Pat guestblogging here again….
Project Gutenberg started in 1971 as a result of the gift of a grant of a large amount of University computer time to Michael Hart. Over the years, he organised a large number of volunteers around the world to receive and digitise books that, for one reason or another, are exempt from copyright, or alternatively have specific permission to the Gutenberg project. The goal of the project is to provide electronic books to the world in an open format. Gutenberg as a project has achieved impressive results — it has about twenty thousand books so far, but has not recieved as much prominence as Wikipedia. This may be because Wikipedia is interactive and has/requires a large community to do its job, while Gutenberg tends to require more solitary effort. Is there a way to build a more active community for Gutenberg, and would it help their project?
See also the Baen Free Library, which has rather different goals.