The Open Library

We are reading essayists writing about the essay in this course to develop a historical perspective on the essay-what it has been, what it is, and what it might be. At the same time, each of you is a writer who is by definition also a reader. Reading essays is important for writers of the essay: for the poetics of the essay is exemplified in essays themselves.

Let’s say you are interested in reading the essays of Adrienne Rich, for example, after I refer to her collection Blood, Bread, and Poetry: Selected Prose 1979-1985. You might pick up the book after finding the call number at Keene-Link Catalog. Or you could ask to borrow my copy of the book.

Another resource for you is the “For Reading” list on this web site where you would be able to access to a digital archive that includes Rich’s collection.

In the “For Reading” list you will find digital works of individual essayists, Montaigne and Emerson, as well as digital libraries of internet sites and other cultural artifacts, the Internet Archive, and the Open Library, a book database and digital lending library that provides access to many public domain and out-of-print books, which can be read online.

Books in the Internet Archive collection may be borrowed by logged in patrons for a period of two weeks. You may read the books online in a browser, or download them into Adobe Digital Editions, a free piece of software used for managing loans. The books are available in BookReader, PDF, and ePub formats (and Daisy for the print disabled). BookReader editions may be read online immediately in your web browser. Readers of EPUBs may read by scrolling or flipping pages, modify text size, create bookmarks, highlight texts, or search a book by entering text in the top-right text box.

No special software is required. Other Internet Archive loans are managed through Adobe Digital Editions, which you may need to download to manage your library of borrowed books.

How do I get set up to borrow books through

  • Sign up for an account
  • Some ebooks require Adobe Digital Editions (This is where you can read the books you’ve borrowed, manage your current loans, or return books)
  • Get an account (If you create an Adobe account, you can access your library from a variety of locations. If not, your loans will be tethered to a specific computer or device.)
  • Find a book to borrow
  • If a BookReader edition is available, you can read it instantly online in your web browser. Other formats will require that you download a file and open it in Adobe Digital Editions
  • Adobe Digital Editions 4.5 provides the ability to sync your DRM-enabled books across all your devices.

How does Adobe Digital Editions work?

When you download a book from your library or bookseller’s web site, open the book from the browser download window, and Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) will launch. When ADE opens a book, it confirms you have permission to read it. Many books are DRM (Digital Rights Management) protected, such as books you check out from the library or purchase at an online book seller. If it’s not a protected book, ADE will open it and you can begin reading.

The first time you open a protected book, ADE will ask you to authorize your computer. The best way to do this is to supply an Adobe ID or Vendor ID, associating the book with your ID. If you later open the book on another computer, you can simply supply the same ID to open the book. If you don’t have an Adobe ID, click the Create an Adobe ID link. After creating the ID on the Adobe website, you can close that browser window, return to ADE, and enter the newly-created Adobe ID. If you choose to authorize without an ID, ADE will enable reading of the book only on your computer. Some booksellers use a special form of protection where your book is locked to the bookseller’s ID. For example, Barnes & Noble uses this method. When you buy a book, download to your computer, and open in ADE, you’ll be asked to supply the username and unlock code you use on the bookseller’s web site (for example, for Barnes & Noble, the name and number of the credit card associated with your ebook purchase).