View Rare Books on Your PC

The finest old manuscripts are no longer the exclusive domain of scholars and wealthy collectors. Now, thanks to Octavo Corp. of Palo Alto, Calif., anyone with a computer and CD-ROM drive can enjoy priceless works by Galileo, Shakespeare, Ben Franklin and other greats exactly as they appear in the originals--complete with watermarks, worn pages and wormholes. Says Richard Kuhta, librarian of the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington: "You can do everything but smell the book." What's more, readers can instantly search these digital copies, unlike the originals, to find a word or phrase. Co-founded by Adobe Systems CEO John Warnock, an...

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