Online Book Initiative README File

This is the Online Book Initiative's (OBI) Online Book Repository (OBR), a large collection of text and related materials ranging from Shakespeare and The Bible to novels, poetry, standards documents, etc. As of this writing (12/28/94) there is about 600MB of mostly compressed text in the collection. To the best of our knowledge everything here is freely redistributable. A few questionable items have been made unreadable for the time being.

This is a purely charitable project offered free to the entire Internet and anyone else who can find their way here.

Most text appears as it was found or scanned in.

DISCLAIMER: One can imagine in their mind's eye more consistent text formats, better organization and all sorts of other wonderful things.

Just because we can imagine such a thing is not a good reason to feel that one must therefore harass someone else to do this. This is a very large collection of text and growing all the time. We rely on volunteers for all work, no one is paid to deal with the OBI.

One of the major purposes of this collection is to try to bring together all this text into one place as a first goal. Most of the text you see here would have been very difficult to locate as it was originally scattered and much of it not available to the public.

In many cases it was only digging up what people out on the net had in their personal directories and never even imagined would be worthwhile putting up for distribution that got significant works here. In other cases people were inspired by the existence of the project to scan or type in texts that never existed in electronic form previously. We always solicit new works which are freely redistributable and will try to find space for them so everyone may access these texts.

The hope is that this is a first, small step in creating massive full-text on-line libraries and will inspire others to do what needs to be done; to accomplish what we all know must be done.

Barry Shein, Brookline, MA (

Barry Shein, on behalf of the OBI, asserts compilation copyright. Permission is hereby given for the following usages:

  1. Use of any text, or even many texts, as governed by their own free redistribution in any way you wish, except as expressly witheld below.
  2. Redistribution collections, in whole or in part, via electronic network transfer (FTP, NFS, or similar, telecommunication protocols, local disk access.) There is no limit on charging for access etc., OBI has no opinion on that. Libraries (public or private), scholarly collections, bulletin boards, on-line services, schools, corporate libraries and reference, government and most anyone should feel free to provide anything found here in whole or in part on-line (OBI has no opinion or claim on printing one or several documents to paper, reselling paper printed copies for any amount, etc.)

Expressly witheld by compilation copyright:

REPRODUCTION of all or most of the collection on MAGNETIC or OPTICAL or other TANGIBLE MEDIA sold for-profit (floppies, CD/ROMs, tapes, etc.) or in excess of direct costs of media and delivery, and in particular where more than 100 identical copies will be offered OTHER than within one organization for internal support or convenience. This includes inclusion in any text retrieval or similar product (clarification: THIS APPLIES ONLY TO THE COMPILATION, feel free, for example, to take large sections of it for any use.) Such use requires EXPLICIT WRITTEN PERMISSION. The INTENT is that the collection as a whole or nearly whole is itself a unique object, a compilation, and represents significant work and cost. OBI reserves the right to sell the compilation for fund-raising to support their charitable efforts.

Neither OBI nor Barry Shein makes any warranties, implied or otherwise, regarding:

A) The fitness of any materials in the collection for a particular purpose.

B) Originality or Accuracy of materials nor freedom from corruption either intentional or accidental.

C) Violation of copyright or other intellectual property claims on OBI materials.

Although we try to be careful to only provide freely redistributable texts and other materials errors and misrepresentations to us can and have occurred. OBI is a CHARITABLE effort. If you find a violation please report it to and we will make every effort to verify and correct any problems.