user has freedom. (...) Copyleft is a way of using of the copyright on the program. It doesn't mean abandoning the copyright. (...) The GNU Free Documentation License (FDL) is a form of copyleft intended for use on a manual, textbook or other document to assure everyone the effective freedom to copy and redistribute it, with or without modifications, either commercially or non commercially."
1984 > The Psion Organiser was the first electronic agenda >
Launched in 1984 by the British company Psion, the Psion Organiser was the first electronic agenda. Later on, Psion launched the Psion Series 3 and Series 5, and the company expanded internationally. In 2000, the various models (Series 7, Series 5mx, Revo, Revo Plus) competed with the Palm Pilot and the Pocket PC. With fewer sales, the company decided to diversify its activities. Following the acquisition of Teklogix, Psion Teklogix was created in September 2000 to develop wireless mobile solutions for businesses. Psion Software was founded in 2001 to develop software for the new generation of mobile devices using the Symbian OS platform, for example the smartphone Nokia 9210, launched the same year. [The Psion Organiser II, photo from Wikipedia licensed under Creative Commons.]
1986 > Franklin launched dictionaries on handheld devices >
Franklin, a company based in New Jersey (United States), launched in 1986 the first dictionary available on a handheld device. Fifteen years later, Franklin distributed 200 reference books on handheld machines: monolingual and bilingual dictionaries, encyclopedias, Bibles, textbooks, medical books, and books for entertainment. [The Franklin Global Translator, from the website of Franklin.]
1990 > The World Wide Web took off >
The World Wide Web was invented in 1989-90 by Tim Berners-Lee at CERN (European Center for Nuclear Research, that later became the European Organization for Nuclear Research), Geneva, Switzerland. In 1989, Tim Berners-Lee networked documents using hypertext. In 1990, he developed the first HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol) server and the first web browser. In 1991, the web was operational and radically changed the way people were using the internet. Hypertext links allowed us to move from one textual or visual document to another with a simple click of the mouse. Information became interactive. Later on, this interactivity was further enhanced with hypermedia links that could link texts and images with graphics, video or music. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) was founded in October 1994 to develop protocols for the web.
January 1991 > Unicode, an encoding system for all languages >
First published in January 1991, Unicode “provides a unique number for every character, no matter what the platform, no matter what the program, no matter what the language” (excerpt from the website). This double-byte platform-independent encoding provides a basis for the processing, storage and interchange of text data in any language. Unicode is maintained by the Unicode Consortium, with its variants UTF-8 (UTF: Unicode Transformation Format), UTF-16 and UTF-32, and is a component of the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) specifications. In 2008, 50% of all the documents available on the internet were encoded in Unicode, with the other 50% still encoded in ASCII, a 7-byte encoding system dating back from 1968 for English and Latin, with 8-byte “extensions” added then for a few European languages.
January 1993 > The Online Books Page, a catalog of free ebooks >
Founded in 1993 by John Mark Ockerbloom while he was a student at Carnegie Mellon University (in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States), The Online Books Page is "a website that facilitates access to books that are freely readable over the internet. It also aims to encourage the development of such online books, for the benefit and edification of all." John Mark Ockerbloom first maintained this page on the website of the School of Computer Science of Carnegie Mellon University. In 1999, he moved it to its present location at the University of Pennsylvania Library, where he is a digital library planner and researcher. The Online Books Page offered links to 12,000 books in 1999, 20,000 books in 2003 (including 4,000 books published by women), 25,000 books in 2006, 30,000 books in 2008, and 35,000 books in 2010. The FAQ gives copyright information for most countries in the world, with links to further reading.
June 1993 > PDF and Acrobat Reader, launched by Adobe >
Adobe launched PDF (Portable Document Format) in June 1993, with Acrobat Reader (free, to read PDF documents) and Adobe Acrobat (for a fee, to create PDF documents). As the “veteran” format, PDF was perfected over the years as a global standard for distribution and viewing of information. It “lets you capture and view robust information from any application, on any computer system and share it with anyone around the world. Individuals, businesses, and government agencies everywhere trust and rely on Adobe PDF to communicate their ideas and vision” (excerpt from the website). Adobe Acrobat gave the tools to create and view PDF files, for a number of languages and platforms (Windows, Mac, Linux). Acrobat Reader was available for PDAs, beginning with the Palm Pilot (May 2001) and the Pocket PC (December 2001). Between 1993 and 2003, over 500 million copies of Acrobat Reader were downloaded worldwide.
July 1993 > The E-zine-list, a list of electronic zines >
As explained in 1993 by John Labovitz, founder of the E-zine-list: "'Zine' is short for either 'fanzine' or 'magazine', depending on your point of view. Zines are generally produced by one person or a small group of people, done often for fun or personal reasons, and tend to be irreverent, bizarre, and/or esoteric. (…) An 'e-zine' is a zine that is distributed partially or solely on electronic networks like the internet." 3,045 e-zines were listed in November 1998, with e-zines spreading like fire. "Even the term 'e-zine' has been co-opted by the commercial world, and has come to mean nearly any type of publication distributed electronically. Yet there is still the original, independent fringe, who continue to publish from their heart, or push the boundaries of what we call a 'zine'."
November 1993 > Mosaic was the first public browser >
Developed by NSCA (National Center for Supercomputing Applications) at the University of Illinois (United States) and distributed free of charge since November 1993, Mosaic was the first browser for the general public, and contributed greatly to the development of the web. In early 1994, part of the Mosaic team migrated to the Netscape Communications Corporation to develop a new browser called Netscape Navigator. In 1995, Microsoft launched its own browser Internet Explorer. Other browsers were launched then, like Opera and Safari, Apple's browser. [A mosaic, photo in public domain from Wikipedia.]
February 1994 > The first library website >
The first library website was the website of the Helsinki City Library in Finland, which went live in February 1994. From then on, more and more traditional libraries had a website as a new “virtual” window for their patrons and beyond. Patrons could check opening hours, browse the online catalog, and surf on a broad selection of websites on various topics. Libraries developed digital libraries alongside their standard collections, for a large audience to be able to access their specialized, old, local, and regional collections, including images and sound. Librarians could finally fulfill two goals that used to be in contradiction: preservation on shelves, and communication on the internet. Library treasures went online, like Beowulf, the earliest known narrative poem in English, dated circa 1000, or the original Bible from Gutenberg, dated 1455, on the website of the British Library.
May 1994 > The Human-Languages Page, an online catalog of linguistic resources >
Created by Tyler Chambers in May 1994, the Human-Languages Page (H-LP) was a comprehensive catalog of 1,800 language-related internet resources in 100 languages in September 1998, with six subject listings (languages and literature, schools and institutions, linguistics resources, products and services, organizations, jobs and internships) and two category listings (dictionaries, language lessons). In spring 2001, the Human-Languages Page merged with the Languages Catalog, a section of the WWW Virtual Library, to become iLoveLanguages, with an index of 2,000 linguistic resources in 100 languages in September 2003, and 2,400 linguistic resources in September 2007.
1994 > Athena, a Swiss multilingual digital library >
Athena was founded in 1994 by Pierre Perroud, a Swiss teacher, and hosted on the website of the University of Geneva, Switzerland. Athena was a multilingual digital library specializing in philosophy, science, literature, history, and economics, either by digitizing documents or by providing links to existing etexts. The Helvetia section provided documents about Switzerland. Geneva being the main city in French-speaking Switzerland, Athena also provided a section for French-language texts. A specific page offered an extensive selection of other digital libraries worldwide, with relevant links.
1994 > NAP: free digital versions as a marketing tool to sell print books >
NAP (National Academy Press) was the first publisher in 1994 to post the full text of some of its books on its website, for free, with the authors' consent, and to use the web as a marketing tool to sell print versions. NAP was created by the National Academy of Sciences to publish its own reports and the ones of the National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine, and the National Research Council. In 1994, NAP was publishing 200 new books a year in science, engineering, and health. Oddly enough, there was no drop in sales for books also available for free on the web. On the contrary, sales increased. In 1998, the new NAP Reading Room offered 1,000 free digital versions in various formats ("image", HTML, PDF).
1995 > The MIT Press followed NAP >
In 1995, the MIT Press was publishing 200 new books per year and 40 journals, in science and technology, architecture, social theory, economics, cognitive science, and computational science. The MIT Press decided to put a number of books online for free, as “a long-term commitment to the efficient and creative use of new technologies”. Sales of print books with a free online version increased. This initiative was praised by other publishers. But they were reluctant to launch similar experiences because of the cost of publishing online thousands of pages, problems linked to copyright, and the fear of free versions “competing” with print sales.
1995 > The Internet Dictionary Project: collaborative dictionaries on the internet >
After launching the Human-Languages Page (H-LP) in May 1994, Tyler Chambers launched the Internet Dictionary Project (IDP) in 1995. The IDP was a collaborative project to create free online dictionaries from English to other languages (French, German, Italian, Latin, Portuguese, Spanish). As explained on the project's website in September 1998: “The Internet Dictionary Project's goal is to create royalty-free translating dictionaries through the help of the internet's citizens. This site allows individuals from all over the world to visit and assist in the translation of English words into other languages.” Twelve years later, in January 2007, Tyler ran out of time to manage this project, and removed the ability to update the dictionaries, but people could still search the available dictionaries or download the archived files.
1995 > NetGlos, a collaborative online glossary of the internet >
Launched in 1995 by the WorldWide Language Institute (WWLI), an institute providing language instruction via the web, NetGlos - which stands for "Multilingual Glossary of Internet Terminology" - was compiled as a voluntary, collaborative project by a number of translators and other language professionals. In September 1998, NetGlos was available in the following languages: Chinese, Croatian, English, Dutch/Flemish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Maori, Norwegian, Portuguese, and Spanish. [A view of multicultural Los Angeles, by Henk Slettenhaar, copyrighted.]
1995 > The print press went online in the U.S. >
The first electronic versions of print newspapers were available in the early 1990s through commercial services like America Online and CompuServe. In 1995, newspapers and magazines began offering websites with a partial or full version of their latest issue, for free or for a fee, and online archives. For example, the site of The New York Times could be accessed free of charge, with articles of the print daily newspaper, breaking news updated every ten minutes, and original reporting only available online. The site of The Washington Post gave the daily news online, with a full database of articles, including images, sound, and videos. The computer press went logically online as well, like the monthly Wired, created in 1992 in California to cover cyberculture as "the magazine of the future at the avant-garde of the 21st century".
1995 > The print press went online worldwide >
In Europe, for example, the daily Times (United Kingdom) and the Sunday Times launched in 1995 a common website called Times Online, with a way to create a personalized edition. The weekly The Economist (United Kingdom) went online as well, followed by the weekly Le Monde Diplomatique (France), the daily Le Monde (France), the daily Libération (France), the daily El País (Spain), the weekly Focus (Germany), and the weekly Der Spiegel (Germany).
July 1995 > Amazon.com, a pioneer of cyber-commerce >
The online bookstore Amazon.com was launched by Jeff Bezos in July 1995, in Seattle (United States), after a market study which led him to conclude that books were the best products to sell on the internet. When Amazon.com started, it had 10 employees and a catalog of 3 million books. Unlike traditional bookstores, Amazon's windows were its webpages, with all transactions made through the internet. Books were stored in huge storage facilities before being put into boxes and sent by mail. In November 2000, Amazon had 7,500 employees, a catalog of 28 million items, 23 million clients worldwide and four subsidiaries in the United Kingdom (launched in August 1998), Germany (August 1998), France (August 2000), and Japan (November 2000). A fifth subsidiary opened in Canada in June 2002. A sixth subsidiary, named Joyo, opened in China in September 2004.
December 1995 > The Kotoba Home Page, to read several languages on the computer screen >
Yoshi Mikami, a computer scientist at Asia Info Network in Fujisawa, Japan, launched in December 1995 the website "The Languages of the World by Computers and the Internet", also known as the Logos Home Page or Kotoba Home Page, "to summarize there the brief history, linguistic and phonetic features, writing system and computer processing aspects for each of the six major languages of the world, in English and Japanese". Yoshi was also the co-author (with Kenji Sekine and Nobutoshi Kohara) of "The Multilingual Web Guide" (Japanese edition), a print book published by O'Reilly Japan in August 1997, and translated in 1998 into English, French, and German. [Image from Wikipedia, in public domain.]
March 1996 > The Palm Pilot was the first PDA >
Palm, a company based in California, launched the Palm Pilot in March 1996 as the first PDA, and sold 23 million devices between 1996 and 2002. Its operating system was the Palm OS and its reading software the Palm Reader. In March 2001, Palm bought Peanutpress.com, a company specializing in digital books for PDAs, as well as its Peanut Reader and 2,000 titles that were transferred to Palm's digital bookstore, called Palm Digital Media. While some book professionals were concerned about the small screen, Palm users found the screen size was not a problem to read a book. [Photo from Wikipedia, licensed under Creative Commons.]
April 1996 > The Internet Archive, to archive the web every two months or so >
Founded in April 1996 by Brewster Kahle, the Internet Archive is a non-profit organization that has built an "internet library" to offer permanent access to historical collections in digital format for researchers, historians, and scholars. An archive of the web is stored every two months or so. In late 1999, the Internet Archive started to include collections of archived webpages on specific topics. It also became an online digital library of text, audio, software, image, and video content. In October 2001, with 30 billion stored webpages, the Internet Archive launched the Wayback Machine, for users to be able to surf the archive of the web by date. In 2004, there were 300 terabytes of data, with a growth of 12 terabytes per month. There were 65 billion webpages (from 50 million websites) in 2006, 85 billion webpages in 2008, and 150 billion webpages in March 2010.
April 1996 > OneLook Dictionaries, a "fast finder' in online dictionaries >
Robert Ware launched his website OneLook Dictionaries in April 1996 as a "fast finder" in hundreds of online dictionaries. On September 2, 1998, the fast finder could "browse" 2,058,544 words in 425 dictionaries covering various topics: business, computer/internet, medical, miscellaneous, religion, science, sports, technology, general, and slang. OneLook Dictionaries was provided as a free service by the company Study Technologies, in Englewood, Colorado. OneLook Dictionaries could browse 2,5 million words from 530 dictionaries in 2000, 5 million words from 910 dictionaries in 2003, and 19 million words from 1,060 dictionaries in 2010.
May 1996 > DAISY, a standard for digital audiobooks >
Founded in May 1996, the DAISY Consortium (DAISY first meant "Digital Audio Information System" before meaning "Digital Accessible Information System") is an international consortium responsible for the transition from analog audiobooks available on tapes or cassettes to digital audiobooks. Its task was to define an international standard, to set up the conditions for the production exchange and use of audiobooks, and to organize the digitization of audiobooks worldwide. The DAISY standard is based on the DTB (Digital Talking Book) format, which allows the indexing of audiobooks with bookmarks for paragraphs, pages, and chapters, to make it easier to navigate through the books. [A reel-to-reel recorder, from Wikipedia, licensed under Creative Commons.]
October 1996 > The @folio project, for a novel reading device >
The @folio project is a reading device conceived in October 1996 by Pierre Schweitzer, an architect-designer living in Strasbourg, France. It is meant to download and read any text and/or illustrations from the web or hard disk, in any format, with no proprietary format and no DRM. The technology of @folio is novel and simple. It is inspired from fax and tab file folders. The flash memory is "printed" like Gutenberg printed his books. The facsimile mode is readable as is for any content, from sheet music to mathematical or chemical formulas, with no conversion necessary, whether it is handwritten text, calligraphy, free hand drawing, or non-alphabetical writing. An international patent was filed in April 2001. The French start-up iCodex was created in July 2002 to promote and develop @folio. [Image from the website of iCodex, copyrighted.]
1996 > A web version for the Ethnologue, a catalog of all living languages >
Published by SIL International (SIL: Summer Institute of Linguistics) since 1951, and freely available on the web since 1996, "The Ethnologue: Languages of the World" is an encyclopedic reference work cataloging all living languages. As stated by Barbara Grimes, its editor from 1971 to 2000: "It is a catalog of the languages of the world, with information about where they are spoken, an estimate of the number of speakers, what language family they are in, alternate names, names of dialects, other socio-linguistic and demographic information, dates of published Bibles, a name index, a language family index, and language maps." Thousands of linguists have contributed to the Ethnologue worldwide. A new edition is published approximately every four years. The 16th edition was published in 2009, in print (for sale) and on the web (for free), with information on the 6,909 living languages of our planet.
1996 > Merriam-Webster Online >
Merriam-Webster, a main publisher of English-language dictionaries, launched the website "Merriam-Webster Online: The Language Center" in 1996 to give free access to online resources stemming from its print publications: Webster Dictionary, Webster Thesaurus, Webster's Third (a lexical landmark), Guide to International Business Communications, Vocabulary Builder (with interactive vocabulary quizzes), and the Barnhart Dictionary Companion (hot new words). The goal of the website has also been to help track down definitions, spellings, pronunciations, synonyms, vocabulary exercises, and other key facts about words and language.
1996 > A main French-language dictionary online >
The "Dictionnaire Universel Francophone en Ligne" (Universal French-Language Online Dictionary) was the web version of the" Dictionnaire Universel Francophone" published by Hachette, a major publishing house, and the the AUPELF-UREF (that became the AUF: Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie – University Agency of Francophony). The dictionary included not only standard French but also the French-language words and expressions used worldwide. French is an official language in 50 countries, for 500 million people worldwide. As a side remark, English and French are the only official and/or cultural languages that are widely spread on five continents.
1996 > Digitalization >
“Digitalization has made it possible to create, record, manipulate, combine, store, retrieve and transmit information and information-based products in ways which magnetic tape, celluloid and paper did not permit. Digitalization thus allows music, cinema and the written word to be recorded and transformed through similar processes and without distinct material supports. Previously dissimilar industries, such as publishing and sound recording, now both produce CD-ROM, rather than simply books and records” (excerpt from the Proceedings of the ILO Symposium on Multimedia Convergence, January 1997). In book publishing, digitization speeded up the editorial process, which used to be sequential, by allowing the copy editor, the image editor and the layout staff to work at the same time on the same book. [A meeting of the Swiss Silicon Valley Association (SVA), by Henk Slettenhaar, copyrighted photo.]
January 1997 > The multimedia convergence >
Previously distinct information-based industries, such as printing, publishing, graphic design, media, sound recording, and film making, were converging into one industry, with information as a common product. This trend was named "multimedia convergence", with a massive loss of jobs, and a serious enough issue to be tackled by the ILO (International Labor Organization) as early as 1997. The first ILO Symposium on Multimedia Convergence was held in January 1997 at the ILO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, with employers, unionists, and government representatives from all over the world. Some participants, mostly employers, demonstrated the information society was generating or would generate jobs. Other participants, mostly unionists, demonstrated there was a rise in unemployment worldwide, that should be addressed right away through investment, innovation, vocational training, computer literacy, retraining, and fair labor rights, including for teleworkers.
042 > April 1997 > E Ink, for the development of an electronic ink >
In April 1997, researchers at the MIT Media Lab (MIT: Massachusetts Institute of Technology) created the company E Ink to develop an electronic ink technology. Very briefly, the technology is the following one: caught between two sheets of flexible plastic, millions of micro-capsules, each of them containing black and white particles, are in suspension in a clear fluid. A positive or negative electric field indicates the desired group of particles on the surface, to view, modify or delete data. In July 2002, E Ink showed the prototype of the first screen using this technology. This screen was marketed in 2004. Other screens followed for various reading devices, including the first black and white flexible displays announcing the forthcoming "electronic paper".
May 1997 > Barnes & Noble launched its own online bookstore >
Barnes & Noble, a leading bookseller with 481 stores nationwide in the United States, entered the world of e-commerce in 1997. Barnes & Noble first launched its America OnLine (AOL) website in March 1997 - as the exclusive bookseller for 12 million AOL customers -, before launching its own website in May 1997. The site offered reviews from authors and publishers, with a catalog of 630,000 titles available for immediate shipping, and significant discounts: 30% off all in-stock hardcovers, 20% off all in-stock paperbacks, 40% off select titles, and up to 90% off bargain books. Its Affiliate Network spread quickly, with 12,000 affiliate websites in May 1998, including CNN Interactive, Lycos, and ZDNet.
June 1997 > 82.3% English-speaking internet users >
The percentage of English-speaking internet users decreased from nearly 100% in 1983 to 82.3% in June 1997. People from all over the world began to have access to the internet, and to post more and more webpages in their own languages. The first major study about language distribution on the web was run by Babel, a joint initiative from Alis Technologies and the Internet Society. The results were published in June 1997 on a webpage named "Web Languages Hit Parade". The main languages were English with 82.3%, German with 4.0%, Japanese with 1.6%, French with 1.5%, Spanish with 1.1%, Swedish with 1.1%, and Italian with 1.0%. [A portrait of Shakespeare, from Wikipedia.]
1997 > The digitization of print books >
In 1997, a digital book meant scanning it, because most books existed only in print. To be viewed on the screen, a digitized book can be in "image format" or "text format". The “image format” is the photograph of the book page by page, as the digital facsimile of the print version. The original layout is preserved, and one can leaf through the book on the screen. The text format means scanning the book to get image files, then converting these image files into text files using OCR software, and if possible, as a second step, correcting the text on the screen by comparing both versions. A good OCR software is 99% reliable, leaving a few errors per page. The text version of the book doesn't retain the original layout of the book or page. It allows a full-text search in the book, a main asset for an electronic book. [A scanned page, from the website of iCodex.]
1997 > The Library 2000 project >
Since the mid-1990s, libraries were studying how to store an enormous amount of data and make it available on the internet through a reliable search engine. Library 2000 was a project run between 1995 and 1998 by the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science to explore the implications of large scale online storage, using the digital library of the future as an example. It developed a prototype using the technology and system configurations expected to be economically feasible in 2000. Another project was the Digital Library Initiative, supported by grants from NSF (National Science Foundation), DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), and NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration). As mentioned on its website in 1998: "The Initiative's focus is to dramatically advance the means to collect, store, and organize information in digital forms, and make it available for searching, retrieval, and processing via communication networks - all in user-friendly ways."
1997 > A digital library project for the British Library >
The British Library was a pioneer in Europe as early as 1997. As explained on its website by Brian Lang, chief executive of the library: "We do not envisage an exclusively digital library. We are aware that some people feel that digital materials will predominate in libraries of the future. Others anticipate that the impact will be slight. (…) The development of the Digital Library will enable the British Library to embrace the digital information age. Digital technology will be used to preserve and extend the Library's unparalleled collection. Access to the collection will become boundless with users from all over the world, at any time, having simple, fast access to digitized materials using computer networks, particularly the internet."
October 1997 > Gallica, the digital library of the French National Library >
The French National Library (BnF: Bibliothèque nationale de France) launched its digital library Gallica in October 1997 as an experimental project to offer digitized texts and images from print collections relating to French history, life and culture, beginning with the 19th century. It quickly became one of the largest digital libraries available on the internet. The books ranged from the Middle Ages to the early 20th century, and were digitized as image files, for cost reasons. In December 2006, the Gallica collection included 90,000 books and periodicals, 80,000 images, and dozens of hours of sound files. Gallica also began converting image files of books into text files, to allow full-text searching. In March 2010, Gallica reached one million documents, most of which were available for free.
1997 > The first blog >
A blog is an online diary kept by a person or a group. A blog usually is in reverse chronological order, an can be updated every minute or once per month. The first blog was launched in 1997. In July 2005, there were 14 million blogs worldwide, with 80,000 new blogs per day. Technorati, the first blog search engine, gave the number of 65 million blogs in December 2006, with 175,000 new blogs per day. Some blogs are devoted to photos (photoblogs), music (audioblogs or podcasts), and videos (vlogs or videoblogs).
1997 > Eurodicautom, a European terminology database in 12 languages >
Eurodicautom was launched in 1997 as a free website by the Translation Service of the European Commission. Eurodicautom was a multilingual terminology database of economic, scientific, technical, and legal terms and expressions, with language pairs for the eleven official languages of the European Union (Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish), and Latin, and with an average of 120,000 hits per day in 2003. In late 2003, Eurodicautom announced its integration into a larger terminology database in partnership with other institutions of the European Union. The new database – called IATE (InterActive Terminology for Europe) - would be available in more than 20 languages, because of the enlargement of the European Union planned in 2004 towards Eastern Europe. IATE was launched in 2007.
1997 > The interface of Yahoo! available in seven languages >
In 1997, the interface of Yahoo! was available in seven languages: English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, and Swedish, with websites classified in 63 sections. Yahoo! was launched three years earlier by David Filo and Jerry Lang, two students at Stanford University, California, as an online directory to give access to websites and sort them out by topics. The directory quickly became quite popular because people found it more handy than search engines like AltaVista, where these tasks were fully automated. However, when a search didn't give any result in Yahoo!, it was automatically shunted to AltaVista, and vice versa.
December 1997 > Babel Fish, the first free machine translation software >
In December 1997, AltaVista was the first search engine to launch a free machine translation software called Babel Fish – or AltaVista Translation -, which could translate up to three pages from English into French, German, Italian, Portuguese or Spanish, and vice versa. The software was developed by SYSTRAN (acronym of "System Translation"), a company specializing in automated language solutions. Babel Fish was a hit among the 12 million internet users of the time, with more and more non-English-speaking users, and contributed to the plurilinguism of the web. Babel Fish was followed by other tools developed by Alis Technologies, Globalink, Lernout & Hauspie, and Softissimo, with free and/or paid versions available on the web.
December 1997 > The translation tools of Logos for free on the web >
In December 1997, Logos – a global translation company based in Modena, Italy - decided to put on the web for free the linguistic tools used by its translators, for the internet community to be able to use them as well. The linguistic tools were the Logos Dictionary, a multilingual dictionary with 7 billion words in fall 1998; the Logos Wordtheque, a multilingual library with 328 billion words extracted from translated novels, technical manuals, and other texts; the Logos Linguistic Resources, a database of 553 glossaries; and the Logos Universal Conjugator, a database for verbs in 17 languages. In 2007, the Logos Library (formerly Wordtheque) included 710 billion words, Linguistic Resources included 1,215 glossaries, and the Universal Conjugator (formerly Conjugation of Verbs) included verbs in 36 languages.
1998 > The online database of the first volume of the Encyclopédie (1751) >
In 1998, the database of the first volume of the Encyclopédie (1751) was available online, as an experimental project from ARTFL (American and French Research on the Treasury of the French Language), a common project of the CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - National Scientific Research Center) in France and the University of Chicago in Illinois (United States). This online experiment was a first step towards a full online version of the first edition (1751-1772) of the Encyclopédie by Diderot and d'Alembert, with 72,000 articles written by more than 140 contributors - including Voltaire, Rousseau, Marmontel, d'Holbach, Turgot, and others -, 17 volumes of text (with 20,736,912 words and 18,000 pages), and 11 volumes of plates.
April 1998 > The dream behind the web, by Tim Berners-Lee, its inventor >
Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the web in 1990, wrote in May 1998: "The dream behind the web is of a common information space in which we communicate by sharing information. Its universality is essential: the fact that a hypertext link can point to anything, be it personal, local or global, be it draft or highly polished. There was a second part of the dream, too, dependent on the web being so generally used that it became a realistic mirror (or in fact the primary embodiment) of the ways in which we work and play and socialize. That was that once the state of our interactions was online, we could then use computers to help us analyze it, make sense of what we are doing, where we individually fit in, and how we can better work together" (excerpt from "The World Wide Web: A very short personal history", available on the website of the World Wide Web Consortium). [Photo by Claude Rayon, copyrighted.]
May 1998 > Editions 00h00, a pioneer in online publishing >
Editions 00h00 (pronounced “zéro heure”) was created in May 1998 by Jean-Pierre Arbon and Bruno de Sa Moreira, as a pioneer in commercial online publishing, to sell digital books through the internet. In 2000, the catalog included 600 titles, with 85% of sales for digital versions (in PDF format), and the remaining 15% for on-demand print versions. No stock, but a direct link with the reader and between readers. On the website, users/readers could create their personal space to write their comments, participate in forums, subscribe to an online newsletter, and watch online video clips about new literary works that were published. In September 2000, 00h00 was bought by the media company Gemstar. Gemstar put an end to its eBook experiments in June 2003.
August 1998 > A quote by Michael Hart, founder of Project Gutenberg >
Michael Hart, founder of Project Gutenberg in 1971, and inventor of ebooks, has dedicated his whole life to put as many literary works online for free for everyone. He wrote in August 1998: "We consider etext to be a new medium, with no real relationship to paper, other than presenting the same material, but I don't see how paper can possibly compete once people each find their own comfortable way to etexts, especially in schools." (NEF Interview). [Photo of Michael, from the blog Project Gutenberg News.]
September 1998 > A quote by John Mark Ockerbloom, founder of the Online Books Page >
John Mark Ockerbloom created the Online Books Page in 1993. He wrote in 1998: "I've gotten very interested in the great potential the net has for making literature available to a wide audience. (...) I am very excited about the potential of the internet as a mass communication medium in the coming years. I'd also like to stay involved, one way or another, in making books available to a wide audience for free via the net, whether I make this explicitly part of my professional career, or whether I just do it as a spare-time volunteer." (NEF Interview)
September 1998 > A quote by Robert Beard, co-founder of yourDictionary.com >
Robert Beard, founder of A Web of Online Dictionaries in 1995, wrote in September 1998: "The web will be an encyclopedia of the world by the world for the world. There will be no information or knowledge that anyone needs that will not be available. The major hindrance to international and interpersonal understanding, personal and institutional enhancement, will be removed. It would take a wilder imagination than mine to predict the effect of this development on the nature of humankind." (NEF Interview). In January 2000, Robert Beard co-founded yourDictionary, a major portal for languages.
October 1998 > A new amendment to the U.S. copyright law >
Each copyright legislation is more restrictive than the previous one. A major blow for digital libraries was the amendment to the 1976 Copyright Act signed on October 27, 1998. As explained in July 1999 by Michael Hart, founder of Project Gutenberg: "Nothing will expire for another 20 years. We used to have to wait 75 years. Now it is 95 years. And it was 28 years (+ a possible 28-year extension, only on request) before that, and 14 years (+ a possible 14-year extension) before that. So, as you can see, this is a serious degrading of the public domain, as a matter of continuing policy." The copyright went from an average of 30 years in 1909 to an average of 95 years in 1998. From 1909 to 1998, it got an extension of 65 years. Only a book published before 1923 can be considered as belonging to the public domain.
1999 > The Rocket eBook was the first ebook reader >
The Rocket eBook was launched in 1999 by NuvoMedia, in Palo Alto, California, as the first dedicated ebook reader. Founded in 1997, NuvoMedia wanted to become "the electronic book distribution solution, by providing a networking infrastructure for publishers, retailers and end users to publish, distribute, purchase and read electronic content securely and efficiently on the internet." Investors of NuvoMedia were Barnes & Noble and Bertelsmann. The connection between the Rocket eBook and the computer (PC or Macintosh) was made through the Rocket eBook Cradle, which provided power through a wall transformer, and connected to the computer with a serial cable. [Photo licensed under Creative Commons, from MobileRead Wiki.]
1999 > The SoftBook Reader was the second ebook reader >
SoftBook Press created the SoftBook Reader along with the SoftBook Network, an internet-based content delivery service. With the SoftBook, launched in 1999, "people could easily, quickly and securely download a wide selection of books and periodicals using its built-in internet connection", with a machine that, "unlike a computer, was ergonomically designed for the reading of long documents and books." The investors of Softbook Press were Random House and Simon & Schuster. [Image from the website of iCodex, copyrighted.]
1999 > Other pioneer ebook readers >
Launched in 1999, EveryBook (EB) was "a living library in a single book". The EveryBook's electronic storage could hold 100 textbooks or 500 novels. The EveryBook used a "hidden" modem to dial into the EveryBook Store, for people to browse, purchase and receive full text books, magazines and sheet music. Librius was a "full-service e-commerce company" that launched in 1999 a small "low-cost" ebook reader called the Millennium eBook. The website offered a World Bookstore that delivered digital copies of thousands of books via the internet. [The EveryBook, image from its website.]
1999 > A website for the Ulysses Bookstore, the oldest travel bookstore in the world >
Created in 1971 by Catherine Domain in central Paris, on Ile Saint-Louis in the middle of the river Seine, the Ulysses Bookstore (Librairie Ulysse) is the oldest bookstore in the world, with 20,000 books, maps and magazines, out of print and new. Catherine started a website in early 1999, and wrote in December: “My site is still pretty basic and under construction, tells Catherine. Like my bookstore, it is a place to meet people before being a place of business. The internet is a pain in the neck, takes a lot of my time and I earn hardly any money, but that doesn't worry me... I am very pessimistic though, because it is killing off specialist bookstores” (NEF Interview). [The Ulysses Bookstore in Paris, copyrighted photo.]
1999 > WordReference.com: free bilingual online dictionaries >
WordReference.com was created in 1999 by Michael Kellogg, who wrote on his project's website: "I started this site in 1999 in an effort to provide free online bilingual dictionaries and tools to the world for free on the internet. The site has grown gradually ever since to become one of the most-used online dictionaries, and the top online dictionary for its language pairs of English-Spanish, English-French, English-Italian, Spanish-French, and Spanish-Portuguese. Today, I am happy to continue working on improving the dictionaries, its tools and the language forums. I really do enjoy creating new features to make the site more and more useful."
1999 > Wordfast, a translation memory software >
Created in 1999 by Yves Champollion in Paris, France, Wordfast is a translation memory software with terminology processing in real time. Worldfast is compatible with the IBM WebSphere Translation Server and other translation memory software like Trados. For a few years, a basic version of Wordfast was available for free, with a manual in 16 languages. In 2010, Wordfast is the most widely used translation memory solution for many key criteria, including its availability on any platform (Windows, Mac, Linux), and the second most widely used translation memory software in the world (the first one being SDL Trados), with over 20.000 customer deployments, including the United Nations, Nomura Securities, the NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) and McGraw-Hill.
September 1999 > OeB (Open eBook), a standard format for ebooks >
The digital publishing industry felt the need to work on a common format for ebooks. It released in September 1999 the first version of the Open eBook (OeB) format, based on XML (eXtensible Markup Language) and defined by the Open eBook Publication Structure (OeBPS). The Open eBook Forum was created in January 2000 to develop the OeB format and OeBPS specifications. Since 2000, most ebook formats have been derived from - or are compatible with - the OeB format, for example the PRC format from Mobipocket or the LIT format from Microsoft.
December 1999 > Britannica.com, the web version of the Encyclopedia Britannica >
Britannica.com was launched in December 1999. The website is the digital equivalent of the 32 volumes of the 15th edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, available for free, as a complement to the print version and CD-ROM version. The website also offers a selection of articles from 70 magazines, a guide to the best websites, a selection of books, etc., with a single search engine. In September 2000, the site is in the top 100 websites in the world. In July 2001, the website is available for a monthly or annual. In 2009, Britannica.com opened its website to external contributors, with registration required to write and edit articles.
December 1999 > Two main French-language encyclopedias on the web >
Launched by Editions Atlas in December 1999, WebEncyclo was the first main French-language online encyclopedia available for free on the web. It was possible to search the encyclopedia by keyword, topic, media (maps, links, photos and illustrations) and ideas. A call for papers invited specialists in a given topic to become external contributors and submit articles in a section called WebEncyclo Contributif. Later on, a free registration was required to use the online encyclopedia. Launched at the same time, the website of Encyclopedia Universalis included 28,000 articles by 4,000 contributors. The website has been available for an annual fee, and a number of articles are also available for free.
January 2000 > The Million Book Project, to digitize one million books >
Launched in January 2000 by the Carnegie Mellon University (Pennsylvania, United States), the Million Book Project, also called the Universal Library or Universal Digital Library (UDL), aimed to digitize one million books in a number of languages, including in India and China. The project was completed in 2007. One million books have been available on the university website, as image files in DjVu and TIFF formats, with three mirror sites in northern China, southern China and India. The project may have inspired the Open Content Alliance (OCA), a universal public digital library launched by the Internet Archive in October 2005.
February 2000 > yourDictionary.com, a portal for linguistic tools in all languages >
Robert Beard, a professor at Bucknell University (USA), first created in 1995 A Web of Online Dictionaries as a directory of online dictionaries (with 800 links in fall 1998) and other linguistic resources such as thesauri, vocabularies, glossaries, grammars, and language textbooks. Robert Beard co-founded then yourDictionary.com, that included its previous website and went online in February 2000. yourDictionary.com included 1,800 dictionaries in 250 languages in September 2003, and 2,500 dictionaries in 300 languages in April 2007. As a tool for all languages without exception, the portal also offers the Endangered Language Repository.
March 2000 > The Oxford English Dictionary online >
The online version (for a subscription fee) of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), a dictionary in 20 volumes, was launched in March 2000 by the Oxford University Press (OUP) launched in March 2000. The website offers a quarterly update of the dictionary with 1,000 new or revised entries. In March 2002, two years after this first experience, the Oxford University Press launches Oxford Reference Online (ORO), a comprehensive encyclopedia designed directly for the web and also available for a subscription fee. Its 60,000 pages and one million entries could represent the equivalent of one hundred print encyclopedias.
March 2000 > Mobipocket, a company specializing in ebooks for PDAs >
Mobipocket was founded in March 2000 in Paris, France, by Thierry Brethes and Nathalie Ting, as a company specializing in ebooks for PDAs, with some funding from Vivendi. The Mobipocket format (PRC, based on the OeB format) and the Mobipocket Reader were "universal" and could be used on any PDA - and also on any computer from April 2002. They quickly became global standards for ebooks on mobile devices. In spring 2003, the Mobipocket Reader was available in several languages (French, English, German, Spanish, Italian) and could also be used on the smartphones of Nokia and Sony Ericsson. 6,000 titles in several languages were available on Mobipocket's website and in partner online bookstores. Mobipocket was bought by Amazon in April 2005. It now operates within the Amazon brand, with a multilingual catalog of 70,000 books in 2008.
April 2000 > The Pocket PC, a PDA launched by Microsoft with the Microsoft Reader >
Microsoft launched the Microsoft Reader in April 2000, for people to read books in LIT (from "literature") format on its new PDA, the Pocket PC. Four months later, in August 2000, the Microsoft Reader was available for computers, and then for any Windows platform, for example the platforms of the Tablets PC launched in November 2002. Microsoft billed publishers and distributors for the use of its DRM technology through the Microsoft DAS Server, with a commission on each sale. Microsoft also partnered with major online bookstores - Barnes & Noble.com in January 2000 and Amazon.com in August 2000 - for them to offer ebooks for the Microsoft Reader in eBookstores soon to be launched. Barnes & Noble.com opened its eBookstore in August 2000, followed by Amazon in November 2000.
June 2000 > A quote by Jean-Paul, an hypermedia writer >
Jean-Paul, an hypermedia author and the webmaster of Cotres, wrote in June 2000: "Surfing the web is like radiating in all directions (I am interested in something and I click on all the links on a home page) or like jumping around (from one click to another, as the links appear). You can do this in the written media, of course. But the difference is striking. So the internet changed how I write. You don't write the same way for a website as you do for a script or a play. (…) Since then I write directly on the screen: I use the print medium only occasionally (...): the text is developing page after page (most of the time), whereas the technique of links allows another relationship to the time and space of imagination. And, for me, it is above all the opportunity to put into practice this reading/writing 'cycle', whereas leafing through a book gives only an idea." (NEF Interview). [Photo montage by Jean-Paul, copyrighted.]
July 2000 > 50% non-English-speaking internet users >
In summer 1999, internet users living outside the U.S. reached 50%. One year later, in summer 2000, non English-speaking users reached 50% in summer 2000. According to Global Reach, they were 52.5% in summer 2001, 57% in December 2001, 59.8% in April 2002, 64.4% in September 2003 (including 34.9% non-English-speaking Europeans and 29.4% Asians), and 64.2% in March 2004 (including 37.9% non-English-speaking Europeans and 33% Asians). This was a turning point for a multilingual internet, although much still needed to be done to offer more websites in languages other than English, bilingual websites and multilingual websites. [Image from the collection of the Ulysses Bookstore, copyrighted.]
July 2000 > Stephen King, a best-selling author and a digital pioneer >
In July 2000 began the electronic (self-)publishing of The Plant, an epistolary novel by Stephen King, who was the first author of best-sellers to make such a bet. Stephen King started his digital experiment with the distribution in March 2000 of his short story Riding the Bullet, which was downloaded 400,000 times during the first 24 hours, and brought a lot of media buzz. Then he created a website to self-publish his novel The Plant in episodes. The chapters were published at regular intervals and could be downloaded in several formats (PDF, OeB, HTML, TXT). But after the publication of the sixth chapter in December 2000, the author decided to step down and stop this experiment because more and more readers were downloading the chapters without paying for them. Stephen King went on with digital experiments though, but this time in partnership with his publisher.
August 2000 > Barnes & Noble.com opened its eBookStore >
Barnes & Noble.com, the website of Barnes & Noble, started its eBookStore in August 2000, following a partnership with Microsoft in January 2000 to sell digital books for the Microsoft Reader. This software being free, Microsoft was billing the publishers and distributors for the use of its DRM technology, with a commission too on the sale of each title. Barnes & Noble.com also partnered with Adobe in August 2000 to sell books for the Acrobat Reader and the Glassbook Reader (Adobe had just bought Glassbook, with its reader and its digital bookstore).
September 2000 > The GDT, the largest bilingual French-English online dictionary >
The OQLF (Office Québécois de la Langue Française - Quebecois Office of the French Language) launched in September 2000 the GDT (Grand Dictionnaire Terminologique), a bilingual French-English dictionary with 3 million terms related to industry, science and commerce. This online version was the result of a partnership between the OQLF, author of the dictionary, and Semantix, a company specializing in linguistic software. During the first month, the GDT counted 1.3 million hits, with peaks of 60,000 daily hits, a huge success for this dictionary, and a technology challenge. The database was then maintained by Convera Canada, with 3.5 million hits per month in February 2003. A revamped version of the GDT went online in March 2003. The database has now being maintained by the OQLF itself, with the addition of Latin as a third language.
September 2000 > Numilog, a French-language digital bookstore >
Numilog was founded in March 2000 by Denis Zwirn near Paris, France, as a company specializing in the distribution of digital books. Numilog launched in September 2000 an online bookstore that became the main French-language aggregator of digital books over the years. In December 2006, the catalog included 35,000 books and audiobooks from 60 publishers, including Gallimard, POL, Le Dilettante, Le Rocher, La Découverte, De Vive Voix, Eyrolles or Pearson Education France. Numilog was bought in May 2008 by Hachette Livre, a leading publishing group. In January, there were 100,000 ebooks from 100 publishers, with tailored services for bookstores and libraries.
October 2000 > Distributed Proofreaders, to share the correction of digitized books >
Distributed Proofreaders was founded in 2000 by Charles Franks to support the digitization of public domain books. Originally conceived to assist Project Gutenberg, Distributed Proofreaders is now the main source of its ebooks. In 2002, Distributed Proofreaders became an official Project Gutenberg site. In May 2006, Distributed Proofreaders became a separate legal entity and continues to maintain a strong relationship with Project Gutenberg. Distributed Proofreaders has digitized 10,000 books in December 2006 and 18,000 books in June 2010. Distributed Proofreaders Europe was founded in 2004. Distributed Proofreaders Canada (DP Canada) was founded in July 2007.
October 2000 > The Public Library of Science, or science for all >
The Public Library of Science (PLoS) was founded in October 2000 by biomedical scientists, as a non-profit organization whose first goal was to give access to the world's scientific and medical literature, with a search engine and hyperlinks between articles. PLoS posted an open letter requesting the articles presently published by journals to be distributed freely in online archives, and asking researchers to promote the publishers willing to support this project. From October 2000 to September 2002, the open letter was signed by 30,000 scientists from 180 countries. The publishers' answer was much less enthusiastic, although a number of publishers agreed for their articles to be distributed freely immediately after publication, or six months after publication in their journals. But even the publishers who initially agreed to support the project made so many objections that it was finally abandoned. PloS became a publisher in January 2003.
October 2000 > The eBookMan, a multimedia personal assistant launched by Franklin >
In October 2000, Franklin launched the eBookMan, a multimedia personal assistant that - among other features (calendar, voice recorder, etc.) - allowed people to read books on the Franklin Reader. Three models (EBM-900, EBM-901 and EBM-911) were available in early 2001, for US$130, $180 or $230 depending on the size of RAM (8 or 16 MB) and a backlit or not LCD screen. Much larger than the screen of its competitors, the screen was only in black and white, unlike the Pocket PC or some PDAs from Palm. The eBookMan could also be used to listen to audiobooks and music files in MP3 format. In October 2001, people could read books on the Mobipocket Reader, and the Franklin Reader was available for the Pocket PC and PDAs from Psion, Palm and Nokia. [Photo in public domain, from Wikipedia.]
November 2000 > The Gemstar eBook, an ebook reader in two versions >
The Gemstar eBook was launched in October 2000 by Gemstar-TV Guide International, a company providing digital products and services for the media. Gemstar first bought Nuvomedia (Rocket eBook) and SoftBook Press (SoftBook) in January 2000, as well as the French Editions 00h00, a producer of digital books, in September 2000. Two Gemstar eBook were available for sale in the U.S. in November 2000, with a later attempt in Germany to test the European market. The REB 1100 had a black and white screen, like the Rocket eBook. The REB 1200 had a color screen, like the SoftBook Reader. Both were produced by RCA (Thomson Multimedia). New and cheaper models were then launched as GEB 1150 and 2150, produced by Gemstar instead of RCA. But the sales were still far below expectations. The company stopped selling ebook readers in June 2003, and ebooks the following month.
November 2000 > The original Bible of Gutenberg digitized, and available online >
The digitized version of the Bible of Gutenberg was available online in November 2000. Gutenberg printed its Bible in 1454 or 1455 in Germany, perhaps printing 180 copies, with 48 copies still available in 2000, and three copies - two full ones and one partial one - at the British Library. The two full copies - a little different from each other - were digitized in March 2000 by Japanese experts from Keio University of Tokyo and NTT (Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Communications). The images were then processed to offer a full digital version on the web a few months later, for the world to enjoy. [A portrait of Gutenberg, from the website of iCodex.]
November 2000 > Frederick Forsyth, a British novelist, made a digital experiment >
Following Stephen King's footsteps, Frederick Forsyth, the British master of thrillers, decided to make a digital experiment in partnership with Online Originals, an electronic publisher from London. In November 2000, Online Originals Veteran published online The Veteran, which as the story of a violent crime in London, and the first part of Quintet, a collection of five short stories (announced in the following order: The Veteran, The Miracle, The Citizen, The Art of the Matter, and Draco). Available in three formats (PDF, Microsoft Reader and Glassbook Reader), the short story was sold for 3.99 pounds (6.60 euros) on the publisher's website and in several online bookstores in UK (Alphabetstreet , BOL.com, WHSmith) and in the U.S. (Barnes & Noble, Contentville, Glassbook). [London seen by a traveler, copyrighted photo.]
November 2000 > Arturo Pérez-Reverte, a Spanish novelist, made a digital experiment >
Arturo Pérez-Reverte, a Spanish novelist, is famous for his best-sellers telling the adventurous life of Capitan Alatriste in the 17th century. The new title to be released in 2000 was El Oro del Rey (The King's Gold). In November 2000, the author partnered with his publisher Alfaguara to publish El Oro del Rey exclusively in digital form for one month, on a specific site of the web portal Inicia, before the release of the print version in bookstores. The novel was available in PDF format for 2.90 euros, a much cheaper price than the 15.10 euros of the forthcoming print book. As a result of the experiment, the number of downloads was very good, but not the number of payments. A month after publishing the novel online, there are 332,000 downloads, but only 12,000 readers who paid for it. [A painting by Velásquez, from Wikipedia.]
November 2000 > Amazon.com opened its eBookStore >
Amazon.com started its eBookStore in November 2000, following a partnership with Microsoft in August 2000 to sell digital books for the Microsoft Reader. This software being free, Microsoft was billing the publishers and distributors and publishers for the use of its DRM technology, with a commission too on the sale of each title. The same month, Amazon.com also partnered with Adobe to offer digital books for the Acrobat Reader and the Glassbook Reader (Adobe had just bought Glassbook, with its reader and digital bookstore). In April 2001, Amazon.com partnered again with Adobe to include in its collection 2,000 copyrighted books for the Acrobat eBook Reader, mainly titles from main publishers, travel guides, and children books.
December 2000 > Gyricon Media, to develop an electronic ink technology >
In December 2000, researchers at PARC (Palo Alto Research Center), the Xerox center in Silicon Valley, founded the company Gyricon Media to market the SmartPaper, an electronic paper based on the display technology called gyricon (developed since 1997 within Xerox). Very briefly explained, the technology was the following one: in between two sheets of flexible plastic, millions of micro-cells contain two-tone (for example black and white) beads suspended in a clear liquid. Each bead has an electric charge. An external electrical pulse make the balls rotate and change color, to display, modify or delete data. In 2004, the market was commercial advertising, with small posters running on batteries. The company ended in 2005, with R&D activities going on at Xerox.
2000 > The wiki, a collaborative website >
Deriving from the Hawaiian term "wiki" (meaning: fast), a wiki is a website allowing multiple users to collaborate online on the same project. The wiki concept became quite popular in 2000. At any time, users can contribute to drafting content, edit it, improving it and updating it. The wiki has been used for example to create and manage dictionaries, encyclopedias or reference tools. The software can be simple or more elaborate. A simple program handles text and hyperlinks. With a more elaborate program, you can embed images, charts, tables, etc.. The most famous wiki is Wikipedia. [The Wiki Wiki shuttle at the Honolulu airport, photo licensed under Creative Commons, from Wikipedia.]
January 2001 > Wikipedia, a global free cooperative online encyclopedia >
Wikipedia was launched in January 2001 by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger (Larry resigned later on). It has quickly grown into the largest reference website on the internet, financed by donations, with no advertising. Its multilingual content is free and written collaboratively by people worldwide. Its website is a wiki, which means that anyone can edit, correct and improve information throughout the encyclopedia. The articles stay the property of their authors, and can be freely used according to the GFDL License. In December 2004, Wikipedia had 1.3 million articles (by 13,000 contributors) in 100 languages. In December 2006, it had 6 million articles. In May 2007, it had 7 million articles in 192 languages, including 1.8 million articles in English, 589,000 articles in German, 500,000 articles in French, 260,000 articles in Portuguese, and 236,000 articles in Spanish. [Image licensed under Creative Commons.]
January 2001 > UNL (Universal Networking Language), a digital metalanguage project >
The UNL project was launched in mid-1990s the as a main digital metalanguage project by the Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) of the United Nations University (UNU) in Tokyo, Japan. As explained on the bilingual (English, Japanese) website in 1998: "UNL is a language that -- with its companion 'enconverter' and 'deconverter' software -- enables communication among peoples of differing native languages. It will reside, as a plug-in for popular web browsers, on the internet, and will be compatible with standard network servers.” In 2000, 120 researchers worldwide were working on a multilingual project in 16 languages (Arabic, Brazilian, Chinese, English, French, German, Hindu, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Latvian, Mongolian, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, and Thai). The UNDL Foundation (UNDL: Universal Networking Digital Language) was founded in January 2001 to develop and promote the UNL project.
January 2001 > The Cybook was launched as the first European ebook reader >
Developed by Cytale, a company created by Olivier Pujol, the first Cybook (21 x 16 cm, 1 kilo) was available in January 2001. Its memory – 32 M of SDRAM and 16 M of flash memory – could store 15.000 pages, or 30 books of 500 pages. But sales were not as good as planned, and Cytale ended in July 2002. The Cybook project was taken over by the company Bookeen, created in 2003 by Michael Dahan and Laurent Picard, who previously worked at Cytale. The Cybook second generation was available in June 2004. Bookeen launched the Cybook Gen3 (image above) in July 2007, with a screen using the E Ink technology.
January 2001 > Adobe launched the Acrobat eBook Reader >
In January 2001, Adobe launched the Acrobat eBook Reader (free) and the Adobe Content Server (for a fee). The Acrobat eBook Reader was used to read PDF files of copyrighted books, while adding notes and bookmarks, getting the book covers in a personal library, and browsing a dictionary. The Adobe Content Server was intended for publishers and distributors for the packaging, protection, distribution and sale of copyrighted books in PDF format, while managing their access with DRM (Digital Rights Management), according to instructions given by the copyright holder, for example allowing or not the printing and loan of ebooks.
February 2001 > A quote by Russon Wooldridge, founder of NEF >
Russon Wooldridge is a professor at the Department of French Studies in the University of Toronto, Canada, and the founder of NEF (Net des Etudes Françaises / Net of French Studies). He wrote in February 2001: "My research, conducted once in an ivory tower, is now almost exclusively done through local or remote collaborations. (…) All my teaching makes the most of internet resources (web and email): the two common places for a course are the classroom and the website of the course, where I put all course materials. I have published all my research data of the last 20 years on the web (re-edition of books, articles, texts of old dictionaries as interactive databases, treaties from the 16th century, etc.). I publish proceedings of symposiums, I publish a journal, I collaborate with French colleagues by publishing online in Toronto what they can't publish online at home.” (NEF Interview)
March 2001 > IBM launched the WebSphere Translation Server >
In March 2001, IBM embarked on a growing translation market with a high-end professional product, the WebSphere Translation Server. The software could instantly translate in several languages (Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Spanish) webpages, emails and chats. It could process 500 words per second and add specific terminology to the software.
March 2001 > Palm launched the Palm Reader >
In March 2001, Palm bought Peanutpress.com, a publisher and distributor of digital books for PDAs, that previously belonged to the netLibrary company. The Peanut Reader merged with (or became) the Palm Reader, that could be used on Palm Pilots and Pocket PCs, and the 2,000 titles from Peanutpress.com were transferred to the digital bookstore Palm Digital Media. In July 2002, the Palm Reader was also available for computers. Palm Digital Media distributes 5,500 titles in several languages in July 2002, and 10,000 titles in 2003. [The Palm Treo 700p, photo licensed under Creative Commons, from Wikipedia.]
April 2001 > PDAs and ebook readers: a few numbers >
There were 17 million PDAs worldwide and only 100,000 ebook readers in April 2001, according to the Seybold Report. 13,2 million PDAs were sold in 2001. Palm stayed the leader, despite fierce competition, with 23 million Palm Pilots sold between 1996 and 2002. In 2002, 36.8% of all PDAs available on the market were Palm Pilots. Its main competitor was Microsoft's Pocket PC. The main platforms were Palm OS (for 55% of PDAs) and Pocket PC (for 25,7%). In 2004, prices began to drop. The leaders were the PDAs of Palm, Sony, and Hewlett-Packard, followed by Handspring, Toshiba, and Casio. But smartphones were more and more popular, and the sales of PDAs began to drop. Sony stopped selling PDAs in February 2005. [The iLiad (iRex), from Wikipedia, photo in public domain.]
October 2001 > The Wayback Machine, launched by the Internet Archive >
In October 2001, with 30 billion stored webpages, the Internet Archive launched the Wayback Machine, for users to be able to surf the archive of the web by date. In 2004, there were 300 terabytes of data, with a growth of 12 terabytes per month. There were 65 billion webpages (from 50 million websites) in 2006, 85 billion webpages in 2008 and 150 billion webpages in March 2010. Founded in April 1996 by Brewster Kahle, the Internet Archive is a non-profit organization that has built an "internet library" to offer permanent access to historical collections in digital format for researchers, historians and scholars. An archive of the web is stored every two months or so.
2001 > Creative Commons, to adapt copyright to the web >
Creative Commons (CC) was founded in 2001 by Lawrence Lessig, a professor at Stanford Law School, California. As explained on its website: "Creative Commons is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to making it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others, consistent with the rules of copyright. We provide free licenses and other legal tools to mark creative work with the freedom the creator wants it to carry, so others can share, remix, use commercially, or any combination thereof." There were one million Creative Commons licensed works in 2003, 4.7 million licensed works in 2004, 20 million licensed works in 2005, 50 million licensed works in 2006, 90 million licensed works in 2007, 130 million licensed works in 2008, and 350 million licensed works in April 2010.
2001 > Nokia 9210 was the first smartphone >
The first smartphone was Nokia 9210, launched as early as 2001. It was followed by Nokia Series 60, Sony Ericsson P800, and the smartphones of Motorola and Siemens. Smartphones took off quickly. In February 2005, Sony stopped selling PDAs. Smartphones represented 3,7% of all cellphones sold in 2004, and 9% of all cellphones sold in 2006, with 90 million smartphones sold for one billion cellphones. [The Nokia 9210, photo licensed under Creative Commons, from Wikipedia.]
January 2003 > The Public Library of Science, a publisher of free high-quality online journals >
In early 2003, PLoS created a non-profit scientific and medical publishing venture to provide scientists and physicians with free high-quality, high-profile journals in which to publish their work. The journals were PloS Biology (launched in 2003), PLoS Medicine (2004), PLoS Genetics (2005), PLoS Computational Biology (2005), PLoS Pathogens (2005), PLoS Clinical Trials (2006) and PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases (2007), the first scientific journal on this topic. All PLoS articles are freely available online, on the websites of PLoS and in the public archive PubMed Central, run by the National Library of Medicine. The articles can be freely redistributed and reused under a Creative Commons license, including for translations, as long as the author(s) and source are cited.
February 2003 > A quote by Nicolas Pewny, consultant in electronic publishing >
A bookseller, publisher, and consultant in electronic publishing, Nicolas Pewny wrote in February 2003: "I see the future digital book as a 'total work' putting together text, sound, images, video, and interactivity: a new way to design, and write, and read, perhaps on a single book, constantly renewed, which would contain everything we have read, a single and multiple companion. Utopian? Improbable? Maybe not that much!" (NEF Interview). [Nicolas' iPhone OS4 in July 2010, copyrighted photo.]
February 2003 > Handicapzéro, a portal for visually impaired users >
The association Handicapzéro aims to improve the autonomy of visually impaired people in the French-speaking world, around 10% of the population. Launched in September 2000, the website of the association has quickly become a must, with 10,000 queries monthly. The association replaced it in February 2003 with a general portal offering free access to national and international news, sports news, TV programs, the weather forecast, and access to a full range of services for health, employment, consumer goods, leisure time, sports and telephony. Since October 2006, a revamped portal has offered more tools for blind people, visually impaired people, and people who want to communicate with them. The portal was used by 2 million people in 2006.
March 2003 > Paulo Coelho, a Brazilian novelist, made a digital experiment >
Paulo Coelho, a Brazilian novelist, became world famous after the publication of The Alchemist. In early 2003, his books, translated into 56 languages, have been sold in 53 million copies in 155 countries. In March 2003, Paulo Coelho decided to distribute several novels for free in PDF format, in various languages, with the consent of his publishers. [A medieval sculpture, by Claude Rayon, copyrighted photo.]
May 2003 > Adobe Reader was launched to replace Acrobat Reader >
In May 2003, Acrobat Reader (5th version) merged with Acrobat eBook Reader (2nd version) to become Adobe Reader (starting with version 6), which could read both standard PDF files and secure PDF files of copyrighted books. In late 2003, Adobe opened its own online bookstore, the Digital Media Store, with titles in PDF format from major publishers (HarperCollins, Random House, Simon & Schuster, etc.) as well as electronic versions of newspapers and magazines like The New York Times, Popular Science, etc. Adobe also launched Adobe eBooks Central as a service to read, publish, sell and lend ebooks, and Adobe eBook Library as a prototype digital library.
September 2003 > The MIT OpenCourseWare: course materials of MIT online for free >
The MIT OpenCourseWare (MIT OCW) is an initiative launched by MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) to put its course materials for free on the web, as a way to promote open dissemination of knowledge. In September 2002, a pilot version was available online with 32 course materials. The website was officially launched in September 2003. 500 course materials were available in March 2004. In May 2006, 1,400 course materials were offered by 34 departments belonging to the five schools of MIT. In November 2007, all 1,800 course materials were available, and regularly updated. MIT also launched the OpenCourseWare Consortium (OCW Consortium) in November 2005, as a collaboration of educational institutions that were willing to offer free online course materials. One year later, it included the course materials of 100 universities worldwide.
February 2004 > Facebook, a social network >
Facebook is a social network founded in February 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg and his friends. Originally created for students of Harvard University, it was made available to students from any university in the U.S., and open to all from September 2006 to connect with relatives, friends and strangers. It was become the second most visited website in the world, after Google, if not the first, with 500 million users in July 2010, while sparking debates on privacy issues.
April 2004 > The Librié, an ebook reader launched by Sony >
Sony launched its first ebook reader, Librié 1000-EP, in Japan in April 2004, in partnership with Philips and E Ink. Librié was the first ebook reader to use the E Ink technology, with a 6-inch screen, a 10 M memory, and a 500-ebook capacity. eBooks were downloaded from a computer through a USB port. The Librié is the ancestor of the Sony Reader (picture above), launched in October 2006 in the U.S.
2004 > The web 2.0, based on the notions of community and sharing >
Since 2004, the web 2.0 has been based on community and sharing, with a wealth of websites whose content is supplied by users, such as blogs, wikis, social networks or collaborative encyclopedias. Wikipedia, Facebook and Twitter, of course, but also tens of thousands of others. The term "web 2.0" was invented in 2004 by Tim O'Reilly, founder of O'Reilly Media, a publisher of computer books, as the title for a conference he was organizing . The web 2.0 concept may answer the dream of Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the web in 1990, as “the web being so generally used that it became a realistic mirror (or in fact the primary embodiment) of the ways in which we work and play and socialize.” (The World Wide Web: A very short personal history, 1998). ["Tous ensemble" means "All together" in French, copyrighted image.]
2005 > Smartphones or ebook readers? >
Can ebook readers like Sony Reader and Kindle really compete with cellphones and smartphones? Will people prefer reading on mobile handsets like the iPhone 3G (with its Stanza Reader) or the T-Mobile G1 (with Google's platform Android and its reader), or will they prefer using ebook readers to get a larger screen? Or is there a market for both smartphones and ebook readers? These are some fascinating questions for the following years.
April 2005 > The ePub format, a standard for ebooks >
In April 2005, the Open eBook Forum became the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF). The OeB format was replaced with the ePub format (ePub standing for “electronic publication”) as a global standard for ebooks. More and more digital books are in ePub format, widely used by publishers to distribute their ebooks, because it is designed for reflowable content, meaning that the text display can be optimized for the particular display device used by the reader: computer, smartphone, ebook reader, large screen, medium screen, small screen. The format is meant to function as a single format that publishers and conversion houses can use in-house, as well as for distribution and sale. The PDF files created with recent versions of Adobe Acrobat are compatible with the ePub format. The website epubBooks.com provides beautiful free books from public domain or from authors who have given consent for them to be made available.
May 2005 > Google Print, before Google Books >
The beta version of Google Print went live in May 2005. In October 2004, Google launched the first part of Google Print as a project aimed at publishers, for internet users to be able to see excerpts from their books and order them online. In December 2004, Google launched the second part of Google Print as a project intended for libraries, to build up a digital library of 15 million books by digitizing the collections of main partner libraries, beginning with the universities of Michigan (7 million books), Harvard, Stanford and Oxford, and the New York Public Library. The planned cost in 2004 was an average of US $10 per book, and a total budget of $150 to $200 million for ten years. In August 2005, Google Print was stopped until further notice because of lawsuits filed by associations of authors and publishers for copyright infringement.
August 2006 > Google Books, the worldwide Google program for books >
The program resumed in August 2006 under the new name of Google Books. Google Books has provided the full text of public domain books, and excerpts of copyrighted books. As of December 2008, Google had 24 library partners, including a Swiss one (University Library of Lausanne), a French one (Lyon Municipal Library), a Belgian one (Ghent University Library), a German one (Bavarian State Library), two Spanish ones (National Library of Catalonia and University Complutense of Madrid) and a Japanese one (Keio University Library). The U.S. partner libraries were, by alphabetical order: Columbia University, Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), Cornell University Library, Harvard University, New York Public Library, Oxford University, Princeton University, Stanford University, University of California, University of Michigan, University of Texas at Austin, University of Virginia and University of Wisconsin-Madison.
August 2006 > The Open Content Alliance, a universal public digital library >
The Open Content Alliance (OCA) was launched in October 2005 as a group of cultural, technology, non profit and governmental organizations willing to build a permanent archive of multilingual digitized text and multimedia content. The project took off in summer 2006, with the digitization of public domain books around the world. The first 100,000 ebooks available in December 2006 in the Text Archive of the Internet Archive, with 12,000 new books per month. Unlike Google Books, the Open Content Alliance (OCA) has made them searchable through any web search engine, and has not scanned copyrighted books, except when the copyright holder has expressly given permission. The first contributors to OCA were the University of California, the University of Toronto, the European Archive, the National Archives in United Kingdom, O’Reilly Media and the Prelinger Archives. One million ebooks were available in December 2008.
August 2006 > A version of the union catalog WorldCat for free on the web >
WorldCat is a union catalog run by OCLC (Online Computer Library Center), created in 1971 as a non-profit organization dedicated to furthering access to the world's information while reducing information costs. In 2005, WorldCat had 61 million bibliographic records in 400 languages, from 9,000 member libraries in 112 countries. In 2006, 73 million bibliographic records were linking to one billion documents available in these libraries. In August 2006, WorldCat began to migrate to the web through the beta version of its new website. Member libraries now provided free access to their catalogs and electronic resources: books, audiobooks, abstracts and full-text articles, photos, music CDs and videos. In April 2010, WorldCat had 1,5 billion documents.
2006 > Twitter, or information in 140 characters >
Founded in 2006 in California by Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams and Biz Stone, Twitter is a social networking and micro-blogging tool, for users to send free short messages of 140 characters maximum, called tweets, via the internet , IM, or SMS. Sometimes described as the SMS of the internet, Twitter has since gained worldwide popularity, with 106 million users in April 2010 and 300,000 new users per day. As for tweets, there were 5,000 per day in 2007, 300,000 in 2008, 2,5 million in 2009, 50 million in January 2010 and 55 million in April 2010, with a systematic archiving by the Library of Congress as a reflection of trends of our time, and their addition by Google in the results of its search engine.
October 2006 > The Sony Reader >
The Sony Reader was launched in October 2006 in the U.S. for US $350, followed by cheaper and revamped models. The Sony Reader was the first ebook reader to use the new advanced E Ink screen technology, “a screen that gives an excellent reading experience very close to that of real paper, making it very easy going on the eyes” (Mike Cook). Another major feature of the reader over most other electronic devices is its battery life, with over 7,000 pages turns – or up to two weeks of power – on just one battery charge. It is also the first ebook reader to use Adobe’s Digital Editions. The Sony Reader is available in the U.S., Canada, UK, Germany and France.
December 2006 > Live Search Books, the digital library of Microsoft >
The beta version of Live Search Books was released in December 2006, with a search possible by keyword for non copyrighted books digitized by Microsoft in partner libraries. The British Library and the libraries of the universities of California and Toronto were the first ones to join in, followed in January 2007 by the New York Public Library and Cornell University. Books offered full text views and could be downloaded in PDF files. In May 2007, Microsoft announced agreements with several publishers, including Cambridge University Press and McGraw Hill, for their books to be available in Live Search Books. After digitizing 750,000 books and indexing 80 million journal articles, Microsoft ended the Live Search Books program in May 2008. These books are available in the OCA collections of the Internet Archive.
December 2006 > A quote by Marc Autret, a journalist and graphic designer >
Marc Autret, a journalist and graphic designer, wrote in December 2006: “I imagine the ebook of the future as a kind of wiki crystallized and packaged in a format. How valuable will it be? Its value will be the value of a book: the unity and quality of editorial work!" (NEF Interview) [The virtual shelves of the iPad, copyrighted photo.]
December 2006 > A quote by Pierre Schweitzer, inventor of the @folio project >
Peter Schweitzer, inventor of the @folio project, wrote in December 2006: "The luck we all have is to live here and now this fantastic change. When I was born in 1963, computers didn't have much memory. Today, my music player could hold billions of pages, a true local library. Tomorrow, by the combined effect of the Moore Law and the ubiquity of networks, we will have instant access to works and knowledge. We won't be much interested any more on which device to store information. We will be interested in handy functions and beautiful objects." (NEF Interview). [A protoype of @folio, copyrighted photo.]
March 2007 > Citizendium, a collaborative experimental online encyclopedia >
Citizendium is a pilot project to build a new encyclopedia, at the initiative of Larry Sanger, who co-founded Wikipedia (with Jimmy Wales) in January 2001, but resigned later on, over policy and content quality issues. Citizendium - which stands for The Citizens' Compendium - is a wiki project open to public collaboration, but combining "public participation with gentle expert guidance". The project is experts-led, not experts-only. Contributors use their own names, not anonymous pseudonyms (like in Wikipedia), and they are guided by expert editors. There are also constables who make sure the rules are respected. Citizendium was launched on March 25, 2007, with 1,100 articles, 820 authors and 180 editors. There were 11,800 high-quality articles in August 2009. Citizendium also wants to act as a prototype for upcoming large scale knowledge-building projects that would deliver reliable reference, scholarly and educational content.
May 2007 > The Encyclopedia of Life, to document all species of animals and plants >
The Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) was launched in May 2007 as a global scientific effort to document all known species of animals and plants (1.8 million), including endangered species, and expedite the millions of species yet to be discovered and cataloged (about 8 million). The encyclopedia's honorary chair is Edward Wilson, professor emeritus at Harvard University, who was the first to express the wish for such an encyclopedia, in an essay dated 2002. The multimedia encyclopedia will gather texts, photos, maps, sound and videos, with a webpage for each species. It will provide a single portal for millions of documents scattered online and offline. The first pages were available in mid-2008. The encyclopedia should be completed with all known species in 2017. The English version will be translated in several languages by partner organizations. [Image from the the website of the Encyclopedia of Life.]
June 2007 > InterActive Terminology for Europe (IATE) in 24 languages >
IATE (InterActive Terminology for Europe) was launched in March 2007 as an eagerly awaited free service on the web, with 1.4 million entries in 24 languages, after being launched in summer 2004 for the European institutions. The new terminological database is available in 24 languages, instead of the 12 languages of the former database Eurodicautom. The European Union went from 15 country members to 25 country members in May 2004, and 27 country members in January 2007. IATE is maintained by the Translation Center of the institutions of the European Union in Luxembourg. In 2009, IATE included 8,4 million words, with 540,000 abbreviations and 130.000 expressions.
June 2007 > The iPhone, a smartphone launched by Apple >
Launched in January 2007 by Apple, the iPhone is a smartphone including an iPod (the iPod was launched in October 2001), a camera, and a web browser, with the following specifications: a large tactile screen (3,5 inches), synchronization with the iTunes platform to download music and videos, a camera of 2 megapixels, the Safari browser, the Mac OS X operating system, access to GSM (Global System for Mobile Telecommunications) and EDGE (Enhanced Data for GSM Evolution), WiFi and Bluetooth. The iPhone was launched in June 2007 in the U.S. for US$499 for the 4 G version and $599 for the 8 G version. It was launched in Europe in late 2007 and in Asia in 2008. Other models followed. The iPhone 4 was launched in June 2010.
August 2007 > A quote by Denis Zwirn, president of the digital bookstore Numilog >
President of Numilog, the main French-language digital bookstore, Denis Zwirn wrote in August 2007: "The digital book is not any more a topic for symposiums, conceptual definitions or divination by some “experts”. It is a commercial product and a tool for reading. There is no need to wait for some new hypermodern and hypertextual tool carefully orchestrating its specificity from print. What we need is to offer easily readable texts on all ebook reading devices used by customers, that could sooner or later use an electronic ink display. And to offer them as an industry. The digital book is not - and will never be - a niche product (dictionaries, travel guides, books for the blind): it is becoming a mass product, with multiple forms, as for the traditional book" (NEF Interview).
November 2007 > The Kindle, an ebook reader launched by Amazon >
Amazon.com launched its own ebook reader, the Kindle, in November 2007. The Kindle was launched with a catalog of 80,000 ebooks – and new releases for US $9,99 each. The built-in memory and 2G SD card gave plenty of book storage (1.4 G), with a screen using the E Ink technology, and page-turning buttons. Books were directly bought and downloaded via the device's 3G wireless connection, with no need for a computer, unlike the Sony Reader. 580.000 Kindles were sold in 2008. A thinner and revamped Kindle 2 was launched in February 2009, with a storage capacity of 1,500 ebooks, a new text-to-speech feature, and a catalog of 230,000 ebooks on Amazon.com's website. The Kindle DX was launched in May 2009 with a larger screen that could be more suitable to read newspapers and magazines. [Image from the website of Amazon.]
October 2008 > Google Books versus the associations of authors and publishers >
The inclusion of copyrighted works in Google Books was widely criticized by authors and publishers worldwide. In the U.S., lawsuits were filed by the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers (AAP) for alleged copyright infringement. The assumption was that the full scanning and digitizing of copyrighted books infringed copyright laws, even if only snippets were made freely available. Google replied this was "fair use", referring to short excerpts from copyrighted books that could be lawfully quoted in another book or website, as long as the source (author, title, publisher) was mentioned. After three years of conflict, Google reached a settlement with the associations of authors and publishers in October 2008, with an agreement to be signed during the next years.
November 2008 > Europeana, the European digital library >
The European Library is first a common portal for 43 national libraries launched in January 2004 par the CENL (Conference of European National Librarians) and hosted on the website of the National Library in the Netherlands. In March 2006, the European Commission launched the project of a European digital library, after a “call for ideas” from September to December 2005. This European digital library – named Europeana - opened its "virtual" doors in November 2008, with two million documents, and with a crash from the server within 24 hours, followed by an experimental period giving access to a partial collection. Europeana offered 6 million documents in March 2010, with a revamped website launched then to offer 10 million documents. On this picture, the new logo of Europeana.
November 2009 > The Nook, an ebook reader launched by Barnes & Noble >
In November 2009, Barnes & Noble launched the Nook, its own ebook reader, for US $259, after announcing it in October 2009. Based on the Android platform, the original device included a 6-inch E Ink display, with WiFi and 3G connectivity. In June 2010, the price of the original Nook was reduced to $199, and a new WiFi-only model was launched for $159. The Nook Color was announced in October 2010, for the full-color viewing of magazines and picture books. In November 2010, the website of Barnes & Noble offered 2 million ebooks for the Nook. [Photo licensed under Creative Commons, from Wikipedia.]
April 2010 > The iPad, a multifunctional tablet launched by Apple >
Apple launched the iPad, its digital multifunctional tablet, in April 2010 in the U.S. for US$499, with an iBookstore of 60,000 ebooks, and many more to come from partnerships with publishers. The iPad was available in a few European countries in June 2010. After the iPod and the iPhone, two cult devices, Apple has also become a key player for digital books.
April 2010 > A quote by Catherine Domain, bookseller and publisher of travel books >
Catherine Domain, founder of the Ulysses bookstore, the oldest travel bookstore in the world, has become a publisher of travel books in April 2010. She wrote in an email: "The internet has taken more and more space in my life! On April 1st I started being a publisher after some painful training in Photoshop, InDesign and others. This is also great to see that the political will to keep people in front of their computers for them not to start a revolution can be defeated by giant and spontaneous happy hours [in France, through Facebook] with thousands of people who want to see – and speak with - each other in person. There will always be unexpected developments to new inventions. When I started using the internet [in 1999], I really didn't expect to become a publisher." [Photo by Catherine Domain, copyrighted.]
December 2010 > End of the Booknology >
Many thanks to Marc Autret for the term “Booknology” used in a previous common project, and to all those quoted in this Booknology. Thank you to ActuaLitté, Mike Cook, Catherine Domain, Jean-Paul, Nicolas Pewny, Claude Rayon, Pierre Schweitzer, Henk Slettenhaar, and Wikipedia for their photos and images. [Image above by Catherine Domain, copyrighted.]
[Disclaimer: All the images of the Booknology have been carefully selected, for information purposes, according to the European legislation. If there is any problem using one of these images, please send me an email. My email address is in the "Profile" section of <http://marielebert.blogspot.com>.]