I received Chris Paton’s (Scotland’s Greatest Story) newsletter in my inbox today and decided to take a closer look at hisArchive CD Books / Eneclann sale on his blog which, coincidentally pointed me to a worldwide project called “Archive CD Books”.

If you happened to read my December 7 article Google launches new eBookstore which discussed the pros and cons of their newly launched  eBookstore. The cons being the potential demise of the brick and mortar bookstores as we know them today, with the domino effect on the publishing industry changing the modus operandi of public libraries too.

I started by looking up archivecdbooksusa.com and discovered that the Archive CD Books Project makes digital reproductions of old books available to the public and donates the originals to libraries, historical societies, etc., thus preserving existing collections for future generations.

Starting in the UK in March 2000, the project has now participating partners in the U.S. (2005) and other countries worldwide.

This arrangement not only provides you with access to the Project’s entire worldwide inventory of books on CD from the partner company in your native country, but it serves to reduce delivery time and shipping costs.

The U.S. company works with societies, libraries and individuals to bring you a wide range of U.S. historical resources. Our selection of books is assisted by Robert Charles Anderson, one of the pre-eminent genealogists in the United States. Anderson is a Fellow of the American Society of Genealogists and is the Director of the Great Migration Study Project for the New England Historic Genealogical Society, editor of the Great Migration Newsletter, and co-editor of The American Genealogist. He serves as Genealogical Consultant to Archive CD Books USA.

They affirm that they will “never disbind or destroy any salvageable book in order to digitize it”. I’d like to look into the process of how they do this since I’m in the process of digitizing a copyright expired history book to potentially share for free with others: My personal dilemma being how to copy the book without destroying it. Here’s the link to see a scan sample which shows how blemishes (ink spots dirt etc.) are removed so that the text becomes clear to readers and researchers. It’s all done with OCR, but they don’t show you the equipment used to make the scans that doesn’t destroy the book.

The web site is fascinating and there’s an amazing collection of books available for sale on CD that are bound (excuse the pun) to be of value to genealogists. Special prices are offered to libraries and societies, certified researchers and resellers. This appears, however, contradicts their website  statement ” The Archive CD Books Project exists to make digital reproductions of old books and other materials available to the public, to donate original publications to libraries and other institutions, and to cooperate with these repositories to preserve their existing collections for future generations.”  Beware: This is my personal opinion and may be subject to misinterpretation, so please feel free to set me straight.

With technology evolving so rapidly you can compare this site with Google’s eBookstore where you can download an impressive selection of old literature too.

If, like me, you’re looking into copying some old “copyright expired” book it’s a good idea to take a look at the copyright laws here in the U.S. and overseas.

Here’s the shortlist Archive CD project participants:

Archive CD Books USA

Archive CD Books Ireland

Archive CD Books UK

Archive CD Books Australia

Archive CD Books Canada

Not to be confused with Archive CD Books Ireland, here’s the link to Eneclann Books a Trinity College Campus Company and a great online bookstore to visit for Irish genealogical research.  Trinity University in Dublin, Ireland, is one of the world’s greatest universities.

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