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Mormon Digitization Project

Not too long ago I downloaded Eucalyptus, a slick new ebook reader for the iPhone. I love it. I didn’t think anything could knock Stanza down from being king of the hill in my ebook-reading world, but Eucalyptus did it and with style.

Caveat: Eucalyptus can only read books from Project Gutenberg. But that’s not really a problem for me, since most of what I wanted to read was on there anyway. (Well, most of what I wanted to read that already happened to be free.)

Fast forward to this morning. I’m Mormon, and I want to read more Mormon-related texts. I searched around on Project Gutenberg but only found six or seven books — the Book of Mormon (of course), James E. Talmage’s Jesus the Christ and The Story of Mormonism, and then some outsider and/or anti works. Hardly anything.

I want to change that.

There are lots of public domain (pre-1923) texts related to the Church which would be valuable to make available for free, so my new goal is to start digitizing them and putting them into Project Gutenberg. (So I can read them in Eucalyptus.)

Yes, yes, I’m aware that there are already places like GospeLink with plenty of these texts. That’s great, but I want Mormon books in Project Gutenberg, and so far that hasn’t really happened. It’s been seven years since I submitted The Story of Mormonism to Project Gutenberg, and the number of Mormon-related texts added since then (if any) is paltry at best.

I’m going to start building a list of the books I think should be added, and if you have any additions, let me know. (The only real stipulation is that there has to be at least one edition of the book published before 1923, to ensure that it’s out of copyright.) First on my list is John A. Widtsoe’s Joseph Smith As Scientist. I also plan to add the D&C, Pearl of Great Price, and eventually the Journal of Discourses.

I’ll also be developing my Unbindery web app as part of this, and I’ll need volunteers to help with proofreading. When that part is ready, I’ll let you know, but if any of you do want to help out, shoot me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

Last but not least: I like naming things, mainly so I have a way to talk about them. To that end, then, I’m going to call this the Mormon Digitization Project. Here we go.