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Free MIT Engineering Text For Download 207

An anonymous reader writes " The (sci-tech) Library Question is reporting, "The third edition of A Heat Transfer Textbook, written by John H Lienhard V (MIT) and John H Lienhard IV (U Houston), has been made available on the web. The book is an introduction to heat transfer, geared towards engineering students. It may be downloaded free of charge. The authors explain: We are placing a mechanical engineering textbook into an electronic format for worldwide, no-charge distribution. The aim of this effort is to explore the possibilities of placing textbooks online -- effectively giving them away. Two potential benefits should accrue from doing this. First, in electronic format, textbooks can be continually corrected and updated, without the delays inherent in printed books (second and later editions are typically published on a five-year cycle). Second, free textbooks hold the potential for fundamentally altering the economics of higher education, particularly in those environments where money is scarce."
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Free MIT Engineering Text For Download

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  • by kunudo ( 773239 ) on Sunday May 09, 2004 @06:34AM (#9099065)
    Here [lightandmatter.com] (introductory physics.)
  • More Free eBooks (Score:5, Informative)

    by wehe ( 135130 ) <wehe&tuxmobil,org> on Sunday May 09, 2004 @06:43AM (#9099082) Homepage Journal
    I have started to collect a survey of free eBooks [tuxmobil.org], which contains links to free tech eBooks as well as fiction eBooks (and free AudioBooks).
  • Dedekind library (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 09, 2004 @06:45AM (#9099089)
    You may be interested by the Dedekind library:
  • Wikibooks (Score:5, Informative)

    by Kafka_Canada ( 106443 ) on Sunday May 09, 2004 @06:47AM (#9099094)
    For those of you who are interested in free (as in speech and beer) textbooks, please check out Wikibooks [wikibooks.org]. It's a Wiki, like the Wikipedia, but wholly devoted to offering free books (primarily textbooks).

    I'm not involved in running Wikibooks, I just use it and contribute to it, and I think it's a great project worth spreading the word about; plus, the more people contribute to it, the better it is.
  • Re:When can we start (Score:3, Informative)

    by Kafka_Canada ( 106443 ) on Sunday May 09, 2004 @06:50AM (#9099101)
    Check out Wikibooks [wikibooks.org].

    (Keeping it short cuz I posted about it in a new thread).
  • Re:posting textbooks (Score:5, Informative)

    by fbform ( 723771 ) on Sunday May 09, 2004 @07:06AM (#9099135)
    Brad Lucier [purdue.edu] at Purdue founded an online publishing group called Trillia [trillia.com], which does something similar.
    He has submitted a related story [slashdot.org] on Slashdot before.
  • by Brent Nordquist ( 11533 ) <bjnordNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday May 09, 2004 @07:26AM (#9099184) Homepage
    John Lienhard (the U. of Houston one) is the host of "The Engines of Our Ingenuity" [uh.edu] radio program. If you haven't heard any of these, get the transcripts or see if the program is on in your area. I've always found them excellent.
  • The Academic System (Score:5, Informative)

    by sumo61 ( 778274 ) on Sunday May 09, 2004 @07:30AM (#9099195)
    As a new Assistant Professor at a U.S. institution, I am required to perform Teaching, Research, Service, and publish scholarly publications in PEER REVIEWED journals, etc. If this is not done satisfactorily, I will be released within several years. In order for the writing of textbooks to contribute to my retention, the 'system' requires publication through a 'major' commercial publisher in your field of knowledge. This is a major reason, IMHO, that we do not see more offerings like the subject of this article. Most professors are lucky to make 10% profit on their text publishing and my discussions in this matter with the publishing houses reveals their near-future plans to offer electronic texts online...on a chapter-by-chapter basis. This would allow instructors to assemble their own 'custom assembled' texts for courses.
  • Re:Noble Effort (Score:3, Informative)

    by stephanruby ( 542433 ) on Sunday May 09, 2004 @07:35AM (#9099207)
    Writing a textbook is no small endeavor, professors often spend months upon months writing and revising a single text.

    According to this Professor: [sa2.info]"A typical [College] textbook earns the author less than $3,000 over a five-year or longer period." That's not a lot of money we're talking about. It could be funded in a number of different ways. We could have featured sponsors, student micropaiments, and paypal donations.

    While the Open Source community can survive off the valiant efforts of thousands of coders worldwide, the number of individuals in higher academia qualified to write textbooks is much more limited.

    Yes, but we don't need that many books in the first place. If the authors adopt the open source model and allow others to contribute to or take what they need from their work, then the same book won't have to be rewritten from scratch by a thousand different authors.

    I just can't envision a scenario where this kind of approach is sustainable in a long-term or wide-reaching context. Thoughts?

    This approach is sustainable. It won't replace dead-tree college textbooks, that's for sure, but at least it will be a viable alternative for some students and some poorer countries.

  • Re:posting textbooks (Score:5, Informative)

    by gnu-generation-one ( 717590 ) on Sunday May 09, 2004 @08:01AM (#9099260) Homepage
    wikibooks.org [wikibooks.org]
  • Re:Incentive (Score:3, Informative)

    by Spy Hunter ( 317220 ) on Sunday May 09, 2004 @08:02AM (#9099263) Journal
    On the contrary, I think open textbooks could be the best thing to happen to education in quite a while. When you're taking a class, the textbook is almost never the only source of information the teacher uses, and you rarely go through the book in order from chapter 1 to the end. Every teacher thinks they can do better than the textbook author, and they all add supplements and additions that often contain good ideas, but are never seen outside of their own classrooms. With an open textbook approach, every teacher would be free to mix and match lessons from any source and put them together in any order they wanted. The "open textbook" need not be one single book, but could be a collection of pieces. Popular collections of pieces could be printed in bulk like normal textbooks, or teachers could print their own custom textbooks at Kinko's or whatever. All their new ideas and improvements could be submitted back to the open textbook repository for everyone to benefit from. Imagine using a textbook that was built from the combined wisdom of every teacher in the field!

    With this system, nobody would have to write textbooks at all any more. All the material would already be written, but in a constant state of peer review and revision by people who have an interest in making it better. There would be no point in writing a "new" textbook; simply revising the open textbook to suit your needs would be much easier and would result in a better end product since the open textbook would be high quality starting material.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 09, 2004 @08:17AM (#9099289)
    These same people produce a wonderful website called How Inventive Minds Work. A beautiful and thoughful website. See www.uh.edu/engines. !!! plus you an downlaod the textbook from there.
  • by Xoo ( 178947 ) on Sunday May 09, 2004 @08:35AM (#9099327) Journal
    Lienhard's course is available on OpenCourseWare as well, to go along with the posted Heat Transfer textbook. It's a very thorough read for an intermediate-level class, happy learning :-) Here's the link [mit.edu]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 09, 2004 @09:24AM (#9099463)
    You say there are "price controls on text books" in the UK.
    Where did you get this idea? From a cereal box? There are
    no price controls in the UK. I know that doesn't fit the lower
    taxes blah blah agenda you were pushing, but it's a fact.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 09, 2004 @09:55AM (#9099560)
    Bzzt. Wrong. Yes, education is subsidized, but UK taxes are on a relatively comparable level to most US states for everyone except the richest few percent of the population (if you make more than about $200,000 you're likely to pay noticeably less in the US than here). Once you factor in a minimum level of health insurance needed to get equivalent coverage as what the government provide here, you're likely to pay as much or MORE in the US than here.

    I earn 60.000 UKP a year (about 105.000 USD). Way over the average, and hence pay significantly more taxes than the average person in the UK.

    My tax rate PLUS national health insurance ends up at 32%. Note that you don't really need extra health insurance in the UK, as the NHS (the government operated National Health Service) is actually good enough.

    Despite that my employer does cover an additional health insurance, but if I'd pay that myself, it would have been only 200 UKP a year for me AND my wife, as most health insurance in the UK only covers specialist treatment and treatments where the NHS queues are "too long" (that is, if I need an operation and can't get it immediately through the NHS, I can go get it done at a private hospital).

    Now, lets look at federal income tax in the US for my income level (note: numbers from 2001, I couldn't bother spending much time on this):

    Base tax: $13,708 + 30% of amount over $63,550. Which adds up to $13,708 + $12435 = $26143. 24.9%.

    However, 32% was inclusive of health insurance, and the only additional amount is a council (county) tax equivalent to property/land tax (it is based on the value of your property.

    If I add that to my UK tax amount, I'm up to 34.5%, all inclusive, with sufficient health insurance.

    Now, for most US states, with an income like mine, I'd be paying between 4% and 8% state income tax.

    That brings my US taxes up to 28.9% - 32.9%.

    US county and property taxes wary wildly, but it would not be unusual for it to end up at 2-3% of income, as plenty of counties have property taxes in the 2-3% of assessed property value, and given that market property value is often 2-3 times salary or more, it wouldn't take much for assessed property value to be that high. I'm not even including other county taxes that are baked into the UK council tax (which I added to the UK number of 34.5%).

    Let's say the likely range for property and county taxes is 1%-4% of gross income. This brings my likely US tax up to 29.9% - 36.9%. The high end is already above my UK tax, and my UK tax includes full health insurance

    How is that for "astronomically higher"?

  • by rampant_gerbil ( 221545 ) on Sunday May 09, 2004 @10:57AM (#9099839) Homepage
    And if you're interested in topology, Hatcher [cornell.edu] has some very high quality introductory texts available for free. They aren't all finished yet, but the first is being used for the introductory graduate courses at Wisconsin.

  • Re:Good Idea (Score:2, Informative)

    by cynyr ( 703126 ) on Sunday May 09, 2004 @12:45PM (#9100536)
    My school Northern Michigan University [nmu.edu] already does [nmu.edu]. I was provided with a not quite stock IBM R40... At acost of something around $300USD a semester. I get the laptop for 4 semesters and 1 summer, and free repair(as long as it looks like normal use) and "tech support"(usually just being told that you have to back everything up and reimage). At the end of my lease I may purchase the laptop. Everything is works under Suse 9 pro. Not sure if the modem is supported elsewhere. I have no use for the modem.
  • Re:posting textbooks (Score:3, Informative)

    by ebusinessmedia1 ( 561777 ) on Sunday May 09, 2004 @04:14PM (#9101590)
    This is another in a continuing series of developments (including open content licesnsing - see www.creativecommons.org) that will change current models of textbook development and distribution forever.

    It's just a matter of time before public educational institutions at the K-12 and university level (in addition to many private educational institutions)procure all or most of their curriculum materials this way.

    American public educational institutions spend several billions of tax dollars per year for textbooks - required by every public school, most private schools, many home schools, and public universities.

    Added to this cost is the fact that university and K-12 textbooks have risen at three times the rate of inflation since 1992. In California alone, the annual cost for K-12 textbooks is more than $400M per year.

    The textbook industry began its climb to prominence in the 1950's and 60's's, as Baby Boomers entered private and public educational institutions in unpecedented numbers. There was a real need for mass produced educational materials, and commercial textbook publishers filled the demand.

    As enrollment in educational institutions continued to increase, commercial educational publishers gradually became the default suppliers of text-based educational materials.

    Realizing that they had a near monopoly on the educational publishing market, commercial publishers began to raise prices and force "new editions" of classic textbooks into the market to compell new purchases, and defeat the used textbook market. As a result, textbook prices have risen precipitously; it's not unusual for a high school textbook to approach $100, or more. It's often the case that college textbooks exceed that amount.

    Continued dependence on commercial publishers for basic textbooks has led to a "fox is living in the henhouse" situation. As a result, massive diseconomies and inefficiencies have been introduced to the academic textbook market.

    We now live in a time where most consumers can walk into their neighborhood bookstore and purchase a 10th-grade level book on Euclidean Geometry for $10-15. Yet, the same curriculum material, embellished for a 10th-grade school district, can cast upwards of $100, often in addition to the purchase of required ancillary materials (teacher's guides, study guides, lab tapes, etc.).

    The above example is repeated in many classical mathematical - and other - disciplines at the university level.

    Until recently, short of requiring every teacher (or school district) to write its own textbooks, nothing could be done about this costly situation.

    With the advent of new Internet technologies and intellectual property licensing innovations it is now possible to create free, high-quality, distributed banks of educational content. This content can published and distributed for far less than similar materials provided by commercial publishers.

    Here is a listing of some well-known open source educational projects

    Some new current open source content projects are as follows:

    California Open Source Textbook Project (COSTP)(conducting pilot projects)

    Wikipedia World History Project (a beginning K-12 pilot inspired by COSTP and based on strict California State surriculum standards)
    http://wikibooks.org/wiki/World_Histor y_Project

    MIT's OpenCourseWare project (a university-based open curriculum project)

    There is a burgeoning movement to create "open source" educational content banks, from which insitutional (even individual) users can select - and publish - content about virtually *any* educational topic. These content resevoirs will be constructed to meet the most demanding curriculum frameworks, at all levels of curriculum instruction.

    The open educational content movement makes sense because the bulk of formal educational content - i.e. the content that is delivered to student by educational ins
  • Re:posting textbooks (Score:2, Informative)

    by H*(BZ_2)-Module ( 536932 ) on Sunday May 09, 2004 @06:31PM (#9102198)
    bcrowell provided one counter example above. Another is Allen Hatcher's Algebraic Topology textbook which is used in many classes. It is available both online and in print form. Hatcher has a few other books in progress available as well. Robert Ash has an introductory abstract algebra book available online, along with a couple books on other subjects. I don't know anyone who has used Ash's book but google reveals that it has been used by at least one class. I could go on, but my point is that use of online texts in classes and publishing work in progress online is becoming more and more widespread within mathematics. I have not seen this so much in disciplines other than mathematics, but I am not very close to the other academic communities.

Who goeth a-borrowing goeth a-sorrowing. -- Thomas Tusser