In one of my posts last week I spoke of the LibriVox project which is doing such a fine job in bringing copyright free audio recordings to the internet. It is, of course, a close relative of Project Gutenberg which has been making copyright free e-books available for many years and now has a library of over 30,000 available. I have long believed that the internet has an almost revolutionary ability to free information from the chains of ownership, and I fully support the work of these great projects. As well as providing a platform for the distribution of copyright-free material, the internet also provides a wonderful resource by which we can all contribute to this task with the aim of creating a twenty first century equivalent of the Library of Alexandria - a repository of every aspect of human life and creativity. With this in mind, I am launching Project Bull (named after the John Bull printing kits we used to play with as children - they probably called them something different outside Britain!) which is like Project Gutenberg but on a much smaller and more parochial scale.
The idea behind Project Bull is that you add something new to the collective digital depository of mankind not so much by creating it yourself, but by transcribing or reprinting something that was created long ago - and is therefore outside the mean grasp of the copyright lawyers. We can leave the digitization of Dickens or Turner to others who have the resources available to undertake such important tasks. But we can all help ensure that the parochial, the seemingly insignificant, and the oblique is saved from crumbling into the dust of obscurity by helping it make that once-in-a-lifetime jump into the digital age. Once there - once on the internet, on your blog, my blog or anybody else's blog - Dame Google will index it and the digital library doors will be thrown open.
As an example, here is my first Project Bull contribution. It is nothing more than a 23 line article from the December 1862 edition of the Brighouse and Rastrick Chronicle. It tells the sad tale of Samuel Gledhill of West Vale. To the best of my knowledge this article has never found its way onto the internet before. And now, thanks to Project Bull, it is available to everyone in the world!
DRINK AGAIN - On Wednesday evening, the 24th, an innkeeper named Samuel Gledhill, alias, "Sam o Wam's," residing at West Vale, was drinking at the Saville's Arms, Elland, which place he left at turning out time, rather the worse for liquor. He set off home alone, going along Westgate, and when he had got in the Longwall road, he stood upon the wall and pulled off his stockings and boots. At a quarter to six o'clock on the following morning, as some of Mr Phillip Kershaw's quarrymen were going to their work, they found him lying by the side of the bottom road in an almost insensible condition. It is supposed that after he had pulled off his boots and stockings, he had fallen off the wall, fancying probably he was getting into bed, and must have rolled down the hill side a distance of nearly 50 yards, and which is somewhat steep. When aroused, he pathetically requested that he might be permitted to lie undisturbed a little longer; but a conveyance was procured in which he was removed to his residence. Mr Gledhill's injuries are of a very serious nature; is left arm is fractured in two places, and several of his ribs are broken.
SOURCE : BRIGHOUSE AND RASTRICK CHRONICE (WEST YORKSHIRE) DECEMBER 1862