updated 08:20 am EDT, Thu September 8, 2011
Technology visionary Michael Hart dies
The founder of Project Gutenberg and inventor of eBooks Michael Hart has passed away at the age of 64. Hart was renowned as a futurist, and someone who appreciated the potential technology offered for wider society. It was as early as 1971 that Hart put together the first eBook, when he typed the US Declaration of Independence into a computer so that it could be freely shared with others.
Project Gutenberg is recognised as one of the earliest and longest-lasting online literary projects. Hart predicted that the enhancement of automatic translation would ultimately allow the conversion all of the world's literature into over a hundred languages and have it stored online. While Project Gutenberg is still working towards this goal, by the time of his death, the site hosted eBooks in 60 different languages.
Gartner wrote these words in July 2011:
"One thing about eBooks that most people haven't thought much is that eBooks are the very first thing that we're all able to have as much as we want other than air. Think about that for a moment and you realise we are in the right job."