Best World Free Digital Libraries


***** Project Gutenberg
Project Gutenberg is the original free digital library of books no longer in copyright. So you'll find a great many classic literary texts here. The full Gutenberg collection now
exceeds 28,000 books. This whole compilation represents a monumental effort in unpaid, unselfish, labour since 1971, and ranks as a pioneering achievement of Web cooperation.

The Project Gutenberg philosophy is to make information, books and other materials available to the general public in forms a vast majority of computers, programs and people can easily read, use, quote, and search. Their books are usually in plain text (ASCII) format. However, to improve the online reading experience you can also make use of other reader software to enjoy their offerings (check out our Software Page). Find Project Gutenberg at:  

If you're using a small mobile device to read on, you can acess Project Gutenberg through their mobile interface instead:: 


Ornate capital letter A giflex Catalogue of Electronic Texts is a collection of public domain documents from American and English literature as well as Western philosophy. You can search for and display texts from the collection & also search their content, & even create on-the-fly PDFs for offline reading or printing.

arXiv e-Prints Includes e-Print "preprints" in physics, mathematics, biology, finance, statistics, nonlinear sciences, and computer sciences. From Cornell University with assistance from the National Science Foundation (USA), the National Institute for Theoretical Physics (USA) and the University of Adelaide (Australia). Formats include PDF, PostScript, and DVI. Gives open access to over six hundred thousand e-prints.
NB: There are mirror sites in Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, UK, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Russia, Spain, Taiwan, & USA.

Athena Thousands of mainly French and Swiss-authored e-texts, across a broad range of, especially, Literature, Science & the Arts. In .html &. rtf versions. Also many links to famous works in German, Dutch & English too. Prepared or linked for the Web by the University of Geneva. Expand your mind & education here. The Encyclopedia of World History and The Harvard Classics are among many free texts offered online in HTML at this award-winning site. Many classic reference works are available here.

Berkeley Digital Library/Sunsite Contains USA history & heritage collections, various sociological and other academic works, a Literature @ SunSITE collection (largely U.S. authors at the moment), & some miscellaneous scientific studies.

Bibliomania Offers more than 2,000 free classic texts, plus reference books, biographies and other research works, some articles and interviews. In HTML format, readable online in your web browser.

Bibliotheca Augustana A Latin e-library and more. Includes non solum Latina et Graeca, sed etiam bibliothecae Anglica, Bohemica, Gallica, Germanica, Hispanica, Iiddica, Italica, Lusitana, Polonica et Russica.  Collectio textuum electronicorum. Hae paginae proponent Musa adiuvante in lingua Latina - facta et ficta. In HTML, nicely illustrated too.

CELT (Corpus of Electronic Texts). Over eleven hundred Irish literary, historical & cultural texts, some contemporary, in Irish, Latin, Anglo-Norman French, and English. Presented in HTML, with a searchable online database. An initiative of University College, Cork, Republic of Ireland.

CogPrints Cognitive Sciences Eprint* Archive - Includes a wide variety of research papers in psychology, neuroscience, linguistics, philosophy, biology, medicine, anthropology and computer science. Material dates back as far as 1950, although most of it is post 1990. As at June 2010, CogPrints contained nearly 3,500 items. Some areas of the archive require registration, to obtain a username and password. *Eprints here are defined as the digital texts of peer-reviewed research articles, before and after refereeing. Before refereeing and publication, the draft is called a "preprint." The refereed, published final draft is called a "postprint." Eprints may include both preprints and postprints, as well as any significant drafts in between, and any post publication updates.

Complete Works of William Shakespeare, comedy, history, tragedy and poetry. The plays can be read either as a continuous text or by individual scenes. For reading online, in HTML.

Cornell University Library Historical Monographs   Comprises 441 general monographs made available for online viewing as TIFF images, for personal or research use only. Languages include English, Dutch, French, German, Latin, Portuguese & Spanish. A fascinating mishmash of topics, including some science.

New This site offers over 28,000 free e-books, arranged in more than fifty categories ranging from Antiques & Collectibles to Travel. Formats are varied, usually PDF & ePub, with some MobiPocket (.mobi) files suitable for the Kindle, plus a read online option (in HTML). Titles can also be read on most e-readers including the Nook & the Sony Reader, on PCs & Mac computers & on the iPad and other Web tablets. There are many interesting items here.

The Digital Library of the Commons (DLC) An archive of international literature on "the commons" (i.e. that which is held in common or by a community).  Many useful features for both readers and contributing authors. Includes a full-text Digital Library of articles, papers, and dissertations, a Working Paper Archive of author-submitted papers, and links to relevant references. Thanks to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the International Association for the Study of Common Property (IASCP) & the Indiana University Graduate School. As Adobe PDF files.

Digital Library for Earth System Education: DLESE Over 5,000 searchable educational resources. Items are also organized into themes or collections, broadly as environmental, geographical, geological, oceanographical and other physical sciences; space science and technology; policy and educational issues and the philosophy of science. Resources are not archived on site but in a variety of collaborating collections. Funded by the National Science Foundation (USA). Whether you're interested in literacy maps or the latest oil spill, earthquakes and volcanos, the weather, climate change, sunspots, the quirks of gravity, how ecosystems evolve or a myriad other scientific and global issues, you'll find topical and relevant information from here.

Digital Library of Information Science and Technology: dLIST A repository of over 1,400 electronic resources in many subject areas, especially Library and Information Science (LIS), digital Web disciplines and Information Technology (IT). Contains published and unpublished papers, data sets instructional and help materials, pathfinder , reports & bibliographies. So far in English only. User registration required to access some areas. In HTML or PDF.

New  Digital South Asia Library This developing, collaborative project involves a range of South Asian, US, European (and one Australian) institutions. It aims to provide digital materials about South Asia for reference and research use by scholars, public officials, business leaders, and general users. Resources include PDF & HTML e-books and journals, images, maps, statistics, bibliographies and union lists, indexes and more. Both contemporary and historical information is available. Some significant individual inclusions are: A Historical Atlas of South Asia, Digital Dictionaries of South Asia and GRETIL - the Göttingen Register of Electronic Texts in Indian Languages. The DSAL is coordinated from the University of Chicago at:

Ebooks Online Library Around thirty-six famous authors ranging from Aesop to Sun Tzu, with huge representation of Arnold Bennett, Anton Chekhov, Charles Dickens, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Jack London, Edgar Allan Poe & Oscar Wilde, plus a goodly measure of Ambrose Bierce, Jules Verne, Jane Austen & Mark Twain. Nearly two hundred titles here all up. In very clear HTML, for online reading, this collection has been sourced from Project Gutenberg and prepared with special attention to the needs of visually impaired and older readers. You can set the font size & colour, or background colour, with just a click in the Settings panel. If you register you can use online bookmarks too.

Elfwood Elfwood is a huge, non-profit home to amateur Fantasy/Sci-Fi literature and art, plus some How -To Guides and fan art. The site holds over half a million works of art & literature by over 35,000 Science Fiction/Fantasy artists and writers. Formerly hosted by a Swedish computer society, Lysator.

The E Server Bit of a mind flip might be an exaggeration, but there is certainly nothing stodgy about this large (over 35,000) & contemporary collection of online intellectual texts & resources. Based at the University of Washington. The illustrated subject links are a nice touch too.

Electronic Text Collections in Western European Literature  Links site for literary texts in Western European languages other than English. Languages include Catalan, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, Galician, German, Greek (both ancient & modern), Icelandic, Irish, Italian, Latin, Norwegian, Old Norse, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish & Swedish.

Electronic Texts On The Internet  A useful links page with over fifty entries. For some light relief, check out the Shakespearean Insult Generator.

EuroDocs Links to primary historical documents from Europe (including Russia, Belarus and Ukraine). Selected transcriptions, facsimiles and translations. Presented in three classifications: Prehistoric & Ancient Europe; Medieval & Renaissance Europe; Europe as a Supranational Region. Plus, as some forty-seven national jurisdictions ranging from tiny Andorra to the major EC states to Vatican City.

 Europeana This growing major resource, launched in Nov.2008, represents an ambitious pan-European project co-funded by the European Union. It provides links to over 6 million digital items, in text, picture, sound or video forms, held by contributing European institutions (libraries, archives, museums, galleries & research institutes). The site aims to provide access to Europe's cultural and scientific heritage through a common portal. Digitised text items comprise books, newspapers, letters, diaries and archival papers.

Exploratorium Digital Library The Exploratorium is a museum of science, art, and human perception located in San Francisco, California. It hosts collections and activities designed especially for the inquisitive young and those inspiring them. The Exploratorium's Digital Library includes educational activities in PDF and HTML formats, plus QuickTime movies, streaming media, and audio files related to intriguing interactive exhibits and striking scientific phenomena. Bored kids need this kind of stuff, and the name alone should appeal to them.

New  Getty Publications Virtual Library The GPVL contains well over 200 exact digital replicas of selected Getty publications from the past forty years, including many titles now out of print. While some may be of interest only to scholars, others will appeal to virtually anyone with an artistic or aesthetic sense. Titles such as Illuminating the Renaissance, Decorative Arts, Masterpieces of Painting, Ancient Gems and Finger Rings, and Metalwork from the Hellenized East showcase many of the world's finest cultural treasures. To locate works, browse the (illustrated) title entries, or search by author, title or keyword. NB: Please do not violate the conditions of use. These high quality e-books are in PDF format, for either reading online or downloading to your chosen device (note that the book files are large and often exceed 50 MB).

Globusz Digital Library A significant and growing collection of modern free e-books, Globusz offers aspiring authors a distribution platform for their latest works and readers the chance to enjoy them free*, thanks to authorial & publisher generosity. You may also give feedback direct to the author. For reading online in your browser, or download as an .exe file. There are more than 20 broad-ranging categories & genres, including a few classic authors.
*NB: please be aware that these books are NOT copyright-free, and your use is restricted to private reading only.

Great Books Index   From Aeschylus to Virginia Woolf - links to online works, in English translation, by more than 130 classic authors. Please check for any copyright restrictions (which may in a few cases apply for other than reading online). A redoubtable effort from Ken Roberts of Ontario, Canada.

Great Books and Classics Provides free HTML online versions of many famous authors from before 200 BC to the 20th Century. Linked with for commercial print offerings of the titles.

Internet Classics Archive More than 440 mainly Greco-Roman texts, with some Chinese and Persian. By 59 different authors. In English translation. For online reading, some downloads available.

Internet Public Library Provides links to over 20,000 free books available online. The Internet Public Library's Mission Statement says: " The Internet Public Library (IPL), is a public service organization and learning/teaching environment at the University of Michigan School of Information. The IPL Online Texts Collection contains over 20,000 titles that can be browsed by author, by title, or by Dewey Decimal Classification". For questions about the online texts collection, or how to search, please see their help page. The IPL merged in mid-2009 with the Librarians' Internet Index & is now called ipl2.

 Kurt Stüber's Online Library - historic and modern biology books Over 400 books on biological subjects, many currently out of print and hard to obtain. Mostly German authors, but luminaries such as Charles Darwin are also present. In German, with some English and French (a few works are old enough to be in Latin). Online, in text chapters or as individual scanned pages. Browse the collection by author, title, category or publication date. Site presented in English and German versions.

New  Library of Congress Digital Collections A huge and diverse repository for online viewing. There are multiple collections, focused especially on Americana but including international elements. Books, manuscripts, maps, photographs, sound recordings, motion pictures and even websites are included. Some major collections are: American History & Culture, Historic Newspapers, Legislative Information, Global Legal Information Network, Hispanic Digital Collections, Performing Arts Encyclopedia.

The Internet Archive also holds a collection of more than 80,000 e-books and documents from the US Library of Congress, searchable by author or title. Formats may include HTML, PDF, ePub, Kindle, Daisy & djvu, converted from double-page scans

MIT OpenCourseWare An ambitious & generous plan to make all Massachusetts Institute of Technology course materials available on the Internet, for free download. Materials for 1900 courses are now accessible (the (project began at the end of September 2003). Materials are in English, but a number are also available in Spanish & Portuguese. Presented in HTML. However courses may include Adobe Acrobat PDF files, Java Applets, Shockwave, Real Player, Java, and MATLAB files (software for all of these may be downloaded from the site's Technical Requirements page). This so far unique gift is made possible by MIT with support from the William and Flora Hewlett & Andrew W. Mellon Foundations.  
Course list at

National Academy Press Read over 3,000 National Academy science, engineering, and health texts free online - others are for purchase. You can also buy print copies if you wish, or PDFs in some cases. These e-books represent the cream of U.S. research & policy opinion in these fields. Texts are presented either as PDFs (newer titles), or in a fully-searchable "Open Book" format, which also allows for page browsing & internal links. Open Book" is HTML, & moreover the format is prepared so that you can send people an individual page reference as an URL. Newer titles are in PDF format, downloadable by chapter or the entire text. The U.S. National Academy of Sciences provides this site.

New  National Science Digital Library A key online educational resource in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. This US digital library is intended for educators, researchers and librarians, with most items available for free open access. It contains 120 collections and more than 132,000 items, with eighteen "Pathways projects" in subjects such as Applied Mathematics, Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Physics & Astronomy, Climate Literacy & Energy Awareness, and Computational Science. Text documents, datasets, images, video, audio and animations are available, while interactive resources plus software tools & services also form an essential component of the NSDL. For more information visit:

New  National Sea Grant Library The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [NOAA] funds this digital library, which contains works about marine related topics including oceanography, marine education, aquaculture, fisheries, aquatic nuisance species, coastal hazards, seafood safety, limnology, coastal zone management, marine recreation, and maritime law. Over 15,000 searchable electronic documents are available here, mostly in PDF and HTML formats.

Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD) Links to digital theses/dissertations available in Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, most European nations, Hong Kong, Mexico, South Africa, Taiwan & the USA. It contains more than one million records of electronic theses and dissertations

Online Books Page This University of Pennsylvania site offers access links to more than 35,000 books online. Plain presentation, but well worth the browse.

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Oxford Text Archive From Oxford University, this archive was founded in 1976. High-quality, well-documented electronic texts for research and teaching. More than 2,500 resources in over 25 different languages. A premium academic resource. Public domain texts are freely available from the on-line catalogue and may be downloaded in a number of different formats. Some texts require the user to obtain the written permission of the original depositor.

Pennsylvania State University Electronic Classics Site: " The Labyrinth" PSU's e-books are presented as .pdf files (Portable Document Format). Read them with the Adobe Reader or other PDF readers. Established in 1997, the site offers many classical works of literature in English, plus original works published by Penn. State Uni.

Perseus Project A great classical digital library site, with Greek & Latin texts, commentaries, an atlas, coin images, art, archaeology and more.

Project Libellus The University of Washington, Seattle, provides this library of Latin texts, readable in your web browser. In HTML & TeX (a subset of ASCII). Thirteen classical Latin authors represented.

Project Madurai Tamil Digital Library under preparation by voluntary effort. So far over 380 works in Tamil script are available, in TSCII (Tamil Script Code for Information Interchange) or Unicode Tamil formats. Old Tamil classic works predominate so far. Use a Unicode font with Tamil block and select "unicode/utf-8" charset in your browser preferences to read here. The texts are available in both HTML and as PDFs.

Project Runeberg  Project Runeberg publishes free electronic editions of old Nordic ((Scandinavian) literature on the Internet. Begun in 1992. By April 2012, with Runeberg now 20 years old, project volunteers celebrated scanning their 750,000th page. Swedish and Danish titles predominate, with some Norwegian & Icelandic also. Presented as scanned images, with raw OCR text beneath. Based at Linköping University, southern Sweden.

 Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR) ROAR contains direct links to, and summary, illustrated entries about, each member of the global community of open access repositories. The latter are academic digital collections usable for research purposes by any researcher or member of the public with Internet access (although not all items are necessarily accessible in full text). You can browse ROAR by country, repository type, subject or organising software (e.g. DSpace, Eprints, Greenstone). There are currently more than 2,200 member entries, greatly facilitating international research.

Soil And Health Library A free public library offering books on holistic agriculture (around 80 works), holistic health, self-sufficient living, and personal development. Online as HTML, or as PDFs. Thanks to Steve Solomon of Exeter, Tasmania, and, from 2010, Justin Crawford.

New  Smithsonian Digital Libraries Online The famous Smithsonian Institution, the world's largest museum, offers an intriguing selection of its treasures online here. You can browse under broad headings such as Art & Design, History & Culture, Natural & Physical Sciences, and Trade Literature; or take pot luck by clicking on the "Surprise Me!" feature. As well as stunning rare books you'll find learned databases for scholars, and fascinating online exhibitions for the rest of us. If you can't find something of interest here, you're not bored, you're just boring! Presented as carefully scanned original image files.

Universal Library "The principal benefit of the Universal Library will be to supplement the formal education system by making knowledge available to anyone who can read and has access." A project of Carnegie Mellon University & the governments of China & India - much of the scanning is being done in the latter two countries. The "million books project" under way will have considerable content in many Indian and Chinese languages, as well as English. Note that browser plug-ins - obtainable on site - are required to view the books, which are scanned in DjVu or TIFF formats. For more information about this far-reaching initiative, see:

University of California eScholarship Editions  This restricted university collection generously includes free public access to over 500 books on scholarly topics involving art, science, history, music and religion, plus some fiction.. Online in chapters, for your Web browser.

University of Virginia Electronic Text Center has more than 10,000 publicly accessible texts in thirteen languages (& over 164,000 publicly available images). These texts are available as scanned images accessible to web browsers, but in addition there are 2,000+ e-books available (in English) for MS Reader & Palm Reader. The access point has recently (2011) moved to the VIRGO search interface at:.electronic text center gif[source_facet][]=Digital+Library.

Virtual Library "The Virtual Library is the oldest catalog of the web, started by Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of html and the Web itself. Unlike commercial catalogues, it is run by a loose confederation of volunteers, who compile pages of key links for particular areas in which they are expert…" Links are sorted into the following categories: Agriculture, the Arts, Business & Economics, Communications and Media, Computing and Computer Science, Education, Engineering, Humanities and Humanistic Studies, Information and Libraries, International Affairs, Law, Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Recreation, Regional Studies, Social and Behavioural Sciences, and Society. Or, use the search engine.

World Public eBook Library . For a small annual fee, offers access to over 500,000 PDF e-books and e-documents, plus 7,000 mp3 audio books. Or, access texts absolutely free online in HTML. From the World Electronic Text Library Foundation, based in Honolulu, Hawaii.




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