The Internet Text Archive contains a wide range, three million texts, of fiction, popular books, children’s books, historical texts and academic books. The Internet Archive is non-profit group, started in 1996 and charged with the responsibility to build an online library that will contain materials for researchers, scholars, and the general public and to provide services for adaptive technologies for the blind and for those with other disabilities.
The statement from their web page reads:
“Libraries exist to preserve society’s cultural artifacts and to provide access to them. If libraries are to continue to foster education and scholarship in this era of digital technology, it’s essential for them to extend those functions into the digital world.
Many early movies were recycled to recover the silver in the film. The Library of Alexandria – an ancient center of learning containing a copy of every book in the world – was eventually burned to the ground. Even now, at the turn of the 21st century, no comprehensive archives of television or radio programs exist.
But without cultural artifacts, civilization has no memory and no mechanism to learn from its successes and failures. And paradoxically, with the explosion of the Internet, we live in what Danny Hillis has referred to as our “digital dark age.”
The Internet Archive is working to prevent the Internet – a new medium with major historical significance – and other “born-digital” materials from disappearing into the past. Collaborating with institutions including the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian, we are working to preserve a record for generations to come.
Open and free access to literature and other writings has long been considered essential to education and to the maintenance of an open society. Public and philanthropic enterprises have supported it through the ages.”