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Q: Public domain content not yet online ( Answered,   2 Comments )
Subject: Public domain content not yet online
Category: Reference, Education and News > General Reference
Asked by: hindered-ga
List Price: $30.00
Posted: 07 Jan 2005 14:43 PST
Expires: 06 Feb 2005 14:43 PST
Question ID: 453783
A large amount of public domain content is available online, the
largest collection thereof being Project Gutenberg.

I was wondering what text or image content is yet to be published, but
exists in the public domain? And where is it available?

Are there any encyclopedias or other general reference works (like
almanacs) that fit this category? I'm not interested in small
documents - I need to know about entire collections or entire books.

The more useful the content, the larger it is and the more readily it
is available, the more you will be paid.

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 07 Jan 2005 15:31 PST

Are you asking about electronic content that is not yet online, or
actual paper publications?

If the latter, then the answer is...pretty much everything published
prior to 1923 is now in the public domain.  What additional
information do you need regarding this voluminous collection of

And while we're on the topic, I rather doubt that Project Gutenberg
(much as I love and respect it) is the largest public domain
collection on the internet.  I suspect that the massive publications
of the US government -- all of which are public domain -- far surpass
in overall size the amount of material in Gutenberg.

Let us know how we can further help you.


Clarification of Question by hindered-ga on 08 Jan 2005 22:03 PST
Either electronic or paper, as long as it's available. 

I know stuff before that date is public domain. But what of it hasn't
been put on the net? Particularly content that at least some types of
people would find interesting.

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 09 Jan 2005 05:56 PST
Whew...I'm not quite sure where to go with this one.   There's SO MUCH
material in print, it's hard to know what would interest you.

However, if you have access to the WorldCat database of library
holdings (perhaps your library makes it available), you can search for
books by publication date, and sort the results by "popularity"
(acutally, the number of libraries holding the book).

For instance, a search on pre-1923 encyclopedias, turns up thousands
of volumes, including the most popular ones such as:

Encyclopedia of world biography :
20th century supplement 
Publication: Palatine, Ill. : J. Heraty, 1900

The Catholic encyclopedia :
an international work of reference on the constitution, doctrine,
discipline, and history of the Catholic Church
Publication: New York : Robert Appleton Co., 1907-1912

The Jewish encyclopedia;
a descriptive record of the history, religion, literature, and customs
of the Jewish people from the earliest times to the present day;
Publication: New York and London, Funk & Wagnalls Co., 1901-1906

The new Schaff-Herzog encyclopedia of religious knowledge,
embracing Biblical, historical, doctrinal, and practical theology and
Biblical, theological, and ecclesiastical biography from the earliest
times to the present day,
Publication: New York, London, Funk and Wagnalls Co. 1908-1914

The American history and encyclopedia of music ... 
Publication: Toledo, New York [etc.] I. Squire 1908-1910

Shakespeare criticism; a selection, 
Publication: New York [etc.] M. Milford, Oxford University Press 1916

and on and on and on...

I haven't checked, but I doubt any of these are online.

Is this approach useful for you?


Clarification of Question by hindered-ga on 29 Jan 2005 19:37 PST
Thanks for that.. Looking further into it..

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 30 Jan 2005 12:28 PST
Good...I hope I've presented some intirguing options.

Let me know in a day or so how things are working out.


Subject: Re: Public domain content not yet online
Answered By: pafalafa-ga on 06 Feb 2005 10:51 PST
Hello again,

I didn't want to let your question expire unanswered, so I've added
some links below to some very useful sources of materials, much of
which is in the public domain.  These links will be excellent sources
of information for you, as you zero in on the type of content you

If you have any questions about this information, just let me know. 
Simply post a Request for Clarification, and I'm at your service.

All the best, 



For starters, the Making of America site at:

has an absolutely wonderful collection of books and magazines from the
formative years of the American republic.  Most of the material here
is 19th or early 20th century, and is well before the copyright cutoff
date of 1923.

As the site says:

"Making of America (MoA) is a digital library of primary sources in
American social history from the antebellum period through
reconstruction. The collection is particularly strong in the subject
areas of education, psychology, American history, sociology, religion,
and science and technology. The collection currently contains
approximately 8,500 books and 50,000 journal articles with 19th
century imprints."

A search on some key words of interest, such as "encyclopedia" or
"dictionary" or "annual" (as in annual reviews) will return a
treasure-trove of public domain texts.


The federal government is also a bottomless pit of public-domain
publications, and again, the challenge is sorting through what's
available to zero in on the publications that would be of most use to
you.  A good starting point is this FirstGov site:

which organizes the federal government materials into useful
sub-categories for ease of exploration.

Just as a for-instance, the 168-page "2005 Consumer Action Handbook"
can be downloaded here:

and is free to use as a public-domain document.


Lastly, is this great resource for military documents (also, virtually
all public domain), organized by historical periods:

Looking for some fascinating reading on the Civil War, WWII, or
Vietnam...this is the site.


Again, let me know if you need any additional information.


search strategy -- Used bookmarked sites.
Subject: Re: Public domain content not yet online
From: justaskscott-ga on 30 Jan 2005 12:34 PST
You may be interested in this project:

"Google Checks Out Library Books"
Subject: Re: Public domain content not yet online
From: politicalguru-ga on 06 Feb 2005 10:06 PST
A small note: the Catholic Encyclopaedia of 1911 has been in fact
published online (and what useful resource it is for those studying
Catholic Encyclopaedia

What would interest me, on public domain, but not online:
- books, encyclopaedia, herbals and illustrations from the Middle Ages; 
- Lexica/dictionaries to all living languages and to most important
dead or artificial languages (no, not Klingon). Probably many of them
have been published before 1923;
- all films produced before 1923.

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