M. Michael Brady
Project Runeberg is a digitized publications archive that offers free online electronic versions of books and other texts significant in the cultural histories of the Nordic countries. It was founded in 1992 at Linköping University in southeastern Sweden and is patterned after Project Gutenberg, the digital archive of cultural works founded at the University of Illinois in 1971 that now is the oldest digital library.
The Project is named after John Ludvig Runeberg (1804-1877), the national poet of Finland, as his surname is an allusion to Johannes Gutenberg (1398-1468), the famed inventor of moveable type printing for whom Project Gutenberg is named. That allusion clearly signals the purpose of the project. To date, Project Runeberg has digitized more than one and a half million book pages, including those of nearly a hundred dictionaries useful to Nordic language literary researchers.
A visit to the Project Runeberg website at runeberg.org is a fascinating Nordic literary experience. Project editor Lars Aronsson writes with a light pen, in Swedish and in English. Norwegian readers will particularly enjoy his account of the February 2014 hack-a-thon held in Oslo, a small festival that gathered professionals dealing with websites and digitization of literary works throughout the Nordic countries, #HACK4NO.
This article originally appeared in the May 20, 2016, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.