Media Releases

Internet archive reaches 3 million items with rare Galileo texts from the U of T libraries

September 29, 2011

TORONTO, ON – Galileo’s Dial­o­go de Cec­co di Ron­chit­ti … de la Stel­la Nuo­va and Con­sid­er­azioni … spo­ra Alcu­ni Luoghi de Dis­cor­so di Lodovi­co delle Colombe – two pam­phlets from a vol­ume of fif­teen trea­tis­es on comets pub­lished from 1575 to 1606, togeth­er rep­re­sent the 3 mil­lionth text to be dig­i­tized and made freely avail­able for down­load by the Inter­net Archive.

The vol­ume was pro­vid­ed to the Archive for dig­i­ti­za­tion by the Thomas Fish­er Rare Book Library, Canada’s largest rare book library and part of the exten­sive Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to Libraries sys­tem which has col­lec­tive­ly con­tributed over 300,000 books from its col­lec­tions to the Inter­net Archive.

Richard Lan­don, until recent­ly the Direc­tor of the Fish­er Library, described the impor­tance of Galileo’s Dial­o­go in Bib­lio­phil­ia Scholas­ti­ca Flo­re­at: Fifty Years of Rare Books and Spe­cial Col­lec­tions at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to:

Galileo, a major prog­en­i­tor of the Sci­en­tif­ic Rev­o­lu­tion was also a mar­tyr of the new sci­ence. His career can be viewed as a series of con­tro­ver­sies, begin­ning with his ear­li­est pub­lished work on the ‘new star’ of 1604, writ­ten when he was already 40. He then moved on to the pro­por­tion­al com­pass, the tele­scop­ic dis­cov­er­ies of 1610, the ‘bod­ies in water’ and sunspot con­tro­ver­sies of 1612 to 1615, the con­tro­ver­sy of the comets (1619–20), and the most famous of all, the Dial­o­go of 1632 which led to his tri­al and house arrest until his death in 1642. … Each of his works pro­voked attacks by Aris­totelian philoso­phers and the­o­log­i­cal oppo­nents and, occa­sion­al­ly, he was defend­ed in print by his sci­en­tif­ic col­leagues. With the excep­tions of the 1632 Dial­o­go and the Dis­cor­si all these works were small pam­phlets pub­lished in lim­it­ed num­bers and all are rare, both in insti­tu­tions and on the mar­ket.

The Library’s Galileo col­lec­tion, start­ed with a pri­vate col­lec­tion donat­ed by Stil­man Drake in 1967 and built by the library over time, is now among the best in the world and is rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the unique hold­ings that attract thou­sands of schol­ars, stu­dents and vis­i­tors from around the world to the Fish­er Library each year to research, study and attend lec­tures and exhi­bi­tions.

The Inter­net Archive has dig­i­tized approx­i­mate­ly two mil­lion books from 1,000 libraries in 200 lan­guages since 2005. Oth­ers have uploaded anoth­er one mil­lion texts includ­ing 37,000 books from Project Guten­berg. Twen­ty-sev­en Inter­net Archive scan­ning cen­tres in six coun­tries, includ­ing the Cana­di­an head­quar­ters at Robarts Library at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to, add more than 1,000 books to the pub­lic archive through their dig­i­ti­za­tion efforts each day. enjoys a read­er­ship of 10 mil­lion month­ly, with 1 mil­lion unique vis­i­tors each day. All of its pub­lic domain books are full text search­able, indexed by mul­ti­ple search engines, and down­load­able indi­vid­u­al­ly or in bulk. Any­one can help build this library of free books by scan­ning and upload­ing, by donat­ing phys­i­cal books to the Inter­net Archive, or by spon­sor­ing the dig­i­ti­za­tion of great col­lec­tions.


For more infor­ma­tion, please con­tact:

Anne Don­dert­man
Act­ing Direc­tor
Thomas Fish­er Rare Book Library

Gabe Juszel
Cana­di­an Region­al Scan­ning Coor­di­na­tor
Inter­net Archive Cana­da