E-books will always lack the nice satisfactory heft of a brown leather bound reference volume, not to mention the dusty ambiance of library stacks. And I like those things, because I'm a bit of a Luddite at heart. I even write with fountain pens.
But, hey, it's 2012 and we're long overdue for the E-Books Initiative from the Office of the Historian:
The Office of the Historian at the U.S. Department of State is pleased to announce the release of its Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series in a new e-book format that is readable on popular electronic devices such as the Amazon Kindle and Apple iPad. The e-book edition combines many of the benefits of print and web publications in a new form that is portable and extremely convenient. During the pilot phase of the FRUS e-book initiative, five selected FRUS volumes are available here. The public is invited to download the new e-books and provide feedback to help improve the FRUS e-book edition. At the conclusion of the pilot phase later this year, the Office will work to offer e-book versions of many more FRUS volumes both through the Office website and on a wide array of e-bookstores. The Office will continue to expand and enhance its e-book offerings, as part of the ongoing FRUS digitization effort.I'm putting away my ink pot and downloading one now.
The FRUS e-book initiative is an outgrowth of the Office of the Historian’s efforts to optimize the series for its website. Because the Office adopted the Text Encoding Initiative’s open, robust XML-based file format (TEI), a single digital master TEI file can store an entire FRUS volume and can be transformed into either a set of web pages or an e-book. The free, open source eXist-db server that powers the entire Office of the Historian website also provides the tools needed to transform the FRUS TEI files into HTML and e-book formats.
For questions about the FRUS e-book initiative, please see our FAQ below; for other questions or to provide feedback, please contact email@example.com.