These are the two most common programs used to read the Library files. Adobe reader is a commercial program and read only PDFs. Sumatra is a free and open source program which reads not only PDFs of EPUBS and a variety of other formats. Personally I recommend Sumatra.
Many of these books are from an age before Attorneys and Government Agencies existed to protect us from ourselves, the world and ensure that we’d all live forever and never suffer a scratch, bruise or other injury.
These books have been collected over the years primarily for their Historical value in teaching us about the way prior generations lived.
ALWAYS keep in mind that the knowledge, techniques and skills in these books come from a century ago, sometimes earlier. They date from a time before we understood such things as disease vectors and the toxicity of substances such as mercury. While we’ve included the medical and food related books because there are many valuable, tried and true techniques that have been forgotten over time, they do contain formulas, recipes and knowledge that we now know to be dangerous and harmful. Before considering using any of these techniques or applying the skills and knowledge in them, apply common sense and modern knowledge. If you’re in any doubt about the safety of something in these books either consult an expert or don’t use them.
All of the books listed are Public Domain or have expired Copyrights so you are free to download and print them. All of them are in PDF format and are primarily from page scans of original printed book sources. In many cases there is also an EPUB version available.
EPUB vs PDF FORMATS:
The advantage of the EPUB version is that it is much smaller than the PDF version. However in many of the EPUBs parts of the original books are garbled during conversion. That affects primarily indexes, title pages and the like. In almost every case the primary text of the books is usable and clear. However printing EPUBs can be problematical depending on your available software and your system. The EPUBS are best suited for conversion to various formats for Electronic Readers using software such as the free CALIBRE program which allows you to load EPUBS and then convert them into the proper format for almost every available Reader. The Sumatra PDF Program is an excellent and fast reader that will display both PDF and EPUBs as well as a wide number of other formats. It’s the normal reader we use here for PDFs and EPUBS. If you intend to print the book to put on your bookshelf then I recommend you download the PDF version.
EPUB versions of most books are created by OCR scanning of the PDF version of the document. This technique attempts to have a computer program read the characters of the text in the document and correctly deduce what letter or character it represents. The accuracy rates can range from extremely high for an excellent quality scanned text only book through truly abysmal for a book with many font types, illustrations, diagrams and a less than optimal original scan. For most narrative type books these OCR conversions are quite adequate. The typographical errors are easily noticeable and can be easily overlooked since the correct word is obvious in context.
In more technical books especially those with formulas or a lot of numerical data the errors can render the EPUB version virtually useless without referencing the original PDF to verify information. Be aware when you are looking at an EPUB version of a book that typographical errors are quite common and don’t assume numerical or technical data converted properly.
Bottom line: EPUB versions of Text and Narrative Books are generally quite adequate. When reading EPUB Versions of Technical books ALWAYS check the original scanned version in the PDF version where Numerical, Chemical or other Technical data is involved.
BLACK AND WHITE PDF vs COLOR PDF:
In many cases there are both color and B/W PDF versions of books. In the majority of cases the color information in the PDF relates only to the yellowing of the paper or the color of covers or front papers. In the majority of cases we will provide the B/W version of the book because it makes it easier to print a readable copy and the file size is smaller. Few people have the resources to print entire books in color, especially when the color is simply yellowed paper background. In cases where color is an integral part of the book such as illustrations of plants or flowers we will post the color version of the PDF. If there is a particular book that is in a B/W format for which you have need of the color PDF (if there is one) please contact me and I’ll try to obtain it for you and email it or make it available in the Library.
New updates and changes to the Library will be posted on the front page of the site here as they occur and in more detail (as needed) in the Library Updates and Additions forum. In the forum they will be listed in date order from most recent to oldest.
REVIEWS AND ERRORS:
If you download and read the books from the Library, we’d like to ask that you submit reviews of any you find particularly useful or NON-useful. We’ll be publishing User Book Reviews in our weekly Newsletter along with our own Reviews and lists of new additions. If you encounter any books that have corrupted files, broken links, misnamed books, books in the wrong category, etc., please let us know. You can email your Book Reviews and comments to email@example.com or leave them on our Contact Us page.
The books have been procured form a wide variety of sources. Predominantly Universities and historical research collections throughout the world. Some are on obscure sites related to the subject of the book. Others come from various government agencies as well as national and international non-government organizations. Yet others come from private collections. You’ll notice the Google, Microsoft and other company imprints on some of the documents. These companies, in support of online library projects, have funded the scanning and digitizing work at many organizations and institutions through the world.
In most cases if there are multiple versions of a book we will only include the latest one published. In some cases we will included multiple copies of a book from different years if the information in them varies significantly or the changes in information vary significantly from one edition to another. It is often quite interesting and educational to see What information changed and Why. In some cases an earlier version of a book may contain chapters and sections of information that is left out of a later book which itself contains additional information not in the earlier edition.
CONTRIBUTIONS and SUGGESTIONS:
If you have any books you’d like to contribute to the collection please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org or email the location of a document we can add.