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Independent Associates Program

Independent Associates

Historical Precedents


Anthough the Independent Associate Program is innovative, it is not without precedent.

Right Arrow In 1857, the British Philological Society began collecting volunteer readers to provide quotations for its proposed New English Dictionary. This program was expanded by James A. H. Murray, named editor by the Oxford University Press, which was now in charge of the publication. When the first edition of the dictionary, now called the Oxford English Dictionary, was published, beginning in 1884, over five million quotations were included, many from volunteers in Britian and the United States. The program has changed over time, but is still used by the Oxford University Press in preparation of its reference works.

Right Arrow In 1971, Michael Hart began what was to develop into Project Gutenberg. The goal of the project was to create "plain vanilla ASCII" text files of literature and reference materials that could be replicated by computers. Originally, volunteers keyed in the texts by hand, but later developments in scanner and Optical Character Recognition technology greatly increased the efficiency and accuracy of the process. The Project Gutenberg Archive now contains over 2,250 searchable, free texts available to anyone who visits. The Project anticipates 3,333 texts will be completed by 2001.

Right Arrow In 1996, David Gedye founded the SETI@home project. In 1999, after a period of scientific review and software development, the project went online with a program that acts as a screensaver and uses individual computers' processors when not otherwise in use to scan and analyze data collected by radio telescopes that the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Program would otherwise not be able to analyze. As of Febuary 2000, there were over 1.7 million users of the SETI@home software from over 220 countries and territories and the combined computing time used on all of the computers were over 182,000 years.

Get involved

Read more about the Independent Associate Program


Are you interested in learning more about these projects? Visit their sites at:

Oxford English Dictionary

Project Gutenberg




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