Media, Money & Elections: 2014 Philly Political Media Ad Watch

Philadelphia-region Political Media Ad Watch is a pilot project that allows citizens and journalists to go online to search every political message in the Philly television market, compare all the ads from a single sponsor (sample: Tom Wolf for Governor) —positive and negative—and trace back who is paying for those ads.

She’s Dishonest!
He’s in Bed with an Accused Mobster!
This is what television audiences in Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey are hearing a lot of this season. And it’s not Judge Judy or the Jerry Springer Show. Nope. It’s the deeply disturbing reality television show of our nation’s mid-term elections.

Dark accusations run back-to-back with heartwarming assurances of compassion.  All financed by increasingly unfettered flows of cash from ever more veiled donors.

Voters have a right to know who’s paying for these messages. And this flood of commercials begs a few critical questions for our democracy:

  • With so much heat, where can citizens find the light they need to make thoughtful choices?
  • Are the local media, many of whom make big bucks on election advertising, doing a good job giving voters the information and context they need to make sound decisions on Election Day?
  • Can we establish a baseline of metrics to evaluate the performance of local media during elections?

The project is a collaboration between the Internet ArchiveSunlight Foundation, Philadelphia’s Committee of Seventy (a non-partisan government watchdog), University of Delaware’s Center for Community Research & Service and the Linguistic Data Consortium at the University of Pennsylvania. It immediately enables local media to do a better job sifting between fact and fiction in political messaging and revealing financial sources of political influence.

In the coming year, University of Delaware researchers will sift project data to answer some basic questions about how local media is serving the public:

  • To what extent, if any, do local television news broadcasts examine the claims that are made in the political ads that appear on the newscasts?
  • Do the broadcasts cover the same issues that are the subject of political ads? If so, which issues are covered, which issues are not covered?
  • How much time is devoted to that coverage? Where does that coverage appear in the newscasts?

And in the long term, our pioneering work in the Philadelphia-region will help us create an affordable and technically scalable model to answer these questions in local markets nationwide leading up to the 2016 elections.

One of the exciting features of this project is that it brings cutting edge technology together with campaign finance expertise and grassroots good-government advocates in Philadelphia to potentially provide vastly greater understanding on who funds our political system and how they influence campaigns on the ground. Each of these organizations by themselves have a strong potential impact—together, we have the ability to amplify the rich, revealing information that can move voters and sway debate toward better outcomes.

What We’re Doing

The Internet Archive is recording, indexing for search and presenting online Philadelphia TV Market Area television news—which includes 22 counties in Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey; indexing for search all political ads therein; creating an interface for trained volunteers to identify and tag political advertising; joining indexed ads with sponsor information databases; making news and ads searchable, quotable and embeddable; capturing and presenting, in a full-text searchable database, much of the region’s Web media ecosystem..

The Sunlight Foundation is training volunteer political ad sponsorship coders, creating adaptations of the Influence Explorer interface and database to include real time Pennsylvania state campaign data; developing specialized optical character recognition algorithms for extracting Public Inspection File disclosures on sponsorship for TV political ad buys on its Political Ad Sleuth database; conducting outreach to journalists and others for their collaboration and use of resources for stories; integrating ad sponsor data into related Sunlight Foundation data tools and API’s; working with the Internet Archive to sync up sponsorship data with the actual ads in the same interface.

The Committee of Seventy is organizing a team of volunteers; acting as liaison with Philadelphia-region civic organizations; conducting outreach to area press; and providing guidance on issues and political candidates to track.

The University of Delaware’s Center for Community Research & Service at the School of Public Policy & Administration will conduct an analysis of the broadcast news programs in the Philadelphia television market, aired September 1 through Election Day, November 4.  After Election Day, the University team will conduct content analysis to address the research questions above and publish findings next year.

The Linguistic Data Consortium at the University of Pennsylvania is providing technical support and advice regarding the Internet Archive’s broadcast monitoring in the Philadelphia area.

Project Resources

View all identified political TV ads
• Watch video tour guide to using Philly-region TV news search
Search just Philadelphia content from the TV News Archive
Philadelphia stations’ political ad sponsor reports to FCC
Archived Philadelphia web media ecosystem sites (key word searchable)

Project Advisors

Kathleen Hall Jamieson, the Elizabeth Ware Packard Professor of Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication; and Walter and Leonore Annenberg Director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

Travis N. Ridout, the Thomas S. Foley Distinguished Professor of Government and Public Policy and Associate Professor in the school of Politics, Philosophy and Public at Washington State University; and co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project.

David Westin, former president of ABC News, Founding CEO of NewsRight, a digital start-up spun off from the AP; and now Principal of Witherbee Holdings, LLC

Supported in part by grants and other contributions from:

David Glassco
Democracy Fund
Rita Allen Foundation
Hawthorn Family Fund
Buck Foundation (NYC)
Kahle/Austin Foundation
John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Philadelphia Foundation, from an anonymous contributor to their donor-advised funds

Project Collaborator Contacts

Internet Archive – Roger Macdonald  roger@archive.org
Sunlight Foundation – Kathy Kiely  kkiely@sunlightfoundation.com
University of Delaware – Danilo Yanich  dyanich@udel.edu
Committee of Seventy – Ellen Kaplan  ekaplan@seventy.org
Linguistic Data Consortium – Denise DiPersio  dipersio@ldc.upenn.edu

 

 

 

 

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Invitation to the Internet Archive Annual Event

invitation

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Please Help Protect Net Neutrality

Please stand with the Internet Archive to Protect Net Neutrality by writing to your congressperson.    Today, many organizations are putting “Internet Loading” symbols on their sites to bring awareness to the stakes to those of us that would be at the mercy of the Cable and Phone Companies to selectively slow down our sites for profit or just because they may not like our policies.

China started blocking the Internet Archive again a couple of months ago, we believe, because they do not like our open access policies.    In this way, we have started to understand the power in the hands of the Internet service providers.    Lets keep our access to Internet sites “Neutral” and not at the discretion of companies and governments.

Please write to your congressperson.

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Millions of historic images posted to Flickr

by Robert Miller, Global Director of Books, Internet Archive

flickr_image

“Reading a book from the inside out!”. Well not quite, but a new way to read our eBooks has just been launched. Check out this great BBC article:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-28976849

Here is the fabulous Flickr commons collection:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/internetarchivebookimages

BBC articleAnd here is our welcome to Flickr’s Common Post:

http://blog.flickr.net/en/2014/08/29/welcome-the-internet-archive-to-the-commons/

What is it and how did it get done?
A Yahoo research fellow at Georgetown University, Kalev Leetaru, extracted over 14 million images from 2 million Internet Archive public domain eBooks that span over 500 years of content.  Because we have OCR’d the books, we have now been able to attach about 500 words before and after each image. This means you can now see, click and read about each image in the collection. Think full-text search of images!

How many images are there?
As of today, 2.6 million of the 14 million images have been uploaded to Flickr Commons. Soon we will be able to add continuously to this collection from the over 1,000+ new eBooks we scan each day. Dr. Simon Chaplin, Head of the Wellcome Library says, “This way of discovering and reading a book will help transform our medical heritage collection as it goes up online. This is a big step forward and will bring digitized book collections to new audiences.”

What is fun to do with this collection?
Trying typing in the word “telephone’ and enjoy what images appear? Curious about how death has been characterized over 500 years of images – type in “mordis”. Feeling good about health care – type in medicine and prepare to be amazed. Remember, all of these images are in the public domain!

Future plans?
We will be working with our wonderful friends at Flickr and our great Library partners to make this collection even more interesting –  more images, more sub-collections and some very interesting ideas of how to use some image recognition tools to help us learn more about, well, anything!

Questions about this collection, projects or things to come?
Email me at robert@archive.org

Posted in Books Archive, Cool items, News | 35 Comments

Zoia Horn, librarian and activist, dies

Ms. Horn presenting The Zoia Horn Intellectual Freedom Award to the Internet Archive’s Brewster Kahle

July 12, 2014 marked the passing of an extraordinary librarian, Zoia Horn. Ms. Horn was best known in library circles for spending three weeks in jail in 1972 for having refused to testify before a grand jury regarding information relating to Phillip Berrigan’s library use. Ms. Horn stated: “To me it stands on: Freedom of thought — but government spying in homes, in libraries and universities inhibits and destroys this freedom.”

Throughout her life, Ms. Horn was on the forefront of the protection of academic and intellectual freedom, especially in libraries. She was an outspoken opponent of the PATRIOT ACT. She won numerous awards for her work, and a Zoia Horn Intellectual Freedom Award was inaugurated in 2004 by the California Library Association.

The Internet Archive is proud to have been a recipient of that award in 2010, and Brewster Kahle was presented with the award by Ms. Horn herself.

Along with so many others who have fought for freedom, we will greatly miss Ms. Horn, and we honor her memory by continuing her work.

Zoia Horn’s autobiography (read online)

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Free the Screenshots!

As the Archive moves more widely into the archiving of software, it quickly becomes apparent that there’s going to be an awful lot of programs online without much indication of what they are. With many thousands of programs or program collections to choose from, determining what might be inside becomes a pretty involved task.

In the case of movies, images and texts, there are previews that help show what is contained in the files in a given item. These are extremely helpful, as they not only show the quality or style of the works, but give all sorts of information that might not be reflected in the metadata.

Starting now, the same will be true for many types of software.

screenshot_01

The Atari 800 graphical masterpiece Astro Chase.

Using a combination of the JSMESS emulator and screen capturing software, the Archive has begun automatic “playing out” of sets of programs, snagging shots of what the software does, and then providing it as a guidepost of what is to come with that program.

For example, work has just been completed on the playable Sega Genesis Library,  where the directory view of the items in the collection show helpful screenshots, and individual games show animated playthroughs of the beginning of the cartridge.

00_coverscreenshotThe process is still evolving – currently it requires real-time capture (that is, capturing the first five minutes of a program takes an actual five minutes), but with multiple machines moving through collections, screenshots will be available for huge amounts of programs in coming weeks and months.

Along with the obvious graphical prettiness comes an even greater cultural benefit: the freeing of screenshots.

As these shots have often been done manually or have been gathered by hand, there has risen a tendency to put watermarks or credits with the images to indicate who did the work. While it’s an understandable urge to want some kudos for the effort, it meant that the very work being lauded (the graphics of the program) was being vandalized to ensure credit where credit was due.

None of the screenshots we are generating will have watermarks, and can be used freely for other purposes as you see fit.

To celebrate this, we’ve created a compilation of all the Sega Genesis screenshots generated by the project so far. The compilation is here. Be warned – it’s 4.3 gigabytes of 16,900 screenshots of 573 cartridges! (There’s a way to browse it at this link.)

Many screenshots are simply informative, but many more are truly works of art, as artists and programmers strained the edges of these underpowered machines to create the most evocative images possible. With this screenshotting effort underway, that work will hopefully get a new life and respect on the web.

Free the Screenshots!

screenshot_36

 

 

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Working to Stop Rewriting Copyright Laws via TPP Treaty

The Internet Archive joined Our Fair Deal along with EFF and Public Knowledge to stop the US from using the Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty from changing our copyright laws.   The coalition sent two open letters to TPP negotiators today on critical issues that you can learn about here. Let’s foster open debate and proper process before further changes to copyright laws restrict public access even more.

Please consider joining this coalition.

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Happy Hour at The Interval, Tuesday July 8 at 6pm

The Long Now Foundation works to encourage long term thinking in our increasingly “now” oriented culture (read more about them and their projects below).

Long Now just opened a new cafe, bar and event space called The Interval at Fort Mason Center. It features prototypes and artifacts from the 10,000 Year Clock they are building, thousands of books on floor-to-ceiling shelves, art created by Long Now co-founder Brian Eno, and a cocktail menu designed by Jennifer Colliau (Slanted Door / Small Hand Foods) There’s a great article at eater.com on their recent launch.

July 8, 2014 at 6pm
2 Marina Blvd.
Fort Mason Center Building A
San Francisco, CA 94123
RSVP on meetup

On Tuesday, July 8th please join us at The Interval to enjoy their amazing cocktails–they also serve beer, wine, Sightglass coffee, tea and cocktail-worthy no-alcohol drinks. Long Now Foundation staff will be on hand to tell you more about the organization and how you can follow, participate, and support what they do. (Memberships start at $8 / month and include free tickets to their Seminar series!)

All this in their amazing, inspiring space along with your fellow Humanitarians, a great chance to meetup, hang out, and get to know each other better over some delicious drinks. The night starts at 6pm and we’ll hang out for a little less than a millennia (The Interval is only open until midnight anyway).

About The Long Now Foundation

The Long Now Foundation was established in 01996 to encourage and foster long-term thinking and responsibility through a variety of projects including a Clock designed to last 10,000 years, a monthly Seminar series about long-term thinking, Revive and Restore which is focused on genetic rescue for endangered and extinct species, and the Rosetta Projectwhich preserves the diversity of human languages. In short their goal is to make long-term thinking more automatic and common rather than difficult and rare.

The term “Long Now” was coined by co-founder Brian Eno after observing that in New York City the word here meant “this room” and now meant “about five minutes”. It led Brian to reflecton the importance of living in a bigger here and a longer now.

What does “the long now” mean?

The 10,000 Year Clock is a project to build a monument scale, multi-millennial, all mechanical clock as an icon to long-term thinking.

The Rosetta Project is Long Now’s first exploration into very long-term archiving.  The project is a global collaboration of language specialists and native speakers building a publicly accessible digital library of human languages. Below is an image of the Rosetta Disk: thousands of pages of language information micro-etched on a nickel disk in order to preserve them without the risk of digital obsolescence.

 

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1 Year Later: NSA Revelations, Debate and Dire Prospects

Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. Benjamin Franklin, November 15, 1755

A year ago today, Glenn Greenwald published the first article on the extent of NSA surveillance, based on documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Prior warnings by members of the US Congress, whistleblowers and others had gone un-headed. Effective Congressional oversight was circumvented by secret Executive Branch interpretations of relevant laws.

After the June 5th revelation last year, most members of Congress were shocked, even the author of the Patriot Act.

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives recently attempted to end mass government surveillance of Americans via the USA FREEDOM Act. Some initial supporters, like House Judiciary Committee member, Zoe Lofgren, withdrew their support for the Act after amendments modified its effectiveness. The Electronic Frontier Foundation called the Act “gutted”.

The USA FREEDOM Act moves to the Senate for debate and likely further modification. The public debate over the relationship between freedom and safety in our increasingly digital world continues to deepen.

Edward Snowden frames the choices between Liberty and Security confronting Americans today as dire as Ben Franklin did in 1755.

NSA-issues TV News Quote Library

Our experimental library presents more than 1,100 chronologically ordered television citations drawn from the Internet Archive’s television news research library. TV quotes can be browsed by rolling over clip thumbnails, queried via transcripts and sorted for specific speakers. Citations, context, source broadcasters, and options to share, quote or borrow can be explored by following links on each thumbnail.

Thanks to the exceptional curatorial efforts of Robin Chin, a media researcher for the Internet Archive, you can use this library to reflect upon one of the great issues of our times.

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Peering at a Dark Time in Tiananmen Square Through Stokes Archive Glass

Twenty five years ago Tiananmen Square was splashed with the blood of protestors. For seven weeks they had banded together to advocate a democratic future for the Peoples Republic of China. Their voices were stilled June 4, 1989 by the guns of China’s army. The protestors’ optimistic vision of reform was reflected later that year in the fall of the Berlin Wall and has persisted in China to this day.


In respectful remembrance of the terrible sacrifices exacted in Tiananmen Square, and to inform thoughtful reflection, we offer a few glimpses gleaned from the Marion Stokes Archive of how U.S. media told the story.

Marion Stokes, an African American librarian and social justice advocate, dedicated the last thirty five years of her life to recording television news so that we might consider the past through the lens of contemporaneous media. Her devotion resulted in an extraordinary collection of 40,000 video cassettes. We are in the very early stages of beginning to index the collection and experiment with digitizing it.

Posted in Announcements, News | 1 Comment

The Console Living Room Expands

Back on the day after Christmas, we announced the Console Living Room, a collection of console games dating from the 1970s through the 1980s that could be played right in your browser, with no plugins or installation necessary. With over 800 cartridges emulated from five game consoles, the chance to relive old memories, make new ones, and experience video game history were huge.

In the months since, there have been college courses assigned to study the old games in the Living Room, reviews written by players trying these games for the first time, and a crowd of tens of thousands of players checking the whole thing out.

So, it’s time to make the Living Room a little bigger.

As of today, the Console Living Room now supports 2,300 cartridges for 21 consoles.

Sega Game GearAmstrad GX4000Sega GenesisEpoch Super Cassette VisionAPF-MP1000Channel FSuper A'Can

It is 100% guaranteed that you have never heard of all of these consoles, even if you were playing video games at the time they were around. Some flamed out spectacularly, only creating a handful of cartridges. Others were the victim of bad timing or needless delays, making their technology significantly out of date upon release. One of them had a short lifespan and was only ever released in Taiwan.

All of them are a part of history.

These consoles (now spanning from the 1970s through to the 1990s) represent the uniqueness of the video game revolution, as living rooms were transformed from watch-only television shrines into places of activity and competition, often against the machines themselves. Only a small percentage of companies now release home consoles, investing many millions and huge armies of support/development staff to do so – these online exhibits harken back to when a comparatively small number of people could pull off what now takes many hundreds to do.

The relative stability of the market now is a quiet meadow compared to the intense battles that came before.

As for the games themselves, there’s an untold mass of creativity, triumphs, tears and near-misses throughout the thousands of cartridges. Games that should have been big but weren’t, games that make you wonder what they were thinking, and games that have taken on the patina of warm regard but… just aren’t as good as they say.

Some other notes about this expanded collection:

Adding 2,300 cartridges to the collection at once means that a significant number lack the documentation or information they deserve. A team of volunteers has been working to shore up descriptions, cover images, and screenshots for these many programs, but the work is ongoing. In a notable amount of cases, there exists very little information about the game cartridge at all. Games that sold well or had a notable brand tend to have more information available, while short-selling products fell between the cracks. If you would like to volunteer to help backfill some of these items, please contact Jason Scott, software curator, at jscott@archive.org.

The JSMESS Emulator that drives these playable games continues to be improved and the use of JavaScript means there are no plugins needed. We find the Firefox and Chrome browsers are the most responsive. Some consoles, especially later model ones, require a hefty machine to run the games at the proper speed. If you find a game is unresponsive or slow, it is very likely not your fault at all. Let us know if you find games or platforms that are acting unusually badly or are crashing.

Lastly, we continue to have no sound available on these emulations. We have experimentally proven sound works, and we are now working with multiple teams of people who are involved in emulation, the browser audio standards, and other aspects to get this dealt with. When it’s ready, we’ll announce it.

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It’s a Party at the Archive’s new Warehouse!

The new  50,000 square foot warehouse will be used to house 160 shipping containers to hold over 6 million books, but for now is ours to play in!

party

Come celebrate with us!  Food will be served and we will host a variety of carnival-style games and activities.

Sunday, June 1 2014:
2:00 pm – 5:00 pm

New Richmond Warehouse
380 Carlson Boulevard
Richmond, CA

Bring your families and friends!

Please help us and RSVP here

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Authors Alliance Launch at Internet Archive, May 21

authors

Wednesday, May 21 2014
6:30 pm – 9:00 pm

The Authors Alliance embraces the unprecedented potential digital networks have for the creation and distribution of knowledge and culture. We represent the interests of authors who want to harness this potential to share their creations more broadly in order to serve the public good.

Unfortunately, authors face many barriers that prevent the full realization of this potential to enhance public access to knowledge and creativity. Authors who are eager to share their existing works may discover that those works are out of print, un-digitized, and subject to copyrights signed away long before the digital age. Authors who are eager to share new works may feel torn between publication outlets that maximize public access and others that restrict access but claim to provide value in terms of peer review and prestige, or even fame and fortune.

The mission of Authors Alliance is to further the public interest in facilitating widespread access to works of authorship by helping authors navigate the opportunities and challenges of the digital age. We provide information and tools designed to help authors better understand and manage key legal, technological, and institutional aspects essential to a knowledge economy of abundance. We are also a voice for authors in discussions about public and institutional policies that might promote or inhibit broad dissemination.

If you are interested in our mission, please join us at our launch, 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday May 21st at the Internet Archive in San Francisco.

Location:
Internet Archive
300 Funston Avenue
San Francisco, CA

For more details and to RSVP please visit authorsalliance.eventbrite.com

 


The above banner was made using a photo by DAVID ILIFF, repurposed and used here under a CC-BY 2.5 license.
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Wayback Machine Hits 400,000,000,000!

logo_wayback_210x77The Wayback Machine, a digital archive of the World Wide Web, has reached a landmark with 400 billion webpages indexed.  This makes it possible to surf the web as it looked anytime from late 1996 up until a few hours ago.

Let’s take a trip back in time and visit some sites.
Yahoo (Captured way back in Nov 28, 1996)

Yahoo

Geocities (Captured December 12, 1998)

Geocities

There were even places to start your very own web diary way back in 1999.
Diaryland.com (Captured November 27, 1999)

Diaryland

Mumbleboy was using Flash to push the creative limits of Web Animation (Captured August 1, 2001)

Mumbleboy

Before there was Borat, there was Mahir Cagri.  This site and the track it inspired on mp3.com created quite a stir in the IDM world, with people claiming that “Mahir Cagri” was Turkish for “Effects Twin” and that the whole thing was an elaborate ruse by Richard D. James (Aphex Twin). (Captured December 29, 2004 and December 7, 2000)

MahirCagrimp3com

 

Have you ever wondered what happens when the Wayback Machine archives itself?  Will we fall into a search window of recursion, never to find our way out of the mirror maze again? (Captured October 22, 2008)

Wayback

I guess we don’t want to break our brains.  Oh, well.

The Wayback Machine has had some exciting adventures over the years as it grew. Here are some highlights:

2001 – The Wayback Machine is launched.  Woo hoo.

2006 – Archive-It is launched, allowing libraries that subscribe to the service to create curated collections of valuable web content.

March 25, 2009 – The Internet Archive and Sun Microsystems launch a new datacenter that stores the whole web archive and serves the Wayback Machine.  This 3 Petabyte data center handled 500 requests per second from its home in a shipping container.

June 15th, 2011 – The HTTP Archive becomes part of the Internet Archive, adding data about the performance of websites to our collection of web site content.

May 28, 2012 – The Wayback Machine is available in China again, after being blocked for a few years without notice.

October 26, 2012 – Internet Archive makes 80 terabytes of archived web crawl data from 2011 available for researchers, to explore how others might be able to interact with or learn from this content.

October 2013 – New features for the Wayback Machine are launched, including the ability to see newly crawled content an hour after we get it, a “Save Page” feature so that anyone can archive a page on demand, and an effort to fix broken links on the web starting with WordPress.com and Wikipedia.org.

Also in October 2013 – The Wayback Machine provides access to important Federal Government sites that go dark during the Federal Government Shutdown.

We’re proud of you, Wayback Machine!  You’ve grown so big on a healthy diet of web captures, and you’re growing more every day.

 

Posted in Announcements, News | 21 Comments

Bitcoin and the Internet Archive Swag Store

bitcoinrotateSan Francisco Weekly said we are the best Bitcoin Evangelists in their BestOf section.   Fun.

We now accept bitcoin at our Archive swag store.    We continue to offer bitcoins to our emplInternet Archive TShirtoyees as salary, eat sushi for bitcoin next door, supported bitcoin as well as could at our credit union, have a cool honor-based bitcoin ATM (please come and use it), accept bitcoin at movies, as well as graciously accept bitcoins as donations to keep our servers humming.   (We get a few bits every day, thank you!)

Go Bitcoin!

Sushi for Bitcoins

Sushi for Bitcoins

Posted in Announcements | 1 Comment

Rick Prelinger: NO MORE ROAD TRIPS! – Tuesday, May 13 at 6:30PM

Tuesday, May 13  NO MORE ROAD TRIPS!

 Internet Archive, San Francisco 6:30 reception / 7:30 screening

ADVANCE TICKET PURCHASE HIGHLY ADVISED.  Ticket link here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/671840

This is the second Bay Area screening of Rick Prelinger’s new film, which showed last year as a work in progress at SXSW and the SF International Film Festival.  It’s a dream ride through 20th-century America made entirely from home movies, asking whether we’ve come to the end of the open road.

Have we reached “peak travel”? Can we still find fortune (and ourselves) on the highway? Are we nomads or stay-at-homes?  A journey from the Atlantic Coast to California with a cast of hundreds, made from a collection of 9,000 home movies, NO MORE ROAD TRIPS? reveals hidden histories embedded in the landscape and seeks to blend the pleasures of travel with premonitions of its end. The sound track for this fully participatory film is made fresh each screening by the audience, who’s encouraged to recall our shared past and predict the future.

This is a silent movie meant to be shown to viewers who ask questions, make comments, disagree with one another, and generally act like vocal sports spectators or the rowdies in the pit in front of the Elizabethan stage. A project of Creative Capital.

NO MORE ROAD TRIPS! will also be showing at SF DocFest in June: http://sfindie.com/festivals/sf-docfest/

Watch the 66-second trailer:

Posted in Announcements, News | 1 Comment

Let Our Video Go

MetMuseunScroll_DT11631UI / UX Advances in Freeing Information Enslaved by an Ancient Egyptian Model  Or… Why Video Scrolling is so Last Millenniums

In creating an open digital research library of television news, we have been challenged by being unable to reference a current user experience model for searching video. Conventional video search requires users to start at the beginning of video and proceed at the pace and sequencing dictated by content creators. Our service has vaulted over the confines of the linear video storytelling framework by helping users jump into content at points directly pertaining to their search.  But by doing so, we have left some of our prospective users adrift, without a conceptual template to rely on.  That is until this April, with the release of a new user interface.

GutenbergPress_LoC

Treating video as infinitely addressable data is enabling us to do an increasingly better job at getting researchers right to their points of interest. While revolutionary in its application to television news at the scale we are doing it, it does have an antecedent in a prior media revolution — the transition from the age of scrolls to printed books. Gutenberg used movable type to print identical bibles in the mid-1400’s. It took a hundred more years before detailed indexes started appearing at the end of books. The repurposing of closed captioning to facilitate deep search of video is, in some ways, as significant for television as the evolution from parchment and papyrus rolls to page numbered and indexed books.

The value of most major innovations can only be realized when people adapt their conceptual models to understand and use them. Our interface design challenge included helping users make a perceptual leap from a video experience akin to ancient Egyptians unfurling scrolls to that of library-literate modern readers, or the even more recent experience of being able to find specific Web “pages” via search engines.

SprocketScroll

Our latest interface version helps users cross the cognitive bridge from video “scrolling” through television programs to accessing them instead as digitally indexed “books” with each page comprised of 60-second video segments. We convey this visually by joining the video segments with filmstrip sprocket border graphics. Linear, like film, but also “paginated” for leaping from one search-related segment to another.

ScreenShot3

When searching inside individual broadcasts, the new interface reinforces that metaphor of content hopping by truncating presentation of interleaving media irrelevant to the search query. We present the search-relevant video segments, while still conveying the relative “distance” between each jump — again referencing the less efficient linear “scroll” experience that most still find more familiar.

ScreenShot4

The new UI has another revolutionary aspect that also hearkens back to one of the great byproducts of the library index model: serendipitous discovery of adjacent knowledge. Dan Cohen, founding Executive Director of the Digital Public Library of America recently recounted, “I know a professor who was hit on the head by a book falling off a shelf as he reached for a different one; that book ended up being a key part of his future work.”

Segments

When using the new “search within” a single program feature, the browser dynamically refines the results with each character typed. As typing proceeds towards the final search term, unexpected 60-second segments and phrases arise, providing serendipitous, yet systematic choices, even while options narrow towards the intended results. These surprising occurrences suggest the diverse opportunities for inquiry afforded by the unique research library and encourage some playful exploration.

Carter_10The Internet Archive is still in the early stages of helping guide online television out of its imprisonment in ancient conceptual frameworks. A bright future awaits knowledge seekers and content creators alike when digital video is optimized for systematic discovery of even short segments. New audiences and new use-cases will be joined with media that has been languishing for too long in digital tombs, mostly unseen and unheard.

At its heart, the Internet Archive is an invitation to explore and collaborate. Please, join us in evolving digital opportunities to open knowledge for the benefit of all.

Start by giving our service a whirl, find something important and quote it.  I just did – https://twitter.com/r_macdonald/status/463492832867516416

Posted in Announcements, News | 5 Comments

Announcing: A Brave New Feature for TV News V2.1

The new TV News Archive, launched just over one month ago, was updated today with the addition of a super new feature: Search Inside shows.

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It sounds simple enough for those familiar with the ubiquitous keyboard shortcut Ctrl+F…but it turns out that’s actually only 10% of you! So why use this feature when you’re browsing the TV News Archive of 500,000+ US TV News Shows? Several reasons:

1) More Better Context – The TV New search inside feature enables users to discover a word or combination of words within a show by highlighting the desired term in every segment where it occurs in a show. Furthermore, for every 1 minute segment where a term occurs, all accompanying closed captioning text is surfaced!
2) Less Background Noise – Columns of 1 minute segments that don’t contain a “search inside” term collapse so you can find exactly what you need faster.
3) Remedies the “Refer Problem” - About 80% of the time a user is referred to a TV News show page from a third party search engine, the user’s original search term doesn’t carryover. In other words, you land on a show page with zero terms highlighted, and that’s annoying. While we can’t exactly solve this problem, we can prescribe medication for the pain, “search inside.”

So now you know, go try it out for yourself! Here are just a couple amazing projects made possible by TV News, get inspired and show us how this tool helps you. Screen Shot 2014-05-03 at 12.13.25 PM

Why Cable TV Is Dying and Twitter is Winning | André-Pierre du Plessis, Columbia Graduate School of Journalism

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Tiny Numbers | Bodo Winter, UC Merced Cognitive Sciences 

— the  team

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The Internet Archive Declares Spacewar!

spacewarLike everything else in history, debate rages about when the “first” video game came into being.  Games and demonstrations such as “Tennis for Two” (1958), “NIM” (1951) and “Mouse in the Maze” (1959), played on million dollar equipment for the amusement and experimentation of limited audiences.

One contender in this group is “Space War!”, a 1962 collaboration of multiple students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Playing off the cathode-ray tube of a Digital Equipment PDP-1 (of which less than 60 were sold), this two-player space-battle game has been lauded as a major advancement in computer gaming for over 50 years.

Now, it’s possible to play it at the Internet Archive.

As part of our larger Historical Software collection, there is now an entry for Space War!

sw1This entry covers the historical context of Space War!, and instructions for working with our in-browser emulator. The system doesn’t require installed plugins (although a more powerful machine and recent browser version is suggested).

The JSMESS emulator (a conversion of the larger MESS project) also contains a real-time portrayal of the lights and switches of a Digital PDP-1, as well as links to documentation and manuals for this $800,000 (2014 dollars) minicomputer.

sw2You’re going to need a friend to play – the game requires two human players on the same keyboard. And don’t worry, everyone gets sucked into the star in the center the first few times. You’ve got to have your orbital dynamics down before you’re truly ready to be a space warrior.

With over a half-century of history behind it, Space War! still holds up as a great example of what would become a dominant form of media in the decades since – the space video game.

The Internet Archive continues to add more historical software frequently – bringing the computing past to the computer future. Stay tuned!

Posted in Announcements, News, Software Archive | 6 Comments

Heartbleed bug and the Archive

Bottom line: The Internet Archive is safe to use.

Internet Archive has always been interested in protecting the privacy of our patrons.  We try not to record IP addresses, and when Edward Snowden showed that traffic going over the open Internet was not safe from government spying we turned on encryption by default on our web services.   Unfortunately, some of the encryption software we use (along with more than half the sites on the internet) was vulnerable due to the “Heartbleed” bug; we have upgraded our software to fix this issue.

A bit more detail:  A common piece of code, OpenSSL, was revealed to have a security bug that allowed anyone on the Internet to probe a vulnerable server and read a set of information that happens to be in RAM in that remote process.   This could be used to read a site’s “private key” which would allow a bad actor that could intercept traffic to impersonate a website via what is called a “man in the middle” attack.   If a site’s past encrypted traffic had been recorded, then it might be possible to go back now with the private key and see what happened in those past web sessions.  If you would like a more thorough explanation of “Heartbleed” you can watch a video overview.

Some of the Internet Archive’s web services did use the vulnerable version of OpenSSL up until yesterday.    At this point the Internet Archive’s services have been upgraded and we will be renewing our private key in case that was compromised.   On some of our services we have used “perfect forward secrecy” so even if our private key had been taken, and someone had recorded past traffic, and if they cared enough to try to then discover what had been read, they would still not be able to get it.   We will be implementing this on all services in the future.   Qualys SSL Labs has a useful report on our site.

Never a dull day!

Posted in Announcements, News | 12 Comments