15 December 2006 by Published in: General News 9 comments

As critical as I have been of Google’s scheme to disregard the copyright rights of authors, I have a very difficult time finding any fault at all with this extremely useful web site. The link is to Microsoft’s Books Live site. Bear in mind that the depth of how much I despise Microsoft–also known as the Evil Empire–and that saying anything at nice about Microsoft is extremely difficult indeed for me. Hat tip to Teej Smith and J. D. Petruzzi for bringing this site to my attention.

However, the Evil Empire’s Books Live project has digitized thousands of PUBLIC DOMAIN works in order to make them available to the consuming public. These works are no longer eligible for copyright protection, so there are no royalties and may be used by anyone for any reason. I did a search for Ulric Dahlgren earlier this evening, and found a number of really useful items there that I had either never heard of, or had overlooked in the course of doing my research. The site is free, and it’s free to use the materials found there.

The only down side is that the images are digital scans, so you can’t do a copy/paste. You either have to print out the pages you want, or you have to sit and transcribe them. However, that’s a small price to pay for the benefits received. As hard as it is for me to endorse anything even remotely related to Microsoft, this site gets an enthusiastic two thumbs up from me.

Penn State University has another very useful project. It’s been digitizing Civil War newspapers from a number of large and small towns around the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The site can be found here. There are a number of good newspaper sources there, such as the Philadelphia Post and the Chambersburg Repository. There are also articles from a newspaper I had never before heard of, but which may well have my favorite newspaper name of all time, the Wellsboro Agitator.

These two digital history projects are enormously useful, and I commend them to you.

Scridb filter


  1. Stan O'Donnell
    Sat 16th Dec 2006 at 8:30 am

    I went to school up in Tioga County at Mansfield University. PA Bucktail/ Reserves country.
    My brother and his wife lived in Wellsboro.
    I used to get annoyed everytime I’d visit them. The agitation in that sleepy town was palpable.
    Of course, they’re divorced now.

  2. Sat 16th Dec 2006 at 12:23 pm


    LOL. I’m not sure that’s the sort of agitation they had in mind, but it certainly works. 🙂


  3. Sun 17th Dec 2006 at 10:58 pm

    Hey! Both of these resources look very useful. Looks as though we have lots in common, as well. I live in Ohio, work full time as a writer / editor, and we make an annual trek to Gettysburg and / or other Civil War grounds.

  4. Mon 18th Dec 2006 at 4:58 pm

    Nice to hear from you, Kelly. I had a look at your web site.

    Where do you live and work?

    As you probably know, I’m in Columbus.


  5. wade sokolosky
    Mon 18th Dec 2006 at 10:08 pm


    thanks for the heads up. Saved me wasting time in the LOC or NA on several regimentals I needed for Wyse Fork.


  6. Tue 19th Dec 2006 at 12:50 am

    Lorain, Ohio here . . .

    I was in Columbus in August, giving a presentation at the Columbus Writer’s Conference.


  7. Steve Meserve
    Wed 20th Dec 2006 at 2:52 pm

    >The only down side is that the images are digital scans, so you can’t do a copy/paste. You either have to print out the pages you want, or you have to sit and transcribe them.

  8. Steve Meserve
    Wed 20th Dec 2006 at 2:53 pm

    If you have Adobe Reader 7.0, click on the “Select” tool in the menu bar. It won’t copy across page breaks, but that problem is easy enough to solve. It takes a lot less time to paste together two blocks of copy than to retype everything.

    Steve Meserve

  9. Wed 20th Dec 2006 at 5:46 pm

    Excellent tips, Steve. Thank you very much. I will give it a shot.


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