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Oriental Institute unveils free online book access

The University of Chicago Chronicle reports that the Oriental Institute has made 147 books available in PDF format through a new, free online service. 

The works are available at One free copy is allowed for each individual, library, or institution. The Chronicle states that the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary has been downloaded over a thousand times since May 2008.

The Oriental Institute is in the process of scanning their entire Egyptological collection published since the 1920s, some 125 books, to be distributed for free in the same way. An additional 138 titles, which document the institute’s research on Anatolian, Arabic, Iranian, Mesopotamian, Syro/Palestinian cultures, among others, will continue to be scanned and distributed as time and funds permit.

Sales of the same books in printed form have increased since the free downloads have become available. The Chronicle spoke with Thomas Urban, manager of the Publications Department at the Oriental Institute, who said:

“It seemed counterintuitive that making the electronic files available without charge would actually stimulate the sale of hard copies, but that is what we are seeing,” Urban said. “We suspect that people are sampling the book through the download, then they decide they want a hard copy. This is an important message to others who are contemplating making their books available on the Internet,” he added.

Print copies are available for purchase through David Brown Books: For more information, see the full Chronicle article here.

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