Since 18th century and pre-Constitution America, libraries have been a public space, a central repository where books could be borrowed, read and returned—a long defended democratic ideal of the public library. But new challenges like book bans and lawsuits against libraries threaten that historic role. Join Brewster Kahle for a discussion about the future of libraries at The Commonwealth Club of California, October 6 @ 5:30pm PT.
Public Library Lending: An Endangered Core Value of American Democracy? October 6 @ 5:30pm PT The Commonwealth Club of California 110 The Embarcadero, Toni Rembe Rock Auditorium Register now for the in-person event (virtual attendance available)
Join us on October 19 to help inaugurate Democracy’s Library and celebrate all the different efforts happening at the Internet Archive!
Why is it that on the internet the best information is often locked behind paywalls? Brewster Kahle, founder of The Internet Archive, believes it’s time to turn that scarcity model upside down and build an internet based on abundance. Join us for an evening event where he’ll share a new project—Democracy’s Library—a free, open, online compendium of government research and publications from around the world. Why? Because democracies need an educated citizenry to thrive.
This year’s event is hybrid. We will be celebrating in-person at our main library in San Francisco, and will be livestreaming the event itself from 7pm-8pm PT so that everyone who cares about democracy around the world can join in.
Event details 5pm: Entertainment, Mingling and Food Trucks 7pm: Democracy’s Library presentation featuring Leslie Weir, Librarian and Archivist of Canada and Jamie Joyce, Executive Director of The Society Library. 8pm: Dancing in the Streets with “Hot Buttered Rum”
Registration is required: Register now for in-person or virtual attendance. Location: 300 Funston Ave. at Clement St., San Francisco
The RFC Series contains documents that define how the Internet functions. The first RFC was published in 1969, when just a few organizations were trying to figure out how to communicate digitally. Now, 53 years later, more than 9,200 RFCs have been written by thousands of volunteers and these documents and protocols are the underpinnings of the Internet systems we use every day.
Alexis joins the IETF team to help maintain the archival quality of the RFC Series, and to provide guidance on the policies and processes for publishing these important documents. She will also continue in her role with the Internet Archive, managing the organization’s millions of digital items.
The Internet Archive’s founder, Brewster Kahle, who has his own informational RFC (RFC 1625) published in 1994 for WAIS (Wide Area Information Servers), said of Alexis’s new role, “From my own days working on WAIS, I know how important these documents have been to the development of today’s Web. I’m glad to know that someone with so much experience will be helping to keep this Series preserved.”
“A beautifully illustrated journey through the history of computing, from the Antikythera mechanism to the iPhone and beyond—I loved it.”—Eben Upton, Founder and CEO of Raspberry Pi
From notched bones in the ancient world to self-driving cars powered by modern AI, for centuries humans have used computing systems to solve problems & enhance the way we live. But who are the people and stories behind these advancements? In THE HISTORY OF THE COMPUTER, author and illustrator Rachel Ignotofsky presents a fun-filled & beautifully illustrated journey through computing history, checking in on the notable personalities, organizations & technologies that have changed our world.
In our virtual event on September 15 @ 10am PT, Rachel will be joined by Alexis Rossi, Internet Archive’s director of media & access, and Jason Scott, free range archivist, for a discussion of the people, the inventions, the passions, and the controversies that have defined the history of the computer and its role in our daily lives.
Purchase your copy of The History of the Computer from The Booksmith, our local bookstore in the historic Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, or your own local bookshop.
September Book Talk: The History of the Computer Author & illustrator Rachel Ignotofsky in conversation with Alexis Rossi & Jason Scott from the Internet Archive. September 15 @ 10am PT Watch the recording from the virtual event
EDITORIAL NOTE: Updated 9/15/22 to remove registration links & include links to view the video.
“Josh Chin and Liza Lin have given us a truly groundbreaking investigation of China’s embrace of digital surveillance. The global scope and deep detail of their account retires the notion of an ‘all-seeing’ surveillance as some future scenario; it is happening already. They will open your eyes to the astonishing intersection of data, politics, and the human body. Anyone who cares about the future of technology, of China, or of free will cannot afford to miss this.” —Evan Osnos, The New Yorker
Join authors Josh Chin & Liza Lin for an in-person discussion on life in China’s burgeoning surveillance state. They will be joined in conversation by Xiao Qiang (Berkeley). September 14 @ Internet Archive, 300 Funston Avenue, San Francisco Doors open at 6:30pm, discussion starts at 7pm.
People living in democracies have for decades drawn comfort from the notion that their form of government, for all its flaws, is the best history has managed to produce. In SURVEILLANCE STATE: Inside China’s Quest to Launch a New Era of Social Control (St. Martin’s Press; September 6, 2022), award-winning journalists Josh Chin and Liza Lin (Wall Street Journal) document with startling detail how China’s Communist Party is striving for something new: a political model that shapes the will of the people not through the ballot box but through the sophisticated—and often brutal—harnessing of data.
Purchase a copy of Surveillance State at registration to be signed by the authors at the event. You can also purchase unsigned copies from The Booksmith, our local bookshop in the historic Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, to be delivered to you, or from your own local bookstore.
Book Talk: Surveillance State Authors Josh Chin and Liza Lin September 14 @ 7pm PT IN-PERSON @ the Internet Archive, 300 Funston Avenue, San Francisco Registration is required!Register now
Join experts from the library, copyright, and information policy fields for a series of conversations exploring issues related to digital ownership and the future of library collections. Learn more about the event on the Library Leaders Forum web site, or register below.
This year’s Library Leaders Forum will be organized on two separate dates to provide attendees with a flexible environment in which to reconnect with colleagues:
In our virtual session, hear from library leaders as they navigate the challenges of the ebook marketplace, and their concerns about the future of library collections as content moves digital.
October 19: In-Person
October 19 @ 9am – 3pm PT Internet Archive Headquarters @ 300 Funston, San Francisco
At our in-person session, we’ll gather together with the builders & dreamers to envision an equitable future for digital lending. Capacity for the in-person session, held at our headquarters in San Francisco, will be capped at 30 attendees.Interested in attending?
Empowering Libraries Through Controlled Digital Lending
October 11 @ 10am PT – REGISTER NOW The Internet Archive’s Open Libraries program empowers libraries to lend digital books to patrons using Controlled Digital Lending. Attendees will learn how CDL works, the benefits of the Open Libraries program, and the impact that the program is having for partner libraries and the communities they serve.
We’re fighting back by celebrating book ownership with the #OwnBooks campaign.
It’s very easy to take part. Choose a book that you’ve owned for a long time – ideally the oldest book you own! You can also choose another media piece, such as a record, CD, or DVD. Take a photo with the book and share it on social media. Tell us how long you’ve owned your book and use the #OwnBooks hashtag.
You could also tell us the story of your relationship with the book – what were the circumstances in which you acquired it? Does it spark any special memories for you? If you prefer, you could make a selfie video and record yourself telling the story of the book.
We’ll retweet your posts. Make sure to use the #OwnBooks hashtag and mention @internetarchive to help us find them.
Featuring the book How We Give Now by Lucy Bernholz. Published by MIT Press.
What is dataraising and why should nonprofits care? For millennia humans have given time and money to each other and to causes they care about. A few hundred years ago we invented nonprofit organizations and they’ve become a key mechanism in the donation of private resources for public benefit. Now, we can also donate digital data. Organizations such as iNaturalist use donated digital photographs to build communities of nature lovers and inform climate scientists. Other organizations are using donated data to build cultural archives, advocate for fair labor laws, protect consumers, and for medical research.
Watch session recording:
Join Lucy Bernholz, author of How We Give Now, Scott Loarie of iNaturalist, and Dr. Jasmine McNealy from the University of Florida for a discussion of the promises and perils of donating digital data and the implications for individuals, communities, and civil society.
August Book Talk: Dataraising and Digital Civil Society Featuring Lucy Bernholz, author of How We Give Now, Scott Loarie of iNaturalist, and Dr. Jasmine McNealy from the University of Florida August 10, 2022 @ 11am PT Watch the session recording.
The Internet Archive has asked a federal judge to rule in our favor and end a radical lawsuit, filed by four major publishing companies, that aims to criminalize library lending.
The motion for summary judgment, filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Durie Tangri LLP,explains that our Controlled Digital Lending (CDL) program is a lawful fair use that preserves traditional library lending in the digital world.
The brief explains how the Internet Archive is advancing the purposes of copyright law by furthering public access to knowledge and facilitating the creation of new creative and scholarly works. The Internet Archive’s digital lending hasn’t cost the publishers one penny in revenues; in fact, concrete evidence shows that the Archive’s digital lending does not and will not harm the market for books.
Earlier today, we hosted a press conference with stakeholders in the lawsuit and the librarians and creators who will be affected by its outcome, including:
“Should we stop libraries from owning and lending books? No,” said Brewster Kahle, the Internet Archive’s founder and digital librarian. “We need libraries to be independent and strong, now more than ever, in a time of misinformation and challenges to democracy. That’s why we are defending the rights of libraries to serve our patrons where they are, online.”
Through CDL, the Internet Archive and other libraries make and lend out digital scans of print books in our collections, subject to strict technical controls. Each book loaned via CDL has already been bought and paid for, so authors and publishers have already been fully compensated for those books. Nonetheless, publishers Hachette, HarperCollins, Wiley, and Penguin Random House sued the Archive in 2020, claiming incorrectly that CDL violates their copyrights.
“The publishers are not seeking protection from harm to their existing rights. They are seeking a new right foreign to American copyright law: the right to control how libraries may lend the books they own,” said EFF Legal Director Corynne McSherry. “They should not succeed. The Internet Archive and the hundreds of libraries and archives that support it are not pirates or thieves. They are librarians, striving to serve their patrons online just as they have done for centuries in the brick-and-mortar world. Copyright law does not stand in the way of a library’s right to lend its books to its patrons, one at a time.”
Authors and librarians speak out in support of the Internet Archive
“In the all-consuming tide of entropy, the Internet Archive brings some measure of order and permanence to knowledge,” said author Tom Scocca. “Out past the normal circulating lifespan of a piece of writing—or past the lifespan of entire publications—the Archive preserves and maintains it.”
“The library’s practice of controlled digital lending was a lifeline at the start of the pandemic and has become an essential service and a public good since,” said Benjamin Saracco, a research and digital services faculty librarian at an academic medical and hospital library in New Jersey. “If the publishers are successful in their pursuit to shut down the Internet Archive’s lending library and stop all libraries from practicing controlled digital lending, libraries of all varieties and the communities they serve will suffer.”
On July 8, 2022, Brewster Kahle, founder and digital librarian of the Internet Archive, spoke at a press conference about the copyright lawsuit brought against the Internet Archive by four commercial publishers. These are his remarks:
The Internet Archive is a non-profit library. And we do what libraries have always done.
What libraries do is we buy, preserve and lend books to one reader at a time. Why do we do it? Libraries are a pillar of our democracy. We are a great equalizer, providing access to information for all. We also have an age-old role as custodians of culture, preserving knowledge for future generations.
This is what the Internet Archive is doing along-side hundreds of other libraries. We have been lending scanned digital copies of print books for more than 10 years, and it has helped millions of digital learners.
With this lawsuit, the publishers are saying that in digital form, we cannot buy books, we cannot preserve books, and we cannot lend books.
This lawsuit is not just an attack on the Internet Archive—it is an attack on all libraries. The publishers want to criminalize libraries’ owning, lending and preserving books in digital form.
Should we stop libraries from owning and lending books? No. We need libraries to be independent and strong, now more than ever, in a time of misinformation and challenges to democracy.
That’s why we are defending the rights of libraries to serve our patrons where they are, online.