Okay, so you can find lots of digitized texts from the libraries’ homepage, by looking under the subject lists. But we all know EVERYTHING is on the Web, so where do you find the best free texts online? Well, oddly enough, you can also start with the library here.

In many of the online research guides (“Research by Subject” on the home page), there are links to free online texts. The guides for French, German, Italian, Spanish, Jewish Studies, and Medieval and Renaissance Studies, for example, all have links to digital archives. And many other subject guides do as well. We’ve done some of the work for you!

Out on the Web, Google Books is the most ambitious, and interesting, e-texts project. Millions of books scanned, a whole lot of free content (even of recent books), plus the ability to search full-text. You can find a needle in a haystack, or combine totally unrelated things to discover new synergies.

Google Books also has a new e-books site, where you can purchase e-books or read free ones in your browser. You can also copy the free books onto your choice of devices.

There’s also the Internet Archive. It includes much more than books though – photographs, music, audio, video files are there as well. It’s a free multi-media library online.

And then there’s good old Project Gutenberg, one of the earliest digital text archives on the Web, that now offers free downloads as well to various e-readers.

Here are a few others to try:

And you can always ask a librarian to help you find online texts. We’re good at finding free stuff too!


2 thoughts on “Texts Online, Part Two: Where is the free stuff?

  1. You can also go to the new e-books guide and find an entire page dedicated to free e-books. To access the guide go to http://guides.library.jhu.edu/ebooks. Under the “Finding and Getting e-books” Tab is a page called “Free e-books”. This page includes lots of free e-book websites as well as a section on foreign language free e-books. Check it out!

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