Earlier this summer, the Internet Archive announced its partnership with the New York Art Resources Consortium (NYARC) to form a collaborative, web-based art resources preservation and access initiative. We are now thrilled to announce that the initiative has kicked off with a diverse roster of 24 participating member institutions throughout the United States and Canada.
The Collaborative ART Archive (CARTA)projecthas a mission to collect, preserve, and provide access to vital arts content from the web by supporting a vibrant, growing collaboration of art and museum libraries. With funding from federal agencies and foundations, the Internet Archive is able to expand CARTA to a diverse set of museums and art libraries worldwide and to broaden the ways the resulting collections can be discovered and used both by scholar and patrons.
The arts institutions actively participating in this program so far include:
American Craft Council
American Folk Art Museum
ART | library deco
Art Gallery of Ontario
Art Institute of Chicago
Fashion Institute of Technology
Getty Research Institute (Getty Library)
Harvard University – Fine Arts Library
Harvard University – Graduate School of Design
Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields
Maryland Institute College of Art
Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia
National Gallery of Art Library
National Gallery of Canada
New York Art Resources Consortium
Philadelphia Museum of Art
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute Library
The Corning Museum of Glass
The Menil Collection
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Spencer Reference Library
University of Hawaii at Manoa, Hamilton Library
Membership in the program includes national and regional art and museum libraries throughout the United States and Canada committed to the preservation of 21st century art historical resources on the web. One of our early supporters and current CARTA member Amelia Nelson, Director of Library and Archives at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, noted the increased risk of losing art history on the web in comparison to earlier generations of artists: “Websites are the letters, exhibition postcards, exhibition reviews and newspaper articles of today’s artists and artistic communities, but they aren’t resources that scholars can find in archives like the physical materials that document the careers of earlier generations of artists. I worry that as we lose these sites, we are also losing the potential for scholars to place this moment in the canon of art history and culture broadly. This initiative will build a collaborative and sustainable way for art libraries to pool their limited resources, with the technical, administrative, and organizational expertise of the Internet Archive, to ensure that this content is available for future generations.”
The initial group of member institutions have identified an initial set of more than 150 valuable and at-risk websites, articles, and other materials on five primary collection topics: Local Arts Organizations; Artists Websites; Art Galleries; Auction Houses (Catalogs/Price Lists); and Art Criticism. These collections will continue to grow and evolve over the course of the project, capturing thousands of websites and many terabytes of data.
We’re actively seeking more US-based arts institutions to participate in the project as we continue to grow our collections of web-based art history resources. Collaborative members attend meetings every two months to coordinate curation and other group activities as well as participate in subcommittees focused on collection development, metadata, end-user/researcher engagement, and outreach. If you are involved with an art and/or museum library interested in joining this collaborative project, please complete this form.
This year’s Library Leaders Forum brought more than 1,300 people together for virtual discussions across the month of October. All of the public sessions were recorded and are available for viewing at https://www.libraryleadersforum.org. Check out the following highlights:
Library Leaders Forum Sessions
October 13 Session I: Community Dialogue Hear from library leaders as they navigate the challenges of the ebook marketplace & their concerns about the future of library collections. Watch now
October 20 Session II: Community Impact Hear firsthand from educators & librarians about the value of digitized library collections for the patrons, students, and communities they serve. Watch now
2021 Internet Archive Hero Award
Librarians Kanta Kapoor & Lisa Radha Weaver have been named the recipients of the 2021 Internet Archive Hero Award for helping their communities stay connected to digital books during the pandemic. Watch the awards ceremony
October 7 Controlled Digital Lending: Unlocking the Library’s Full Potential Hear from the authors of the new CDL policy document. Watch now
October 12 Empowering Libraries Through Controlled Digital Lending 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. Watch now
October 27 Resource Sharing with the Internet Archive Learn about the Internet Archive’s new resource sharing initiatives and how your library can participate. Watch now
NOTE: On October 21, 2021, the Internet Archive celebrated its 25th anniversary in a virtual event featuring this keynote address by Founder & Digital Librarian, Brewster Kahle. You can watch the talk here or read the transcript below.
Universal Access to All Knowledge has been the dream for millennia, from the Library of Alexandria on forward. The idea is that if you’re curious enough to want to know something, that you can get access to that information. That was the promise of the printing press or Andrew Carnegie’s public libraries — fueling so much citizenship and democracy in the United States. The Internet was the opportunity to really make this dream come true.
What we have is an opportunity that happens maybe only once a millennium. The opportunity that comes only when we change how knowledge is recorded and shared. From oral to manuscript, manuscript to printing, and now from printing to digital. I was lucky enough to be there in 1980 and thought: what a fantastic opportunity to try to influence that transition.
Of course, we were building on the vision of many before us. This dream of having an interlocking publishing system had been around for a long time. Vannevar Bush’s 1945 article “As We May Think” was very much on people’s minds in the 1980s. There was Ted Nelson’s Xanadu—a world of hypertext. Doug Engelbart’s way of annotating and enabling you to build on the works of others.
The key thing was not the computers. Actually, it was the network. It was the ability to communicate with each other. Sure, anybody could go and write word processing documents. That’s good. But can you make everybody a publisher? Can everyone find their voice and their community no matter where they are in the world? And can people write in a way that allows others to build on their work? By 1996, we had built that. It was the World Wide Web.
With this global publishing network, the Web, we could finally build the library. It was time to build the library. In 1996, I thought: Why don’t we just build this thing? I mean, how hard could it be? Sure, maybe we’re going to have to go and digitize a whole library, but that couldn’t be that hard, right?
And so, a group of us said, let’s do this. We started by archiving the most transient of media, which was the World Wide Web’s pages. We did that for five years before we even made the Wayback Machine. The idea was to record what people were publishing and be able to go and use that in new and different ways. Could we build a library to preserve all of that material, but then add computers to the mix, so that something new and magic happens? Could we connect people, connect ideas, build on each other’s concepts with computers and these new AI things that we knew were coming. Ultimately could we make the world smarter?
Could we make people smarter by being better connected? Not just because they could read what other people were writing, but because machines would help filter information, scan vast amounts of knowledge, emphasize what is most important, provide context to the deluge.
In many ways, we have achieved this, but not completely enough: now people are writing and sharing knowledge, but it is intermingled with misinformation — purposefully false information. We still don’t have the tools to filter out the lies, and in many ways, we have business models that prosper when misinformation is widely shared. So while the dream of access may be at hand, we lack the tools and responsible organizations to help us make good use of the flood of data now at our fingertips. Given how new our digital transition is, this may not be that surprising, but it is an urgent issue that faces us. We need to fight misinformation and build data-mining tools to leverage all this knowledge to help people make better decisions — to be smarter.
This is our challenge for our next 25 years.
When we started the Internet Archive, I felt this project needed to be done in the open and as a non-profit. We needed to have not just one or two search engines, we needed lots and lots of different organizations building their new ideas on top of the whole knowledge base of humanity. We could help by being a library for this new digital world.
The libraries I grew up with were vast and free, and came with librarians who helped me understand and find things I needed to know. In our new digital world, that future is not guaranteed. It may be that most people will just feed on what they can access for free, placed there because it’s promoted by somebody. If we don’t solve this–getting quality published material to the internet population–we’re going to bring up a generation educated on whatever dreck they can find online. So we have to build not only universal access to lots of webpages, but access to the right and best information– Universal Access to All Knowledge. That is going to require requiring changes to existing business models and adjustments by long standing institutions. We need an Internet with many winners. If we have an Internet with just a few winners, some big corporations and large governments that are controlling too much of what’s online, then we will all lose.
A library alone can not solve all of these issues, but it is a necessary component, needed infrastructure in a digital world.
25 years ago, I thought building this new library would largely be a technological process, but I was wrong. It turns out that it’s mostly a people process. Crucially, the Internet Archive has been supported by hundreds of organizations. About 800 libraries have helped build the web collections that are in the Wayback Machine. Over 1000 libraries have contributed books to be digitized into the collections—now 5 million volumes strong. And beyond that, people with expertise in, say, railway timetables, Old Time Radio, 78 RPM records—they’ve been donating physical media and uploading digital files to our servers that you see here in this room. Last year, well over 100 million people used the resources of the Internet Archive, and over 100,000 people made a financial donation to support us. This has truly been a global project– the people’s library.
I love the weird and wacky stuff of the Internet, just the fun and frolicy things. You go online and see these things like, wow, that’s remarkable.
Yesterday, I was looking through the uploads from Kevin Hubler. He donated the collection his father built over his lifetime. His father collected everything a particular singer, Buddy Clark, had ever done. Clark was a 1940’s big band singer who died when he was 37. So I could listen to records, see sheet music, and dive into details, all thanks to Kevin Hubler. I love this– going down rabbit holes and learning something deeply. This was a tribute to Buddy Clark, but also to Kevin and his father– who prepared and preserved something they loved for the future.
That we’re able to enjoy each other and to express our wackiness– that’s the win of the World Wide Web! That’s the thing that you wouldn’t get if it were all just more channels of television. Yes, the internet and the World Wide Web are a bit of the Wild West, but would you want it any other way? Isn’t that where the fun and interesting things come from?
Today, it is still the people’s internet. That’s the internet that I wanted to support by starting the Internet Archive. The World Wide Web is an experiment in radical sharing where people feel that they’re better off, not worse off, building on other people’s works.
I’m hopeful and optimistic that we can build this next 25 years to be as interesting and fun as the last. That we can usher in another level of technology, another 25 years of blossoming, interesting ideas.
I want to end this talk with a personal story– my grandfather Douglas Lurton was a publisher and an author who died before I was born. Last weekend I searched for his name using full text search in the 20 million texts now on the Archive and found this quotation from him in a newspaper from West Sacramento: “Take the tools in hand and carve your own best life.” — Douglas Lurton
Now, I would like to extend my grandfather’s advice. “Let us all take our tools in hand, and together, carve our own best future.”
Kanta Kapoor was the first in her family to go to a university. Growing up in New Delhi, she was determined to become an independent woman, and she knew education was the key to success.
“I understand the value of knowledge—to survive in this world, to make a living and make informed decisions,” said Kapoor, who excelled in school and worked at public and university libraries in India for several years before moving to Canada in 2012.
Kapoor developed an expertise in emerging technologies and became an advocate for open sharing of information. Now, she is manager of support services at the Milton Public Library (MPL) in Ontario. In that role, she helped MPL become an early adopter of the Internet Archive’s Open Libraries program, which offers digital access to the physical books that a library owns through the library practice known as controlled digital lending (CDL).
For her efforts to broaden access and embrace innovative practices, Kapoor has been named a recipient of the 2021 Internet Archive Hero Award. The annual award recognizes those who have exhibited leadership in making information available for digital learners all over the world. Past recipients have included Michelle Wu, Phillips Academy, the Biodiversity Heritage Library, and the Grateful Dead.
In her career, Kapoor has focused on leveraging technology to improve services to the community. She has a master’s degree in library science and gained a specialty in open-source software and data management through additional graduate studies at the University of Toronto.
Kapoor said she was drawn to MPL in 2019 because the leadership team was forward thinking and there was an opportunity to expand community-led projects.
“We were challenged to think outside of the box and become champions throughout Canadian public libraries to stay ahead of the curve,” Kapoor said.
In her newly created position, she helped improve services for patrons and library staff alike with new technology, mobile apps and digitization of materials. When she was introduced to the Open Libraries program, Kapoor said she was impressed by the ability to provide millions of digitized books to users across the world. MPL decided this was the direction it wanted to go and became one of the first public libraries in Canada to embrace CDL and embed a link to Open Libraries in its catalogue.
MPL’s Mark Williams, chief librarian and chief executive officer, credits Kapoor’s strong leadership skills in building the partnership with the Internet Archive, which helped the MPL community during the earliest days of COVID-19 closures.
“It meant we were able to provide our patrons with access to tens of thousands of digitized materials at a time when they were more welcome than ever, during the pandemic lockdowns, while also being able to donate over 40,000 items for the benefit of a truly global audience,” he said. “We are incredibly fortunate that Kanta is part of the MPL team and her compassion, graciousness, humility and ultimately exemplary leadership have been put to good use.”
MPL expanded its partnership by donating physical items to the Archive, obtained a state-of-the-art digitization scanner, and became involved with Library Futures, a coalition of libraries and other stakeholders championing equitable access to knowledge.
Kapoor has helped promote materials available through CDL on the library’s web page, newsletters, and social media. So far, the response by users has been positive and Kapoor is reaching across her professional networks to educate her colleagues about the potential benefits.
“I encourage my fellow librarians to participate in this wonderful project to help their communities out,” Kapoor said. “In my career, I’ve seen many changes—and it’s still evolving. We need to continue to adapt and embrace new technology. I would like to see more libraries joining hands together to serve the community.”
As a child, Lisa Radha Weaver says she spent most Sunday afternoons at the Kitchener Public Library in Ontario. She has fond memories of the friendly library staff helping her load up as many books as she could carry home.
Then, as a college student at Trent and Queen’s Universities, Weaver again was struck by how kind and generous the people were behind the reference desk at the library. Finally, she asked: How do you get this job?
Weaver learned about the pathway to become a professional librarian. So, after finishing her undergraduate degree in education, she earned her master of library and information science at Western University in London, Ontario.
“I knew that I wanted to serve the public in the same way that I had always been served at all the libraries that I had the privilege of growing up with in the first half of my life,” said Weaver, now director of collections and program development at Hamilton Public Library (HPL) in Ontario.
But that public service role was tested in the spring of 2020 when HPL closed due to COVID-19, as she and her fellow library staff were left wondering how they were going to get books to members who were now locked out of their physical collection. Weaver had been instrumental in helping HPL become an early adopter of the Internet Archive’s Open Libraries program, which offers digital access to the physical books that a library owns. Because of the collections team’s hard work, HPL patrons had access to tens of thousands of books from the safety of their homes, and could continue to read and learn while the physical library remained closed.
In recognition of her contributions in her 20-plus year career, and her foresight in leading HPL into new digital lending practices, Weaver has been named the recipient of the 2021 Internet Archive Hero Award. The annual award recognizes those who have exhibited leadership in making information available for digital learners all over the world. Past recipients have included Michelle Wu, Phillips Academy, the Biodiversity Heritage Library, and the Grateful Dead.
Weaver has long been committed to broadening access to information. Not everyone is as lucky as she was to have an adult bring them to the library, she says. Others don’t live nearby or work hours that limit their ability to physically visit a branch. To serve the changing needs of users, she has embraced digitizing collections and innovative outreach.
Weaver led efforts at HPL to become an early adopter of Controlled Digital Lending, as well as identify special collections to donate to the Internet Archives for digitization.
“CDL means removing barriers to access to collections in a way that is sustainable, accessible and equitable. With one library card, users have access to THE library, not just your local branch, system, region, province, state or even country,” Weaver said. “CDL means great breadth and depth in collections access. No one library can have all the books. CDL helps all libraries work together to best support each member to find what they are looking for, when and where they are looking for it.”
The timing of HPL’s embrace of CDL in the fall of 2019 was fortuitous. When the physical buildings had to close due to the pandemic in March 2020 for three months, the library was positioned to provide users with digital access to its collection through the Internet Archive.
“Our hearts were a little bit less heavy, knowing that at least that part of our collection continued to be accessible to people,” Weaver said. “We had positive feedback.”
HPL also beefed up its own virtual library collection and created a range of online programming. Weaver says it developed an online reference system so users could call, email or chat to get connected to the resources or collections, which was especially helpful to teachers and students. Staff also phoned older members of the library to just check in and some were thankful to learn about new ways to access the library online.
Weaver says her team at the library is fearless and collaborative in how they approach their work.
She credits support from her administration and green light from the library’s legal team with the success of the CDL at Hamilton. Management promotes the notion of a “freedom to fail card” to encourage risk-taking, which says she seized upon to embark on the practice. Also, the library got a legal option that it shared widely backing up the notion that it was well within the library’s right to participate. “Those two things really allowed us to step forward confidently with the Internet Archive in this project,” Weaver said.
Since 2019, Weaver has joined the call for wider acceptance of CDL. She has participated in several panel presentations with librarians to explain the details of CDL. She has also lobbied with others in Washington, D.C., making the case to lawmakers on Capitol Hill for policy that supports the practice. Weaver is known for her professionalism and thoughtfulness in promoting the benefit of CDL.
“The ‘c’ in CDL is controlled. One copy, one use,” Weaver said. “We already own these books. Why did we buy these books, if not, for the broader library community to access? None of us are closing our libraries because we are running out of books, so doesn’t it make sense to share? Most people buy into that idea.”
Before joining HPL in 2018, Weaver was with the Toronto District School Board as manager of collections and extension services for 13 years. In that role, she coordinated operations with the largest library system in Canada and worked with diverse communities to expand digital access to learning materials for students. Weaver was honored by the Ontario School Library Association with the 2006 Mover and Shaker Award and the 2016 Award for Technical Service.
The motivation in all her work is simple: “I just really believe the library should be there for everyone, where they are and when they need it.”
Community Webs, the Internet Archive’s community history web and digital archiving program, is welcoming over 60 new members from across the US, Canada, and internationally. This new cohort is the first expansion of the Community Webs program outside of the United States and we are thrilled to be supporting the development of diverse, community-based web collections on an international scale.
Community Webs empowers cultural heritage organizations to collaborate with their communities to build web and digital archives of primary sources documenting local history and culture, especially collections inclusive of voices typically underrepresented in traditional memory collections. The program achieves this mission by providing its members with free access to the Archive-It web archiving service, digital preservation and digitization services, and technical support and training in topics such as web archiving, community outreach, and digital preservation. The program also offers resources to support a local history archiving community of practice and to facilitate scholarly research.
New Community Webs member Karen Ng, Archivist at Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation), BC, Canada, notes that the program offers a way to capture community-generated online content in a context where many of the Nation’s records are held by other institutions. “The Squamish Nation community is active in creating and documenting language, traditional knowledge, and histories. Now more than ever in the digital age, it is imperative that these stories and histories be captured and stored in accessible ways for future generations.”
Similarly, for Maryna Chernyavska, Archivist at the Kule Folklore Centre in Edmonton, Canada, the program will allow the Centre to continue building relationships with community members and organizations. “Being able to assist local heritage organizations with web archiving will help us empower these communities to preserve their heritage based on their values and priorities, but also according to professional standards.”
The current expansion of the program was made possible in part by generous funding from the Andrew Mellon Foundation, which supports the growth of Community Webs to new public libraries in the US. Additional funding provided by the Internet Archive allows the program to reach cultural heritage organizations in Canada and beyond. This newest cohort brings the total number of participants in Community Webs to over 150 organizations, a ten-fold increase since the program’s inception in 2017. For a full list of new participants, see below. The program continues to add members – if your institution is interested in joining, please view our open calls for applications and please make your favorite local memory organization aware of the opportunity.
Programming for the new cohort is underway and these members are already diving into the program’s educational resources and familiarizing themselves with the technical aspects of web archiving and digital preservation. We kicked things off recently with introductory Zoom sessions, where participants met one another and shared their organizations’ missions, communities served and goals for membership in the program. Online training modules, developed by staff at the Internet Archive and the Educopia Institute, went live for new members at the beginning of September. And our new cohort joined our existing Community Webs partners at our virtual Partner Meeting on September 22nd.
We are thrilled to see the program continuing to grow and we look forward to working with our newest cohort. A warm welcome to the following new Community Webs members!
Aanischaaukamikw Cree Cultural Institute
Age of Sail Museum and Archives
Ajax Public Library
Blue Mountains Public Library – Craigleith Heritage Depot
Canadian Friends Historical Association
Charlotte County Archives
City of Kawartha Lakes Public Library
Community Archives of Belleville and Hastings County
Confluence Concerts | Toronto Performing Arts Archives
Edson and District Historical Society – Galloway Station Museum & Archives
Essex-Kent Mennonite Historical Association
Ex Libris Association
Fishing Lake Métis Settlement Public Library
Frog Lake First Nations Library
Grimsby Public Library
Hamilton Public Library
Kule Folklore Centre
Maskwacis Cultural College
Milton Public Library
Mission Folk Music Festival
Nipissing Nation Kendaaswin
North Lanark Regional Museum
Northern Ontario Railroad Museum and Heritage Centre
Parkwood National Historic Site
Regina Public Library
Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) Archives
Société historique du Madawaska Inc.
St. Clair West Oral History Project
Temagami First Nation Public Library
The ArQuives: Canada’s LGBTQ2+ Archives
The Historical Society of Ottawa
Thunder Bay Museum
Tk’emlups te Secwepemc
Biblioteca Nacional Aruba
Institute of Information Science, Academia Sinica (Taiwan)
Mbube Cultural Preservation Foundation (Nigeria)
National Library and Information System Authority (NALIS) (Republic of Trinidad and Tobago)
Abilene Public Library
Ashland City Library
Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History
Charlotte County Libraries & History
Choctaw Cultural Center
Cultura Local ABI
DC History Center
Forsyth County Public Library
Fort Worth Public Library
Inuit Circumpolar Council – Alaska
Menominee Tribal Archives
Mineral Point Library Archives
Obama Hawaiian Africana Museum
Scott County Library System
South Sioux City Public Library
St. Louis Media History Foundation
Tacoma Public Library
The History Project
The Seattle Public Library
Tipp City Public Library
University of Hawaiʻi – West Oʻahu
Wilmington Public Library District
Congrats to these new partners! We are excited to have you on board.
Announced today at the Library Leaders Forum, librarians Kanta Kapoor (Manager, Support Services, Milton Public Library) and Lisa Radha Weaver (Director, Collections and Program Development, Hamilton Public Library) will each receive this year’s Internet Archive Hero Award for helping their communities stay connected to digital books during the pandemic. They will be presented their awards at next week’s Library Leaders Forum session—register now.
This year, we were looking for libraries and librarians who rose to the challenge—this was the year that libraries and librarians have been needed like never before. We wanted to acknowledge the hard work of people who went above and beyond to meet the needs of their communities.
Kanta and Lisa both exemplify the spirit of an Internet Archive Hero:
They helped both of their organizations become early adopters of Controlled Digital Lending in 2019. Of course no one knew it at the time, but that early move helped their patrons stay connected to resources throughout library closures of 2020 and 2021 by already having tens of thousands of digitized books available through each library’s participation in the Internet Archive’s Open Libraries program.
They were resources to their professional networks, acting as a point of reference for other librarians interested in learning more about Controlled Digital Lending.
They thought broadly about access to collections, considering not only, “What helps my local community?” but also, “What helps the global community?”
In addition to their shared achievements, they also brought their individual strengths to their work:
Kanta’s persistent, steady, and polite pushes—whether about donations logistics, joining Open Libraries, or offering suggestions to expand the program—are what it takes to make things happen. Kanta’s gracious and humble nature belie her steely resolve and approach to program advancement: Kanta just kept at it, politely, until she got the results that she thought was right for her library and her community.
Lisa has joined discussions about Controlled Digital Lending since 2019, participating in several panel presentations for librarians and even participating in discussions with US lawmakers and policy experts alongside ALA Annual in Washington, D.C. Lisa’s professionalism and thoughtfulness helped librarians new to the practice of Controlled Digital Lending understand how their library could benefit.
Join with us in celebrating Kanta and Lisa at next week’s Library Leaders Forum. Registration is free for the virtual event.
Library Leaders Forum October 20 @ 10am PT / 1pm ET – Register now
It is an unfortunate truth that libraries have long been called upon to censor or destroy knowledge—a topic we recently explored with Richard Ovenden, author of Burning the Books: A History of the Deliberate Destruction of Knowledge. Indeed, Richard Ovenden has argued that, by standing against such attempts, libraries perform an essential function in support of democracy, the rule of law, and an open society. In the circumstances, it should be no surprise that libraries and librarians tend to react with some alarm to legislative proposals to censor or destroy information—no matter how well intentioned they may be.
So it was with some alarm that Internet Archive Canada reviewed the Government of Canada’s latest proposals to address “online harms.” As EFF and others have noted, policymakers around the world are exploring a range of options—many of them “dangerously misguided”—to address harmful online expression. Canada’s proposal appears to be the latest in this line. As Professor Michael Geist has explained, the Government’s plans:
“include the creation of a bureaucratic super-structure featuring a new Digital Safety Commission, a digital tribunal to rule on content removal, and a social media regulation advisory board. . . . [and also] envisions a myriad of takedown requirements, content filtering, complaints mechanisms, and even website blocking”
Internet Archive Canada expressed some of its own concerns with the online harms proposal in a submission to the government last week. Our friends at Open Media, and many others, did the same. Like Open Media, we are hoping for the best, while standing ready to engage further should legislation on the issue emerge. We hope all concerned Canadians will do the same.
Yesterday, Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) and Representative Anna Eshoo (D-California) sent an inquiry to each of the “Big Five” book publishers to investigate their activities in the library e-book market. As the Senator and Congresswoman noted, rather than simply selling books to libraries, publishers insist on using “restrictive and expensive licensing agreements,” leaving libraries to face with “skyrocket[ing]” prices and temporary “leases,” “often at a much higher markup than what the average consumer pays for the same title.”
These practices have led to outcry by librarians and others around the world, including the #ebookSoS Campaign to Investigate the Academic eBook Market. Following careful reporting on the topic in The Nation, the Daily Beast, and the New Yorker, as well as campaigning by Library Futures and others, the Wyden-Eshoo inquiry seeks information on the restrictions the publishers place on their e-books, their outsize costs, and any legal actions they have taken to prevent libraries from engaging in traditional lending practices, among other things. The publishers have until October 7 to respond.
We are pleased that government officials are looking carefully at these issues. Libraries need to be able to buy books; publisher licensing models restrict libraries’ core functions of preservation and lending. That is why we have long sought to actually purchase e-books from publishers. But the big publishers, in a curiously coordinated fashion, have refused to do so—instead using the digital transition to impose onerous and expensive licenses on libraries, and to sue the Internet Archive for doing digitally what libraries have always done physically, preserve and lend books. This letter shows that some in Washington, if not in the publishing houses, still have the public interest in mind.
It is also the latest in a groundswell of support for Controlled Digital Lending. As the letter notes, “it is imperative that libraries can continue their traditional lending functions” in the digital age. Controlled Digital Lending allows libraries to do just that. The Boston Library Consortium, the International Federation of Library Associations, and even large commercial organizations like ProQuest are lining up behind Controlled Digital Lending.
To learn more about CDL, and the importance of digital ownership for the future of libraries, consider joining our virtual Library Leaders Forum this October.
Registration is now open for the Library Leaders Forum 2021, our annual gathering of experts from the library, copyright, and information policy fields. Following the success of last year’s virtual Forum, which brought together hundreds of attendees from all over the world, we will again host a series of online workshops, presentations, and discussion sessions over four weeks in October. Register now!
This year, we are focusing our discussions around the theme, “Digital Ownership & the Future of Library Collections.” As more content moves digital, and as publishers refuse to sell ebooks to libraries in favor of restrictive licensing models, librarians wonder, “What will our library collections look like?” We will explore this question and related issues throughout the Library Leaders Forum sessions and conference workshops, which include:
Library Leaders Forum
Session I: Community Dialogue October 13 @ 10am PT / 1pm ET – Register In our first 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. We’ll also be joined by copyright experts and publishers for a panel discussion on digital ownership.
Session II: Community Impact October 20 @ 10am PT / 1pm ET – Register In our second session, we’ll explore the impacts that digital collections have had for libraries during the pandemic. Hear firsthand from educators & librarians about the value of digitized library collections for the patrons, students, and communities they serve. We’ll also feature new developments at the Internet Archive, and how these advances help connect digital learners with books, articles, and other resources. We’ll finish the session by awarding the Internet Archive Hero Award 2021.
Controlled Digital Lending: Unlocking the Library’s Full Potential October 7 @ 10am PT / 1pm ET – Register Last month, Library Futures Foundation released a new policy document, “Controlled Digital Lending: Unlocking the Library’s Full Potential.” Library Futures Foundation developed this document in consultation with the Intellectual Property and Information Policy (iPIP) Clinic at Georgetown Law. The document covers all the benefits, innovations, and goals that are the basis of any controlled digital lending system and makes the crucial connection between CDL and issues of equity. It expands beyond the legal rationale laid out in the Controlled Digital Lending (CDL) White Paper by clarifying the core principles that are the foundations of a library’s mission to provide access to materials to serve the public good.
This session will provide an opportunity to hear from the authors of the policy document, to engage in a virtual discussion, and to give your feedback on how this document may be useful to your community.
Empowering Libraries Through Controlled Digital Lending October 12 @ 10am PT / 1pm ET – Register 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.
Resource Sharing with the Internet Archive October 27 @ 10am PT / 1pm ET – Register Learn about the Internet Archive’s new resource sharing initiatives and how your library can participate.