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|by Candida Martinelli of Candida Martinelli's Italophile Site:|
These lessons in whole or in part, can be printed, reproduced and distributed, but not for profit!
Please understand that you follow these lessons at your own risk. I am not to be blamed for anything and everything that happens with your computer. If that sounds serious, sorry, but it has to, otherwise its not legal! Having said all that, If you follow these lessons you will no longer be a computer novice, and a whole new, wonderful world of books will be opened up to you, your family and friends.
[I update this periodically, but the technology is rushing along, with new readers, new formats, new everything. I try to update things only when they are available worldwide, but I will not feature specific readers. If you own one, it is best to consult their manual to understand which formats you can read, and how to download them from the sites I mention in these lessons. Ciao!
These lessons were designed to be printed out and referred to it as you perform the tasks described. To print this lesson, follow the instructions in the top left corner of this page.
The public domain is where all written words that fall out of copyright, or are not restricted by copyright, end up. It means that the texts are free to distribute. Universities and non-profit organizations have capitalized on this and the growth of the Internet to create archives of texts that are free to download.
Some of these archive sites let you read the text on-line, either as:
Don't worry is you don't understand all of that at this point. You will understand it by the end of these lessons.
Other organizations have decided to offer their resources for free over the Internet including many encyclopedia, poetry, fiction, and non-fiction collections. You generally read these texts in the window of your Internet Browser (HTML files), and copy them to store them on your computer as an MS-Word file.
Private companies offer free texts on-line, often to advertise their products. Many of these are text files and some are PDF files to be read in the free Adobe Acrobat E-book Reader. You will download this free E-book Reader in Lesson 3. While these documents are copyrighted, they are distributed freely for marketing purposes.
The Adobe Acrobat E-book Reader has become an Internet standard. It is also the first choice for publishers when issuing e-book versions of their printed books. You'll learn more about that in the next lesson.
Note: A few of the sites listed below require you to register and then log-on. I've never received any junk mail as a result. I've also never caught a virus from any of them. I'm pretty sure you'll be as lucky as I've been, but remember to have an anti-virus program installed on your computer, as a precaution.
There are many more archives where these came from. I just want to give you a taste of the offerings over the Internet. Many of these sites are award winners and the top on the Internet for distribution of free text files.
Sometimes the text is to read on-line, which you can then copy and store as an MS-Word file on your computer, as I explain later. Other times they let you download the text file directly. Some offer not just text files, but e-books for free and for sale, in various formats.
http://gutenberg.net/index.html Project Gutenberg is the Internet's oldest producer of FREE electronic versions of books (e-texts) for download. (They also offer e-books in various formats now.)
http://gutenberg.net.au/ Project Gutenberg of Australia provides e-texts to read online in HTML format. (They also offer e-books in various formats now.)
http://www.fullbooks.com/ Full Books is an unusual site that offers classic books to read on-line. It is unusual because the main page is just a listing of alphabetical groupings. Click on one, and you are shown all their books that fall within that grouping. Select a book, and you can read it on-line, after scrolling past a few ads.
http://books.mirror.org/gb.home.html The Great Book Index offers many of the same classic texts to read on-line, minus the ads.
http://www.bibliomania.com/bibliomania-static/index.html Bibliomania Study Guides offers over 2000 classic school texts to read on-line, along with study guides for each of the texts.
http://vos.ucsb.edu/ Voice of the Shuttle from the University of California at Santa Barbara provides links to texts to download, and to other resources in the Humanities.
http://www.ipl.org/ The Internet Public Library lets you search and link to sites with information on all kinds of subjects, and free e-texts.
http://www.icdlbooks.org/ The International Children's Digital Library is a new site that scans actual children's books, in various languages, and lets you read them on-line, and enjoy the illustrations, as well.
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/index.html The Jewish Virtual Library provides on-line texts on a variety of subjects to do with the Jewish culture and religion.
http://www1.canadiana.org/en/home Early Canadiana Online offers over 10,000 texts to read on-line, all having to do with early Canadian history. You can search by lines of text or browsing through the titles.
http://classics.mit.edu/index.html The Internet Classics Archive, set up by M.I.T., links to hundreds of classic texts from both Western and Eastern cultures.
http://etext.library.adelaide.edu.au/aut/chrono.html The University of Adelaide's Library offers literature and historical works for download as e-text files, and to read on-line.
http://eserver.org/ The E-Server at Iowa State University offers links to sites and texts in a wide range of academic subjects.
http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~jlynch/Lit/ Literary Resources on the Net, from Rutgers University, provides links to on-line texts and sites divided by historical period and by topic.
http://www.english.upenn.edu/~traister/literature.html This site is from the University of Pennsylvania and offers a comprehensive list of links to literature sites on the Internet with many on-line texts.
http://www.blupete.com/index.htm The Blupete page, setup by Canadian Lawyer Peter Landry, offers on-line texts on a variety of subjects including biographies, history, economics and the law.
http://www.bartleby.com/ Bartleby.com, in their own words, is 'a pre-eminent Internet publisher of literature, reference and verse providing students, researchers and the intellectually curious with unlimited access to books and information on the web, free of charge'. They let you search for free on-line texts from encyclopedia, poetry, fiction and non-fiction collections.
http://www.archive.org/details/texts The Internet Archive lets you search through 7 on-line text archives at once for books by author, title or subject or keywords. Once you find a book, you can often choose between various e-book formats including text files. You need to create a free account, but it is WELL worth it.
Because the Internet Archive, the last archive on the above list, offers such a wide search capability and both e-texts and e-books, I'm going to use this lesson to introduce you to it and have you register so you can use their services later to build your own electronic library.
Right now, I'm going to have you:
START UP your Internet Browser and TYPE this location into the ADDRESS line, http://www.archive.org/details/texts, then press ENTER.
Note: I'm assuming you're working on this lesson from a printout and you are not connected to the Internet. If you are connected, and you click on the link above, this lesson will disappear! It's easiest to print out the lesson and start from this point, again.
The link you entered is to the main page of the Internet Archive text section. Take a moment to look at the page's content. They explain that the text collection is free. They describe briefly the text collections they let you search through. And you give some lists including the most downloaded texts.
Your first task is to register so you can download texts. CLICK on the text JOIN US that appears in the top right-hand of the screen. It looks like this:
The Terms of Agreement and the Virtual Library Card appear. Go ahead and read the terms. There is nothing extraordinary there. Then fill in the card. The first three items are:
TYPE in your email ADDRESS, and a PASSWORD. Then TYPE the PASSWORD a second time to confirm it. Make a note of the password because you will certainly use it again later to download more e-texts and e-books.
The next field is a name that appears when you enter a review for a book you've downloaded. You don't have to write reviews, and you don't have to fill in this field. CLICK on the GET LIBRARY CARD button to continue.
The system will tell you if there are any problems that you need to fix (you may have typed the password differently the second time, for example), and wait for you to fix it. But when your registration is completed successfully, this SUCCESS message appears very quickly before you are presented with the Internet Archive's main page.
You want to get back to the TEXTS part of the Archive. There are two ways to do this, both situated in the top left-hand corner of the screen:
You can perform a search right away and set the search bar to TEXTS, then press on the GO button. In the future you may want to do this to save some time, but for now, I'd like you to go back to the TEXTS page.
CLICK on TEXTS on the menu-bar at the top of the screen. The main TEXTS page appears, and the Search bar reads TEXTS, because that is where we will be searching for a book to add to our electronic library.
TYPE in AGATHA CHRISTIE and CLICK on the GO button.
The resulting search turns up all the Agatha Christie texts that are in the Public Domain, out of copyright. These are some of her earliest works, including her very first mystery featuring the by-now famous Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot. This was actually Agatha Christie's very first mystery published!
The summary provides:
CLICK on the TITLE of this book. The virtual card from the virtual card catalog appears. The extra bit of information that you wouldn't find at a brick-and-mortar library is the formats in which the text is available:
We'll download the ZIP file because it will take less time, and give you valuable practice using the WinZip program. CLICK on ZIP. This box appears:
You may recall this FILE DOWNLOAD box. You saw it before when we downloaded WinZip. It's a standard message that appears whenever you download something from the Internet. It tells us the name and type of the file that will be downloaded, and the location from where it will be downloaded.
CLICK on the SAVE button to continue. The SAVE AS box appears prompting you to tell your computer where to save the e-text.
You want to save the e-text in your LIBRARY sub-folder in the MY DOCUMENTS folder, so you have to locate that sub-folder and open it up to receive the e-text. You've done that a few times already in these lessons, so I'll just talk you through it.
The transfer of the e-text should take seconds, less time than the transfer of the WinZip program. When it is complete, the boxes disappear and the ZIP on the virtual library card has probably changed color, showing you clicked on it.
I won't have you log out from the Internet Archive just yet. CLICK on the icon to minimize the window in the top right-hand of the screen. It is the first of the three icons.
There's always the possibility that there was a disturbance during the file transfer, and you might have to do it again. Wait until you have the e-text safely in your electronic library on your PC before logging out of the Internet Archive.
Now I'll have you unzip the file so it is an e-text that you can read. The main use of WinZip is to reduce file transfer times over the Internet. But to read the files, we have to expand it back to the normal text file.
That is actually very simple. The WinZip program does all the work. We only need to find the file using WINDOWS EXPLORER, and double-click on it. Some like to open the WinZip program and then find the e-text file to expand it. However, I want you to get used to browsing your electronic library in WINDOWS EXPLORER.
DOUBLE-CLICK on the Shortcut icon for WINDOWS EXPLORER on your Desktop. We created it during the previous lesson and it looks something like this:
WINDOWS EXPLORER may open up your C: drive automatically in the left-hand box. If it didn't, just CLICK on the PLUS next to the C: drive. We've opened up your LIBRARY folder several times now, so I'll just talk you through this.
Right now you only have one file in the LIBRARY sub-folder:
This is the file you just downloaded. DOUBLE-CLICK on the file. This starts up WinZip which presents you with a very threatening looking message. This is normal. They want to remind you that you are using an Evaluation Version of the software, which is okay.
CLICK on the USE EVALUATION VERSION button.
WinZip opens up in a box on the screen and shows you what the ZIP file you downloaded contains: the MASAC10.TXT file of Agatha Christie's mystery book.
CLICK on the EXTRACT icon on the colorful tool-bar. It looks like this:
WinZip now prompts you to identify where you want the e-text stored. The program does not automatically assume you want it in the same folder as the ZIP file. So you need to locate your LIBRARY folder again. You do this using the FOLDERS/DRIVES box.
By now you should be very familiar with this display. I'll walk you through it.
Now CLICK on the EXTRACT button in the top right-hand of the box.
WinZip is very fast. Within seconds, you should see the e-text file appear in your LIBRARY folder, right below the ZIP file you downloaded.
CLICK on the CLOSE X to close WinZip.
Note: If anything went wrong, and WinZip presented a message saying the file was somehow wrong, all you have to do is download it again. That was why we left the Internet connection going. If you had no problem with unzipping the file, go ahead and close your connection to the Internet Archive. CLICK on LOG OUT, which is in the same right-hand top corner that the LOG IN text was, to leave the Internet Archive members area. Now CLICK on the CLOSE X to leave your Internet Browser.
One last step. This is an easy one. Let's give a files nicer names so we can recognize them more easily later on. I suggest you rename the files with the author name and at least part of the title.
MOVE the mouse cursor over the e-text file and RIGHT-CLICK the mouse. From the menu that appears, CLICK on RENAME. The file should now look like this:
TYPE the new file name: 'Christie-Poirot's First Case'. Press ENTER to complete the name change.
Now do the same with the ZIP file, and give it the same name so you know it is the ZIP file of that book. You should keep the ZIP file in case you want to send it to friends attached to an e-mail for their electronic library. I'll cover that in the last lesson.
The contents of your LIBRARY should look like this now:
Congratulations! You've done it! You've downloaded an e-text of a classic mystery story by Agatha Christie. This is the first of many books-to-come in your electronic library.
Go ahead and CLICK on the CLOSE X to close WINDOWS EXPLORER.
These lessons are not intended as lessons on how to use MS-Word, but a few tips are useful to fully enjoy your new e-text book.
Text documents have formatting limitations. This means that when you open the e-text file, the book usually looks like someone wrote it out with a typewriter, which is very old-fashioned and very hard on the eyes.
The best thing to do with your new book is:
You may not feel expert enough, or eager enough, to do all these things, so I will give you the option of stopping at any point in this process.
To explain the process, I will use a file we'll copy from a Public Domain text that doesn't download to your computer, but instead, opens up in your Internet Browser for you to read there. This is how some documents are stored, especially on the earlier free e-text sites. One of the earliest sites still around is the GOPHER site and it offers some of literature's top classics.
START MS-Word and leave it running in the background, while you start up your Internet Browser to access the Internet. This isn't complicated because all you have to do is START MS-Word from the Shortcut on your Desktop:
Then CLICK on the ICON to start your Internet Browser that appears in the bottom left corner of your screen:
If you use a different Browser, just MINIMIZE MS-Word by CLICKING on the MINIMIZE icon in the top right corner of the screen, and then START UP your Internet Browser.
TYPE this location into the ADDRESS line: http://wiretap.area.com/Gopher/Library/ , and press ENTER.
CLICK on the folder CLASSIC to view it's contents:
To better understand the content of the files you see listed, and of the other folders, you should CLICK on CATALOG.
You are presented with a summary of the Public Domain texts on this site followed by the e-text file name. The list isn't perfect and some of the references are to texts at other locations, but it helps a bit to understand what is available on the site. But when in doubt, just CLICK on a FILE and let it open in your Browser window. Then you can see just what the book is. If you don't want it, CLICK on the Browser's BACK button, and keep looking. It's a bit like opening up presents, and liking some and not liking others.
For this lesson, I've selected a text file for you to copy: The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle CASEBOOK.DYL. But after I walk you through this, why not go back and repeat these steps, choosing a book that you want to copy.
If you are currently looking at the contents of the CATALOG file, use your Browser's BACK button to return to the CLASSIC directory. Look for the file CASEBOOK.DYL. It is easy to find because the files are listed in alphabetical order.
When you find it, CLICK on it. This opens up the e-text file on your screen. You're not going to read it now. You're going to copy it to put into an MS-Word file. So put the mouse cursor over the book text and RIGHT-CLICK the mouse. From the menu that appears, CLICK on SELECT ALL:
This highlights all the text in the book. RIGHT-CLICK again, and from the menu that appears, CLICK on COPY.
You've just copied the book and are ready to paste it into an MS-Word file. Click on the command bar icon at the bottom of your screen, representing your MS-Word program that is still running. It should look something like this:
If you do not have MS-Word running, start it up. If you do have the command bar, when you click on it, MS-Word returns to your screen and you may have a blank document already open. If not, open a blank document now (FILE pull-down menu, NEW, BLANK DOCUMENT).
When you have the blank page in front of you, MOVE the mouse cursor over the page, then RIGHT-CLICK the mouse. From the menu that appears, CLICK on PASTE.
This pastes the book into the MS-Word document.
You can now save the new book in your LIBRARY folder. When you open the FILE pull-down menu and SELECT the option SAVE AS, the program automatically opens up the MY DOCUMENTS folder to let you select from the sub-folders. All you have to do is select your LIBRARY sub-folder and give the new book a name like: Doyle-Casebook of Sherlock Holmes.
Congratulations! You now have a second book in your electronic library.
Now a word about file types: TXT is a text file, ZIP is a zipped file, DOC is an MS-Word file.
OPEN the MS-Word FILE pull-down menu and CLICK on OPEN, then look in your LIBRARY folder. You will probably only see the MS-Word documents that are currently in this folder. This is because the FILES OF TYPE option at the bottom of the box is set for ALL WORD DOCUMENTS.
If this is the case, CLICK on the DOWN ARROW to the right of that field to open the drop-down selection box. Then click on ALL FILES.
The entire contents of your LIBRARY folder should now appear and include, at least, these files:
DOUBLE-CLICK on the text file CHRISTIE-POIROT'S FIRST CASE, to open it.
In the document window of MS-Word, you can now see the e-text file you downloaded earlier in this lesson.
Because this e-text is from the Project Gutenberg, there are several pages at the beginning explaining the project and requesting donations. It is a worthy cause, providing you and others with hundreds of new books every year, so please consider the request. After you've read through these advertising pages, you can delete them (up to the BOOK TITLE and CONTENTS), leaving just your e-text book.
Another point about the Project Gutenberg is that the files are edited by volunteers and sometimes the quality is less than stellar. Many of the texts are scanned into text files, and scanners are not perfect. Stray letters, characters, or page numbers from the original printed book may show up in the text of your book. All you have to do is delete them when you come across them during your reading. I've had some texts that were spotless, and others that were hopeless. But the majority are very good.
If you just want to read your new book and not worry too much about it's layout and formatting, follow these instructions.
You can alter the size of the text on your screen in two simple ways:
Both of these options are available from the same pull-down menu at the top of the screen: the VIEW pull-down menu.
Experiment with the different VIEWS: Normal, and Print Layout. Select one and see if you like it, then try the other. The difference is this:
At the bottom of the VIEW pull-down menu is the ZOOM feature. OPEN the VIEW menu and CLICK on ZOOM. The ZOOM box appears.
Experiment with different ZOOM magnitudes until you find one that suits your reading preferences. You can use the standard percentages (200%, 100%, 75%) or enter a percentage of your own in the PERCENT box. CLICK on OK to accept your new setting.
One other basic feature you may want to use with your e-text book is the FIND feature. This feature is on the EDIT pull-down menu.
You can look for a chapter heading to go to that chapter, or look for a simple code you entered to mark your place in the book.
For example: When I stop reading, I enter XXXX at that point in the book and SAVE it with my changes, as MS-Word likes to phrase it. Nowhere in a normal book would XXXX appear, so when I open the book again, I use the FIND feature to locate the point I left off reading by looking for XXXX. You click on the FIND NEXT button to search the document.
When the MS-Word FIND feature positions the cursor on that point, I delete the XXXX and continue with my reading.
If you want to modify your book slightly to make it easier on your eyes, follow these instructions.
After you've opened up your e-text and deleted the advertising, you may decide the font (letter) type is not easy or pleasant to read, no matter what size you make it with the ZOOM feature. Don't worry. You can change the font type.
OPEN the EDIT pull-down menu and CLICK on SELECT ALL. This highlights all the text of your document.
Then with the mouse cursor over your document text, RIGHT-CLICK the mouse. From the menu that appears, CLICK on FONT.
This opens the box from which you can choose a new font type for your book.
You can consult the MS-Word manual for a detailed explanation of this box, but suffice to say, you have many options for a font so play around and find one you like. The box even allows a PREVIEW in the space at the bottom of the box. When you find a font you like, CLICK on the OK button to select it.
Technically speaking, there are two types of typefaces: serif and sans-serif.
Both the above sample fonts are the same size: 12 point. They look different, largely because of the serifs. Each font is unique, so try different ones to see what you prefer.
Now that you have changed the font type, you can no longer save the book as a TXT, or text, file. Text files cannot record any formatting subtleties. If you try to save the file as one, MS-Word will tell you the same thing and suggest you save it as an MS-Word document. That's what you should do, so that when you open the book again, your font change will still be there.
OPEN the FILE pull-down menu and CLICK on SAVE AS. Then change the SAVE AS TYPE option to WORD DOCUMENT. And CLICK on the SAVE button.
When looking through your electronic library, you see there is an MS-Word version of a book, you'll know that you have modified the font and formatting of the document for your preferences. That is the version you'll want to open. You may also find that your friends may prefer you send them the MS-Word version of your book, rather than the text file version.
It's a good idea to practice these same changes on the Conan Doyle book you copied.
If you want to perform more complex formatting changes to your electronic book, here are some tips.
The lines in text files end in Hard Returns. This means that the lines of text do not WRAP automatically at the ends of the lines. If you change the font size (the point size), for example from 12 pt. to 16 pt., the text may react in one of two ways.
One solution to this is to remove the Hard Returns at the ends of the text lines, allowing the text to wrap automatically. This is a bit tricky because you want to keep the Hard Returns that separate the paragraphs and headings from the text. If you follow the instructions below, you should be all right. (I suggest you only take this on if you are familiar with MS-Word and some of its advanced features.)
Remember that if you make a mess of the document by accident, just CLOSE the file WITHOUT saving it! That way you keep the original version and you can start over again.
You must perform three FIND AND REPLACE procedures.
Note: As I stated before, this bit is for those who really want to play with the formatting of their new book. You should be experienced with MS-Word's advanced features. If this does not describe you, ignore this bit, and get on enjoying your new e-books, or revisit the GOPHER site or the INTERNET ARCHIVE to get some more books.
In Lesson 3 I'll help you download a free E-book Reader so you can read documents and books in the popular PDF format.
However, if you really want to play with the formatting of your new book, and are experienced with MS-Word's advanced features, then go ahead and continue with this last bit of Lesson 2.
The first thing you have to do is determine what is currently at the end of the line of text. You can see this clearly if you CLICK on the SHOW/HIDE icon on your STANDARD TOOLBAR.
If you are not familiar with this feature, don't use it. Do this instead:
Now you know what you have at the end of your text lines: a space or spaces and a Hard Return, or just a Hard Return.
In the Agatha Christie text we downloaded, there are no spaces at the end of the lines, only a Hard Return, so we have to be sure to enter a space during the second FIND/REPLACE.
Now you should perform the first of the three FIND/REPLACE passes. The FIND/REPLACE feature you want to use is available on the EDIT pull-down menu. OPEN the EDIT pull-down menu and CLICK on REPLACE.
The standard FIND/REPLACE box appears. I won't show it here, but I can tell you that you have to CLICK on the MORE button:
You will need the extra elements on the extended FIND/REPLACE box, specifically one available from the SPECIAL button.
Using this button, you can enter special codes into the FIND / REPLACE fields. These codes represent formatting in the document. The PARAGRAPH MARK is the symbol that ends the lines in a Hard Return. It is at the top of the list when you click on the SPECIAL button.
Here's how you do it. CLICK in the FIND WHAT field to activate it, then CLICK on the SPECIAL button. Then CLICK on PARAGRAPH MARK. This inserts the code for a paragraph mark in the FIND WHAT field. CLICK on the SPECIAL button again to open the list, and CLICK on PARAGRAPH MARK again to enter a second paragraph mark code in the FIND WHAT field. That is what we want MS-Word to find.
CLICK in the REPLACE WITH field to activate it, then TYPE in: XXXXX
This is what we want MS-Word to put in the place of the two consecutive paragraph marks. Now CLICK on the REPLACE ALL button to perform the FIND/REPLACE.
Be patient and let the program work. It will take a few minutes but when it is done, a message appears that tells you how many replacements were made.
If your cursor was not at the top of the document when the pass began, you will get a message saying the process has reached the end of the document and wants to know if it should continue at the beginning of the document. RESPOND YES. You want the process to cover the whole document.
Now you'll perform the second of the three FIND/REPLACE passes.
Now we'll perform the third of the three FIND/REPLACE passes.
When these three passes are completed, your document will automatically wrap the lines and repaginate. Now you can alter the page margins or change the font size to your heart's content, and the text will adjust to fit the new settings, wrapping the text lines as with any other word-processing document. These are some other things you may want to do to the file.
You are limited only by your computer skills. You can practice these and other format changes on the Conan Doyle book you copied.
This is the end of Lesson 2. You now have at least two books in your electronic library! Go ahead and get more. Try some of the other archives listed at the beginning of this lesson. Explore the Gopher site, or search for another book in the Internet Archive. You are well on your way to building your own electronic library on your PC.
To offer a helping hand, you may want to visit this unique site.
Abacci Books combines the reviewer comments from the on-line bookstore Amazon with links for the free e-text copies of classic works found at Project Gutenberg. Using their category sections, you can quickly find and appraise high quality books on the web and then download the texts for free - or use their affiliation with Amazon to purchase print editions. This is a creative idea that has been made into a unique service for e-text collectors. Well worth a visit!
And as I mentioned earlier, in Lesson 3 I'll cover free E-book (and E-text) Readers and help you download and install one on your PC.