A few recent messages on the KoreanStudies email list pointed out that the Gutenberg Project has a few old Korean books online. They are a wonderful resource to learn more about how past generations have viewed and described Korea and often contain small tidbits of information not available elsewhere (especially to students who may not read any Korean).
You can read recent KS messages from July here. They include discussion of an ongoing effort to create a digitized version of Isabella Bird Bishop’s Korea and Her Neighbours and a draft of the 2nd volume, which still needs proofing, has been posted by Thomas Duvernay in his posting here. In a separate posting Brother Anthony at Sogang University pointed out that several of Bishop’s other books are already available for download in the Gutenberg collection.
Here are links some currently available books mentioned on the email list or which I found myself on Gutenberg’s site (Tip to Brother Anthony for pointing these out):
Korea’s Fight for Freedom by F. A. Mckenzie (1920) – Not his famous The Tragedy of Korea but a later (and more updated) book which expands his earlier arguments.
Our Little Korean Cousin by Henry Lee Mitchell Pike (1905) – Online version complete with the original pictures here.
As I have pointed out in a posting on my own blog, many of the books at Gutenberg have been scanned and then checked through a distributive proofreading process. I would love to see many more of these older works, which were published long enough ago to be in the public domain, online and available in various formats such as those provided by the wonderful Gutenberg project.
The advantage of distributive proofreading is obvious: there are many eyes which check over the work but each person need only contribute a little. The process is divided into several stages and has already added over a thousand public domain books to the project.
If you are interested in contributing to this process, either by adding scanned works with their unproofed OCRed files, or by offering a little bit of time to correct some of the books (there are several books related to Asia currently being proofread) then visit the: