The releases project affiliated available in plain text but, wherever possible, other formats are included, such as HTML, PDF, EPUB, MOBI, and Plucker. Project Gutenberg was started by Michael Hart in 1971 with the digitization of the United States Declaration of Independence. This particular computer was one of the 15 nodes on ARPANET, the computer network that would become the Internet. Hart believed that computers would one day be accessible to the general public and decided to make works of literature available in electronic form for free.
By the mid-1990s, Hart was running Project Gutenberg from Illinois Benedictine College. More volunteers had joined the effort. Starting in 2004, an improved online catalog made Project Gutenberg content easier to browse, access and hyperlink. Project Gutenberg is now hosted by ibiblio at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Italian volunteer Pietro Di Miceli developed and administered the first Project Gutenberg website and started the development of the Project online Catalog. Project web pages won a number of awards, often being featured in «best of the Web» listings, and contributing to the project’s popularity. Hart died on 6 September 2011 at his home in Urbana, Illinois at the age of 64.
In 2000, a non-profit corporation, the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation, Inc. Mississippi, United States to handle the project’s legal needs. This effort greatly increased the number and variety of texts being added to Project Gutenberg, as well as making it easier for new volunteers to start contributing. DP became officially affiliated with Project Gutenberg in 2002. In August 2003, Project Gutenberg created a CD containing approximately 600 of the «best» e-books from the collection.
The CD is available for download as an ISO image. When users are unable to download the CD, they can request to have a copy sent to them, free of charge. In December 2003, a DVD was created containing nearly 10,000 items. At the time, this represented almost the entire collection. In early 2004, the DVD also became available by mail. In July 2007, a new edition of the DVD was released containing over 17,000 books, and in April 2010, a dual-layer DVD was released, containing nearly 30,000 items.