Open Library is an online project intended to create "one web page for every book ever published". Created by Aaron Swartz, Brewster Kahle, Alexis Rossi, Anand Chitipothu, and Rebecca Malamud, Open Library is a project of the non-profit Internet Archive and has been funded in part by a grant from the California State Library and the Kahle/Austin Foundation.
It provides access to many public domain and out-of-print books, which can be read online.
Open Library homepage in September 2011
Type of site
|Digital library index|
|Alexa rank||16,427 (April 2014)|
|data: public domain|
source code: AGPLv3
Its book information is collected from the Library of Congress, other libraries, and Amazon.com, as well as from user contributions through a Wiki-like interface. If books are available in digital form, a button labelled "Read" appears next to its catalog listing. Links to where books can be purchased or borrowed are also provided.
There are different entities in the database:
Open Library claims to have 6 million authors and 20 million books (not works), and about one million public domain books available as digitized books. Tens of thousands of modern books were made available from four and then 150 libraries and publishers for ebook digital lending. Other books including in-print and in-copyright books have been scanned from copies in library collections, library discards, and donations, and are also being distributed in digital form.
Open Library began in 2006 with Aaron Swartz as the original engineer and leader of Open the Library's technical team. The project was led by George Oates from April 2009 to December 2011. Oates was responsible for a complete site redesign during her tenure. In 2015, the project was continued by Giovanni Damiola and then Brenton Cheng and Mek Karpeles in 2016.
The site was redesigned and relaunched in May 2010. Its codebase is on GitHub. The site uses Infobase, its own database framework based on PostgreSQL, and Infogami, its own Wiki engine written in Python. The source code to the site is published under the GNU Affero General Public License.
The website was relaunched adding ADA compliance and offering over 1 million modern and older books to the print disabled in May 2010 using the DAISY Digital Talking Book. Under certain provisions of United States copyright law, libraries are sometimes able to reproduce copyrighted works in formats accessible to users with disabilities.
As of February 2019, the Open Library has been accused of mass copyright violation, via the systematic distribution of in-print, in-copyright books, by the American Authors Guild, the British Society of Authors, the Australian Society of Authors, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the US National Writers Union, and a coalition of 37 national and international organizations of "writers, translators, photographers, and graphic artists; unions, organizations, and federations representing the creators of works included in published books; book publishers; and reproduction rights and public lending rights organizations." The UK Society of Authors threatened legal action unless the Open Library agreed to cease distribution of copyrighted works by 1-Feb-2019 . Individual authors reported that Open Library had ignored multiple DMCA takedown notices until after they made a fuss on the Internet Archive blog
Sir Alec Guinness, (born Alec Guinness de Cuffe; 2 April 1914 – 5 August 2000) was an English actor. After an early career on the stage, Guinness was featured in several of the Ealing Comedies, including The Ladykillers and Kind Hearts and Coronets in which he played nine different characters. He is also known for his six collaborations with David Lean: Herbert Pocket in Great Expectations (1946), Fagin in Oliver Twist (1948), Col. Nicholson in The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor), Prince Faisal in Lawrence of Arabia (1962), General Yevgraf Zhivago in Doctor Zhivago (1965), and Professor Godbole in A Passage to India (1984). He is also known for his portrayal of Obi-Wan Kenobi in George Lucas's original Star Wars trilogy; for the original film, he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the 50th Academy Awards.
Guinness was one of three British actors, along with Laurence Olivier and John Gielgud, who made the transition from Shakespearean theatre to blockbuster films immediately after World War II. Guinness served in the Royal Naval Reserve during the war and commanded a landing craft during the invasion of Sicily and Elba. During the war he was granted leave to appear in the stage play Flare Path about RAF Bomber Command.
Guinness won an Academy Award, a BAFTA, a Golden Globe and a Tony Award. In 1959, he was knighted by Elizabeth II for services to the arts. He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960, the Academy Honorary Award for lifetime achievement in 1980 and the BAFTA Academy Fellowship Award in 1989. Guinness appeared in nine films that featured in the BFI's 100 greatest British films of the 20th century, which included five of Lean's films.C. S. Forester
Cecil Louis Troughton Smith (27 August 1899 – 2 April 1966), known by his pen name Cecil Scott "C. S." Forester, was an English novelist known for writing tales of naval warfare such as the 12-book Horatio Hornblower series, depicting a Royal Navy officer during the Napoleonic wars. Two of the Hornblower books, A Ship of the Line and Flying Colours, were jointly awarded the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction in 1938. His other works include The African Queen (1935; filmed in 1951 by John Huston).Charles Fourier
François Marie Charles Fourier (; French: [ʃaʁl fuʁje]; 7 April 1772 – 10 October 1837) was a French philosopher, influential early socialist thinker and one of the founders of utopian socialism. Some of Fourier's social and moral views, held to be radical in his lifetime, have become mainstream thinking in modern society. For instance, Fourier is credited with having originated the word "feminism" in 1837.Fourier's social views and proposals inspired a whole movement of intentional communities. Among them in the United States were the community of Utopia, Ohio; La Reunion near present-day Dallas, Texas; the North American Phalanx in Red Bank, New Jersey; Brook Farm in West Roxbury, Massachusetts; the Community Place and Sodus Bay Phalanx in New York State; Silkville, Kansas in Kansas; and several others. Fourier later inspired a diverse array of revolutionary thinkers and writers.Giorgio Vasari
Giorgio Vasari (Italian: [ˈdʒordʒo vaˈzaːri]; 30 July 1511 – 27 June 1574) was an Italian painter, architect, writer, and historian, most famous today for his Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, considered the ideological foundation of art-historical writing.Gwendolyn Brooks
Gwendolyn Elizabeth Brooks (June 7, 1917 – December 3, 2000) was an American poet, author, and teacher. Her work often dealt with the personal celebrations and struggles of ordinary people in her community. She won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry on May 1, 1950, for Annie Allen, making her the first African American to receive the Pulitzer.Throughout her prolific writing career, Brooks received many more honors. She was appointed Poet Laureate of Illinois in 1968, a position she held until her death, and what is now the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress for the 1985–86 term. In 1976, she became the first African-American woman inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.Brooks was born in Topeka, Kansas and at six-weeks-old was taken to Chicago, where she lived the rest of her life. Her parents, especially her mother encouraged her poetry writing. She began submitting poems to various publications, as a teenager. After graduating high school during the Great Depression, she took a two-year junior college program, worked as a typist, married, and had children. Continuing to write and submit her work, she finally found substantial outlets for her poetry. This recognition of her work also led her to lecturing and teaching aspiring writers. Being the winner of multiple awards for her writing, several schools and institutions have been named in her honor.Hans Christian Andersen
Hans Christian Andersen (; Danish: [hans kʁæsdjan ˈɑnɐsn̩] (listen); 2 April 1805 – 4 August 1875) was a Danish author. Although a prolific writer of plays, travelogues, novels, and poems, Andersen is best remembered for his fairy tales. Andersen's popularity is not limited to children: his stories express themes that transcend age and nationality.
Andersen's fairy tales, of which no fewer than 3381 works have been translated into more than 125 languages, have become culturally embedded in the West's collective consciousness, readily accessible to children, but presenting lessons of virtue and resilience in the face of adversity for mature readers as well. His most famous fairy tales include "The Emperor's New Clothes", "The Little Mermaid", "The Nightingale", "The Snow Queen", "The Ugly Duckling", "The Little Match Girl" and "Thumbelina". His stories have inspired ballets, plays, and animated and live-action films. One of Copenhagen's widest and busiest boulevards is named "H.C. Andersens Boulevard".Henry Fuseli
Henry Fuseli (German: Johann Heinrich Füssli; 7 February 1741 – 17 April 1825) was a Swiss painter, draughtsman and writer on art who spent much of his life in Britain. Many of his works, such as The Nightmare, deal with supernatural subject-matter. He painted works for John Boydell's Shakespeare Gallery, and created his own "Milton Gallery". He held the posts of Professor of Painting and Keeper at the Royal Academy. His style had a considerable influence on many younger British artists, including William Blake.Johann Nepomuk Hummel
Johann Nepomuk Hummel (14 November 1778 – 17 October 1837) was an Austrian composer and virtuoso pianist. His music reflects the transition from the Classical to the Romantic musical era.Larry Niven
Laurence van Cott Niven (; born April 30, 1938) is an American science fiction writer. His best-known work is Ringworld (1970), which received Hugo, Locus, Ditmar, and Nebula awards. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America named him the 2015 recipient of the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award. His work is primarily hard science fiction, using big science concepts and theoretical physics. It also often includes elements of detective fiction and adventure stories. His fantasy includes the series The Magic Goes Away, rational fantasy dealing with magic as a non-renewable resource.Ludwig Uhland
Johann Ludwig Uhland (26 April 1787 – 13 November 1862) was a German poet, philologist and literary historian.Philip Roth
Philip Milton Roth (March 19, 1933 – May 22, 2018) was an American novelist and short-story writer.
Roth's fiction, regularly set in his birthplace of Newark, New Jersey, is known for its intensely autobiographical character, for philosophically and formally blurring the distinction between reality and fiction, for its "sensual, ingenious style" and for its provocative explorations of American identity.Roth first gained attention with the 1959 novella Goodbye, Columbus, for which he received the U.S. National Book Award for Fiction. He became one of the most awarded American writers of his generation. His books twice received the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle award, and three times the PEN/Faulkner Award. He received a Pulitzer Prize for his 1997 novel American Pastoral, which featured one of his best-known characters, Nathan Zuckerman, a character in many of Roth's novels. The Human Stain (2000), another Zuckerman novel, was awarded the United Kingdom's WH Smith Literary Award for the best book of the year. In 2001, in Prague, Roth received the inaugural Franz Kafka Prize.Philipp Otto Runge
Philipp Otto Runge (German: [ˈʁʊŋə]; 23 July 1777 – 2 December 1810) was a Romantic German painter and draughtsman. Although he made a late start to his career and died young, he is considered among the best German Romantic painters.Phillis Wheatley
Phillis Wheatley, also spelled Phyllis and Wheatly (c. 1753 – December 5, 1784) was the first published African-American female poet. Born in West Africa, she was sold into slavery at the age of seven or eight and transported to North America. She was purchased by the Wheatley family of Boston, who taught her to read and write and encouraged her poetry when they saw her talent.
The publication of her Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral on September 1, 1773 brought her fame both in England and the American colonies. Figures such as George Washington praised her work. During Wheatley's visit to England with her master's son, African-American poet Jupiter Hammon praised her work in his own poem. Wheatley was emancipated (set free) shortly after the publication of her book. She married in about 1778. Two of her children died as infants. After her husband was imprisoned for debt in 1784, Wheatley fell into poverty and died of illness, quickly followed by the death of her surviving infant son.Selma Lagerlöf
Selma Ottilia Lovisa Lagerlöf (Swedish: [²sɛlːma ²lɑːɡɛrˌløːv] (listen); 20 November 1858 – 16 March 1940) was a Swedish author and teacher. She published her first novel, Gösta Berling's Saga, at the age of 33. She was the first female writer to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, which she was awarded in 1909. Additionally, she was the first female to be granted a membership in The Swedish Academy in 1914.Sidney Lee
Sir Sidney Lee (5 December 1859 – 3 March 1926) was an English biographer, writer and critic.The Number of the Beast (novel)
The Number of the Beast is a science fiction novel by American writer Robert A. Heinlein, published in 1980. The first (paperback) edition featured a cover and interior illustrations by Richard M. Powers. Excerpts from the novel were serialized in the magazine Omni (1979 October, November).Vernor Vinge
Vernor Steffen Vinge ( (listen); born October 2, 1944) is an American science fiction author and retired professor. He taught mathematics and computer science at San Diego State University. He is the originator of the technological singularity concept and perhaps the first to present a fictional "cyberspace". He has won the Hugo Award for his novels and novellas A Fire Upon the Deep (1992), A Deepness in the Sky (1999), Rainbows End (2006), Fast Times at Fairmont High (2002), and The Cookie Monster (2004).Victor Hugo
Victor Marie Hugo (French: [viktɔʁ maʁi yɡo] (listen); 26 February 1802 – 22 May 1885) was a French poet, novelist, and dramatist of the Romantic movement. Hugo is considered to be one of the greatest and best-known French writers. Outside France, his most famous works are the novels Les Misérables, 1862, and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame (French: Notre-Dame de Paris), 1831. In France, Hugo is known primarily for his poetry collections, such as Les Contemplations (The Contemplations) and La Légende des siècles (The Legend of the Ages).
Hugo was at the forefront of the Romantic literary movement with his play Cromwell and drama Hernani. Many of his works have inspired music, both during his lifetime and after his death, including the musicals Notre-Dame de Paris and Les Misérables. He produced more than 4,000 drawings in his lifetime, and campaigned for social causes such as the abolition of capital punishment.
Though a committed royalist when he was young, Hugo's views changed as the decades passed, and he became a passionate supporter of republicanism; his work touches upon most of the political and social issues and the artistic trends of his time. He is buried in the Panthéon in Paris. His legacy has been honoured in many ways, including his portrait being placed on French currency.Zebulon Pike
Zebulon Montgomery Pike (January 5, 1779 – April 27, 1813) was an American brigadier general and explorer for whom Pikes Peak in Colorado was renamed (from El Capitan). As a U.S. Army officer he led two expeditions under authority of third President Thomas Jefferson through the new Louisiana Purchase territory, first in 1805-06 to reconnoiter the upper northern reaches of the Mississippi River, and then in 1806-07 to explore the Southwest to the fringes of the northern Spanish-colonial settlements of New Mexico and Texas. Pike's expeditions coincided with other Jeffersonian expeditions, including the Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804–1806) and the Thomas Freeman and Peter Custis expedition up the Red River (1806).Pike's second expedition crossed the Rocky Mountains into what is now southern Colorado, which led to his capture by the Spanish colonial authorities near Santa Fe, who sent Pike and his men to Chihuahua (present-day Mexico), for interrogation. Later in 1807, Pike and some of his men were escorted by the Spanish through Texas and released near American territory in Louisiana.
In 1810, Pike published an account of his expeditions, a book so popular that it was translated into Dutch, French, and German languages, for publication in Europe. He later achieved the rank of brigadier general in the American Army and served during the War of 1812, until he was killed during the Battle of York, in April 1813, outside the then British colonial capital of Upper Canada (later Ontario).