Category Archives: Announcements

Looking Back on 2020

2020 has been a year to remember—and as we approach the new year, we’re taking some time to reflect. In the spirit of giving, the Internet Archive has worked hard to give back to those who need our services most, and we’re incredibly grateful for those who have lent us a hand. Thanks to the support of our community, patrons, partners, and donors, we’ve been able to accomplish some significant achievements in the past twelve months. Here are a few highlights from a year nobody can forget.

Unprecedented Growth

In 2020 we grew from 40 million to 65 million public media items, including texts, images, videos, and audio files. Right now, we’re storing over 70 petabytes of data (equivalent to the contents of 186 million filing cabinets) and serve more than 1.5 million visitors daily. The Wayback Machine has grown rapidly, too; right now there are 475 billion web pages archived inside it, and we’re capturing another 750 million pages every single day! We made a number of improvements to our systems to handle this growth—this fall, we installed a fiber optic connection at our headquarters in San Francisco, allowing us to drastically expand our bandwidth in response to increased demand.

Some Literary Love

As a  library, we pay special attention to books, and this was a year to remember. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we launched the temporary National Emergency Library this spring. In the middle of a massive public health crisis, we provided digital access to essential books for students, teachers, library patrons, and quarantined citizens who were cut off from their libraries and schools. Educational professionals everywhere relied on us for access to digital materials, and the National Library of Aruba utilized our resources to provide study resources for thousands of students preparing to take high school graduation exams while their island was shut down.

New Collections

This year we also added to and expanded our collections with some fascinating new finds. In August, the Tytell Typewriter Company donated thousands of manuals, records, books, and even historic machines to be preserved for future generations. Marygrove College, a social-justice oriented liberal arts college that was forced to close this year, donated its entire library to be digitized and shared on the Internet Archive, reopening the stacks in October. And although support for Flash is ending in just a few weeks, this November we launched browser emulation for hundreds of games, animations, and other cultural artifacts—letting anyone take a trip back in time to the early 2000s.

Building a Better Web

In 2020, we also took steps to make the web a better, more reliable place. Through a partnership with Cloudflare, we made it possible in September for website creators to provide archived versions of their pages when the current site is down. A new integration in February allowed us to bring the Wayback Machine natively into the Brave web browser. And when alarms were raised about open access journals disappearing, we took steps to preserve crucial scientific knowledge for future use.

Paying It Forward

Finally, we had a record-breaking year when it came to philanthropy. Although the challenges we faced were greater than ever before, our donors stepped up in a big way. More than 73,000 people donated to the Internet Archive this year, making contributions big and small—from the thousands of patrons who gave a few dollars apiece, to a $250,000 gift from Fiona and Toby Lütke, founder of Shopify. We’ve been hard at work making sure that all donations are put to good use; when an anonymous donor this season asked that we invest a portion of his gift in our staff, we chose to pay it forward to promote diversity and equity. This year we also implemented new ways to donate, and came up with new ways our supporters can lend a hand without leaving the house. We’re so incredibly grateful for everybody who chose to help us out!


2020 has brought unprecedented challenges—but this year as in every year, the Internet Archive has been hard at work ensuring that trustworthy information is available to anybody who wants it. Thank you for supporting our preservation efforts.

Be safe, have a happy holiday season, and enjoy the archive!

On Preserving Memory

When we talk about the Internet Archive, it’s so easy to throw massive numbers around: 70 petabytes stored and counting, 1.5 million daily active users, 750 million webpages captured per day. What’s harder to quantify is the human element that underlies all those numbers.

As I reflect back on 2020, I can’t help but think about the importance of memory. It’s hard to believe that in the same year of the nightmarish Australian fires, we experienced a sheer medical miracle in the form of Coronavirus vaccines. How much has happened in such a short time? How many stories, tragedies, triumphs in just 11 months?

These memories — the personal stories, collections, family histories — are our threads to the past, and our roadmaps going forward. Both precious and fragile, it’s on us to keep them safe.

Here’s one memory I’ll always treasure. I come from a sports family—all sports, really, but baseball in particular. My dad grew up playing little league, eventually making his way to the Softball World Series in the 1950s. His friend Bob went on to play for the San Francisco Giants. I grew up hearing about the time my dad was invited down to the dugout to meet the Yankees: Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Yogi Berra. I’ve probably listened to these stories a thousand times. 

When my dad’s dementia started to get really bad, we’d retell these old stories to cheer him up. So much of his frustration had to do with the inability to create new memories. But these old ones were still vivid, very much intact—something we could all still share and remember together. 

Finding the Classic Baseball Radio Broadcasts on the Internet Archive was such a godsend. When he listened, his anxiety would dissipate: Sandy Koufax’s 3-hit shutout, or Game 7 of the 1960 World Series. The audio calmed him. I liked to think it shook loose a ton of old memories — hanging out with his own dad, listening to the radio broadcasts of the games. 

Sometimes if I want to feel close to him, I’ll throw on one of these classic games. The 1951 Giants v Dodgers NL Championship, the ‘shot heard ‘round the world.’ My dad would have been 11 years old, listening to that same broadcast. Or cheering on Willie Mays and Willie McCovey in the 1962 Yankees v Giants World Series. He would’ve been 22, with his friend pitching for the team that year. 

When talking about the Internet Archive, we often use the term ‘memory institution.’ On a macro level, we’re talking about over 70 petabytes of data stored in hard drives inside massive buildings. But personally? We’re talking about some of the last threads between me and my dad. On a macro level, we’re talking about millions of texts and images and videos and webpages—but on a personal level, we’re talking about genealogists striking gold as they uncover the past. We’re talking about grandparents reading digital books to their grandchildren over video calls. We’re talking about the nostalgia of tracing a loved one’s online footprints, about the legacy of a unique family business, about the thrill of rediscovering yesteryear’s pop culture phenomena.

The personal stories, family histories, and threads to the past—are precious. And fragile. That’s why it’s on us, all of us, to protect and keep them safe. That’s why I work at the Internet Archive, and why its mission is more critical than ever.

Right now, we’re in the middle of our yearly donations drive. The end of the year is a time both to look back and to give back, and the Internet Archive is hard at work on both. So if you’ve found something in the archive that’s meaningful to you, or that brought back memories, or that you think should be preserved, we’d love it if you could chip in.

We hope you have a healthy and safe holiday season—and that this year, you’ll make some memories that will never be lost.

Katie Barrett is the Development Manager at the Internet Archive. When she’s not listening to old baseball broadcasts or raising support for causes she loves, she’s phone banking for the sake of democracy or dressing her dog up in costumes.

Bob Schwartz Quartet to Debut Medley From Songs Published in 1925 at Thursday’s Public Domain Day Celebration

By day, he’s a D.C.-based intellectual property lawyer. By night, he’s the leader of a jazz quartet with numerous private event gigs and plum spots on the D.C. jazz club and brunch circuits. At least that was the story until COVID hit earlier this year and almost all the live sessions vanished. Since March, Bob Schwartz has been more focused on his legal career, and sessions with his band, the Bob Schwartz Quartet, have been few and far between. “It’s been hard going from 70 gigs a year to just a few outdoor events and rehearsals,” he says, adding, ”Of course it’s been far harder on those who rely on music for a living — please find and support their virtual concerts.”

The Bob Schwartz Quartet, with Bob at left.

This Thursday, however, the Bob Schwartz Quartet (BSQ) will be together again—albeit masked and socially distanced with open windows and space heaters—as they play a mini concert during our Public Domain Day celebration, a free, virtual event highlighting the works that will be moving into the public domain in 2021.

Starting at 2:45pm PST, a full 15 minutes before the remarks start, Bob and his bandmates will be welcoming guests to the party with a selection of tunes from the public domain—those works that have passed out of copyright and are free for creators to remix, reuse, and redistribute at will.

In addition to the mini concert at the start of the celebration, BSQ will also be debuting a medley of portions of ten of the many great songs that will enter the public domain in 2021.  “I knew that David Berger and Chuck Israels, the creators of the Music Library Association’s Public Domain Song Anthology, are nearing completion of a 1924-1925 supplement,” Bob recounts. “They sent me their progress sheets on dozens of these wonderful songs. We chose segments from ten to join together into a 6-minute medley.” 

To send our guests off with toes tapping, BSQ will play another selection of public domain songs to close out our show. BSQ’s planned setlist includes:

Entrance Music
Annie Laurie – Lady Alicia Scott ~1834 to fit a William Douglas (~1682 – 1748) poem.
My Melancholy Baby – Ernie Burnett / George A. Norton 1911 / 1912
Look For The Silver Lining – Jerome Kern / B.G. (Buddy) DeSylva 1919

Medley (Mashup) of Songs Published in 1925
If You Knew SusieJoseph Myer & Buddy DeSylva
I’m Sitting On Top of the WorldRay Henderson / Sam M. Lewis
AlwaysIrving Berlin
DinahHarry Akst / Sam M. Lewis & Joseph Young
Five Foot Two Ray Henderson / Sam M. Lewis & Joseph Young
Yes Sir, That’s My BabyWalter Donaldson / Gus Kahn
Clap Hands, Here Comes CharlieBilly Rose, Ballard MacDonald, Joseph Meyer
Bye Bye Blues – Fred Hamm, Dave Bennett, Bert Lown, Chauncey Gray
ManhattanRodgers & Hart
Sweet Georgia BrownBen Bernie & Maceo Pinkard / Kenneth Casey

Exit Music
Who’s Sorry Now? – Ted Snyder / Bert Kalmar & Harry Ruby 1923
All By MyselfIrving Berlin 1921
Ja-Da – Bob Carleton 1918 / Jerome Avenue – Bob Schwartz original largely on Jada chord progression. (A note from Bob: Chord progressions are PD—I actually based my tune on Sonny Rollins’ 1954 Doxy, now a jazz standard. A reason why these PD anthologies are so vital for music education.)

Reflecting on the music in the medley, Bob notes that unlike the Anthology, which took years to prefund and is distributed free of charge under the terms of the CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication license, there is no prefunding for the 1924-1925 Supplement. If you are interested in helping support its production, you can sign up for notifications about the project. Viewers might also be interested in learning more about Berger’s massive archival project on Duke Ellington’s music.

Tickets are still available for the Public Domain Day celebration, which is being cohosted by Creative Commons, the Center for the Study of the Public Domain, Internet Archive, SPARC, and Wikimedia Foundation. Registration for the virtual event is free and open to the public. The session will be recorded for those who cannot attend synchronously.

BSQ (Bob Schwartz Quartet) is:
Bob Schwartz (Constantine Cannon LLP) tenor sax & flutes
Ralph Cornwell (JHU Applied Physics Lab) vibraphone
Herb Nachmann (BAE Systems, Inc., ret.) acoustic bass
Alan Kirschenbaum (Hyman, Phelps & McNamara, P.C.) drums
Nina Schwartz (Impulse Graphics LLC) vocals
Learn more & connect with BSQ

January 1st brings public domain riches from 1925

On January 1st, 2021, many books, movies and other media from 1925 will enter the public domain in the United States. Some of them are quite famous — jump ahead to see lists of those well known books and movies that you can enjoy on the Internet Archive — or take the scenic route with me.

Book cover: Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

What does this all mean? Essentially, many items created in 1925 in the US that are still under copyright will become free and open for people to use in any way they see fit in the new year. But check out Duke Law’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain article for a more in-depth explanation.

We have a party every year to celebrate the new works entering the public domain, and this year is no exception. Join us on Thursday, Dec. 17th to toast these newly available additions.

Traveling from Home

As part of this yearly ritual, I explore our collections to unearth these newly freed items, and I invariably run across a few things that hit a nerve. This year, it started with this intertitle in “Isn’t Life Terrible?” Less than 20 seconds into this 1925 film, and suddenly I’m dumped back into 2020.

Silent film intertitle that reads, "Charley Chase as The poor young man with only two places to go -- Front yard and back yard"

Rude, right? I don’t even have a front yard to enjoy during shelter in place.

But the magic of media is that it can transport us to different places and times. Photo books like Picturesque Italy, Picturesque Mexico, and Picturesque Palestine, Arabia and Syria show us both how much and how little has changed in the past 95 years.

Screen shot thumbnail images from the book Picturesque Italy. The 12+ photos feature tourist sites in Venice, Italy like the Doges Palace, the Bridge of Sighs, and Piazza San Marco.

Gondolas still glide under the Bridge of Sighs, and the Tower of Pisa is still leaning, but the 1925 version of the Colosseum certainly lacks today’s fake gladiator photo ops.

Looking at the past with the eyes of today

Every toe dipped into the past has the potential to surprise or shock. The story of a pantry shelf, an outline history of grocery specialties is only mildly interesting on the surface. Essentially, it’s a sales pitch to food manufacturers encouraging them to advertise in a set of women’s magazines. The book contains short case histories of successful food brands like Maxwell House Coffee, Campbell Soup, Coca Cola, etc. (all of whom advertise with them, naturally).

The book gives you a glimpse of why people were so enthusiastic about mass produced, packaged foods. Unsanitary conditions, bugs in your sugar, milk going bad over night; things modern shoppers never think about.

It puts this glowing praise of Kraft Cheese into perspective: “…a pasteurized product, blended to obtain a uniformity of quality and flavor, a thing greatly lacking in ordinary types of cheese.” (page 149)

That’s pretty entertaining if you’re a cheese lover. I think most people would agree that Kraft cheese is no longer on the cutting edge.

But keep poking around and you find a much deeper cultural divergence. While The story of a pantry shelf is extolling the virtues of the home economics training available at Cornell, you stumble across this horrifying sentence (page 12).

Passage from "The Story of a Pantry Shelf" which reads, "Indeed, the Practice House, where students learn housekeeping in its every phase, even includes the complete care of a baby, adopted each year by Cornell for the benefit of these 'mothers' who, under the direction of trained Home Economics women, feed, bathe, dress and tend an infant from the tender age of two weeks throughout the session."

I was not expecting to read about orphaned babies being used as “learning aids” while flipping through stories about Jell-O. Intellectually, I know that attitudes towards children have changed over the years — the Fair Labor Standards Act, which set federal standards for child labor, wasn’t even passed until 1938. But this casual aside tossed in amongst the marketing hype still packs an emotional punch. It’s important to remember how far we have come.

Even writing that was forward-thinking for the time, like the booklet Homo-sexual life, is terribly backward according to today’s standards. It’s from the Little Blue Book series — we have many that were published in 1925, and the publisher was quite prolific for many years. The series provided working class people with inexpensive access to all kinds of topics including philosophy, sexuality, science, religion, law, and government. Post WWII, they published criticism of J. Edgar Hoover and the founder was subsequently targeted by the FBI for tax evasion. But in 1925, they were going strong and one of their prolific writers was Clarence Darrow.

Controversies of the Age

Darrow was writing about prohibition for the Little Blue Book series in 1925, but that is also the year he defended John T. Scopes for teaching evolution in his Tennessee classroom. The Scopes Trial generated a huge amount of publicity, pitting religion against science, and even giving rise to popular songs like these two 78rpm recordings from 1925.

The John T. Scopes Trial (The Old Religion’s Better After All) by Vernon Dalhart and Company

Monkey Biz-ness (Down in Tennessee) by International Novelty Orchestra with Billy Murray


Like the Scopes trial, prohibition had its passionate adherents and detractors. This was the “Roaring 20s” — the year The Great Gatsby was published — with speakeasies and flappers and iconic cocktails. And yet the pro-prohibition silent film Episodes in the Life of a Gin Bottle follows a bottle around as it lures people into a state of dissolution.

We even see an entire book about throwing parties that includes no alcoholic beverages at all.

The more things change, the more they stay the same

But as much as some things have changed, other aspects of our lives remain unchanged. People still want to tell you about their pets, rely on self help books, read stories to their kids, follow celebrities, tell each other jokes, and make silly videos.

And the most unchanging part of this particular season, of course — children still anticipate the arrival of Santa Claus with questions, wishes and schemes.

The silent film Santa Claus features two children who want to know where Saint Nick lives and how he spends his time. We follow him to the North Pole (Alaska in disguise) to see Santa’s workshop, snow castle, reindeer, and friends and neighbors. Jack Frost, introduced around 14:20, appears to be wearing the prototype for Ralphie’s bunny suit in “A Christmas Story” (but with a magic wand). Stick around for the sleigh crash at 20:45, and right around 22:20 Santa wipes out on the ice.

And just in case you’re still doing your holiday shopping, I feel like I should pass on a recommendation from this ad in a 1925 The Billboard magazine: Armadillo Baskets make beautiful Christmas gifts. And you can still buy vintage versions online – trust me, I looked. You’re welcome.

Advertisement with a picture of an armadillo and a basket made from an armadillo. Text reads, "Armadillo Baskets Make Beautiful Christmas Gifts. From these nine-banded horn-shelled little animals we make beautiful baskets. We are the original dealers in Armadillo Baskets. We take their shells, polish them, and then line with silk. They make ideal work baskets, etc. Let us tell you about these unique baskets. Write for Free Booklet. Apelt Armadillo Co., Comfort, Texas."

The Famous Stuff

And now on to the blockbusters of 1925…

Books First Published in 1925

Movies Released in 1925

Seeking Public Library Participants for Community History Web Archiving Program

Local history collections are necessary to understanding the life and culture of a community. As methods for sharing  information have shifted towards the web, there are many more avenues for community members to document diverse experiences.  Public libraries play a critical role in building community-oriented archives and these collections  are particularly important in recording the impact of unprecedented events on the lives of local citizens. 

Last week, we announced a major national expansion of our Community Webs program providing infrastructure, services, and training to public librarians to archive local history as documented on the web… We now invite public libraries in the United States and cultural heritage organizations in U.S. territories to apply to join the Community Webs program. Participants in the program receive free web archiving and technical services, education, professional development, and funding to build  community history web archives, especially collections documenting the lives of patrons and communities traditionally under-represented in the historical record.

If you are a public librarian interested in joining the Community Webs program please review the full call for applications and the program FAQs. Online applications are being accepted through Sunday, January 31, 2021

“Whether documenting the indie music scene of the 1990s, researching the history of local abolitionists and formerly enslaved peoples, or helping patrons research the early LGBT movement, I am frequently reminded of what was not saved or is not physically present in our collections. These gaps or silences often reflect subcultures in our community.” – Dylan Gaffney, Forbes Library, in Northampton, MA

The program is seeking public libraries to join a diverse network of 150+ organizations  that are:

  • Documenting local history by saving web-published sites, stories and community engagement on the web.
  • Growing their professional skills and increasing institutional technical capacity by engaging in a supportive network of peer organizations pursuing this work.
  • Building a public understanding of web archiving as a practice and its importance to preserving 21st century community history and underrepresented voices.

Current Community Webs cohort members have created nearly 300 publicly available local history web archive collections on topics ranging from COVID-19, to local arts and culture, to 2020 local and U.S. elections. Collecting the web-published materials of local organizations, movements and individuals is often the primary way to document their presence for future historians.

“During the summer of 2016, Baton Rouge witnessed the shooting of Alton Sterling, the mass shooting of Baton Rouge law enforcement, and the Great Flood of 2016. While watching these events unfold from our smartphones and computers, we at the East Baton Rouge Parish Library realized this information might be in jeopardy of never being acquired and preserved due to a shift in the way information is being created and disseminated.” – Emily Ward, East Baton Rouge Parish Library

Benefits of participation in Community Webs include:

  • A three-year subscription to the Archive-It web archiving service.
  • Funding to support travel to a full-day Community Webs National Symposium (projected for 2021 and in 2022) and other professional development opportunities. 
  • Extensive training and educational resources provided by professional staff.
  • Membership in an active and diverse community of public librarians across the country. 
  • Options to increase access (and discoverability) to program collections via hubs, such as DPLA.
  • Funding to support local outreach, public programming, and community collaborations. 

Please feel free to email us with any questions and be sure to apply by Sunday, January 31, 2021.

After Searching for a Decade, Legendary Hollywood Research Library Finds a New Home

Over more than 50 years, Lillian Michelson built one of Hollywood’s most famous libraries for film research.

[Press: Hollywood Reporter]

Need to know what an Igloo really looks like? How about a Siberian hut? Or the inside of a 15th Century jail?  For 50 years in Hollywood, generations of filmmakers would beat a path to the Michelson Cinema Research Library, where renowned film researcher Lillian Michelson could hunt down the answer to just about any question. She was the human card catalogue to a library of more than one million books, photos, periodicals and clippings. But ever since Lillian retired a decade ago, the Michelson Cinema Research Library has been languishing in cold storage, looking for a home. Today it has found one. Lillian Michelson, 92, announced that she is donating her library and life’s work to the Internet Archive. For its part, the nonprofit digital library vows to preserve her collection for the long-term and digitize as much of it as possible, making it accessible to the world.

“I feel as if a fantasy I never, never entertained has been handed to me by the universe, by fate,” mused the legendary film researcher.“The Internet Archive saved my library in the best way possible. I hope millions of people will use it [to research] space, architecture, costumes, towns, cities, administration, foreign countries… the crime business!  Westerns! That’s what is amazing to me, that it will be open to everybody.”

Internet Archive founder, Brewster Kahle, explained why his organization was willing to accept the entire Michelson collection and keep it intact: “A library is more than a collection of books. It is the center of a community. For decades, the Michelson Cinema Research Library informed Hollywood—and we want to see that continue. Many organizations wanted pieces of the collection, but I think the importance of keeping it together is so it can continue to help inspire global filmmakers to make accurate and compelling movies.”

Samuel Goldwyn Studios, circa 1938, where the Michelson Cinema Research Library was housed for many decades.

With $20,000 borrowed against her husband Harold’s life insurance policy, Lillian Michelson purchased the reference library in 1969. Over the next half-century, the Michelson Cinema Research Library had many homes. From the Samuel Goldwyn Studios it moved to the American Film Institute, then to Paramount Studios, and finally to Zoetrope Studios at the invitation of director, Francis Ford Coppola. Michelson later received an offer via Jeffrey Katzenberg to move the Michelson Cinema Research Library to the newly opened DreamWorks Pictures, where it remained until Lillian’s retirement due to health reasons 19 years later.

The Michelson Cinema Research Library includes some 5,000+ books dating back to the early 1800s; periodicals, 30,000+ photographs, and 3,000+ clipping files. In storage they filled some 1600 boxes on 45 pallets—enough to fill more than two 18-wheel tractor trailers. Its contents have now been moved for long-term preservation to the Internet Archive’s physical archive in Richmond, California.

In September 2020, Internet Archive Founder & Digital Librarian, Brewster Kahle, was on hand at the Internet Archive’s Physical Archive in Richmond, CA to accept the 1600 boxes of books, photos, clippings, and memorabilia from the Michelson Cinema Research Library. Michelson’s books were then shipped to one of the Internet Archive’s scanning centers to be digitized and ultimately made accessible to the public.

For six decades, Michelson’s research informed scores of Hollywood films, including The Right Stuff, Rosemary’s Baby, Scarface, Fiddler on the Roof, Full Metal Jacket, The Graduate and The Birds.

Harold & Lillian Michelson fueled the creativity of scores of directors, from Alfred Hitchcock to Mel Brooks, and their influence can be traced through countless Hollywood films.

Bringing this historic Hollywood design resource back to life—a largely digital life—can make it a global design resource for art directors, designers, filmmakers and researchers in search of information and visual inspiration. 

“Lillian Michelson opened my eyes to the importance of a research library to all aspects of motion picture production. At a time when the rich and deep research libraries created and maintained by the motion picture studios were being ‘given away’ or otherwise destroyed, Lillian was a beacon of light guiding us to consider them as treasure.”

Academy Award-winning director, Francis Ford Coppola
Harold & Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story” by director Daniel Raims chronicles the couple who became Hollywood’s “secret weapons,” empowering generations of filmmakers and designers to create their most iconic work.

The story of her long and creative union with renowned storyboard artist Harold Michelson was told in Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story, a 2015 documentary produced and directed by Daniel Raim and currently streaming on Netflix. (To honor this devoted Hollywood couple, the DreamWorks Pictures named the king and queen in Shrek 2 Harold and Lillian.)

Lillian Michelson will preside over a virtual ribbon cutting, panel discussion, and a screening of the documentary on Wednesday, January 27 from 4-6:30 PM Pacific time. There, she will unveil the first phase of her new digital library, available to the world via the Internet Archive’s digital platform, at https://archive.org/details/michelson. Sign up for the screening event here.

Library Digital Lending Empowers People Worldwide During COVID-19 Pandemic

As part of our #EmpoweringLibraries campaign, we’re asking our community what digital lending means to them. We’ve been flooded with stories of how free access to online books is empowering people and improving lives. Here are some highlights so far. 

Many of you wrote to tell us about how borrowing books through our Archive has been a lifeline during COVID-19. Tudor, a reader from Romania, said, “it’s been immensely helpful during the pandemic. My local library has been closed and I’ve been able to proceed with a translation project because I was able to find the books I needed on Internet Archive.” 

Alejandra, an educator from New Mexico, highlighted the importance of digital lending for the libraries community during the pandemic: “I usually train librarians and during the lockdown, this activity has increased. As we are unable to visit the libraries, I promote the use of the Internet Archive lending library to meet the information needs.” 

For people with disabilities or long-term health conditions, it can be difficult to access a local library even outside of a pandemic. Shari, a reader in Indiana, shared how controlled digital lending empowered her in difficult circumstances.

“When my physical disabilities became overwhelming… I finally had to stop working, and became primarily home bound. I could not travel far, or often, and the limited resources available didn’t make it worth my trouble. But, getting on the Internet at home, and traveling there to any destination I wished through the Internet Archive has provided me with information and images, including photographs, drawings, descriptions, floor plans, and historical information made my days just fly by. It has literally saved my sanity, as I went through a significant period of depression for at least a year.”

Many of you also shared how the Archive helps you gain a global perspective and access texts from diverse cultures. Sean, an author from Oregon, uses the Archive to find design ideas in old magazines, particularly from cultures he believes he wouldn’t otherwise have been exposed to. The Archive has given him “a wider understanding of graphic history, and my small place in the global historical context.” Several users also report using the Archive to learn more about their own cultural heritage. Teresa, a reader in Philadelphia, reported that the Archive “has been great helping me to trace and understand my African American ancestry.” 

Your stories show the power of controlled digital lending to unite global communities and connect us to our cultural heritage. They also highlight its necessity for people who struggle to access physical books, as well as those affected by emergency. 

However, a current lawsuit threatens the future of this empowering practice. The impact on the lives of people who rely on digital borrowing would be severe. Our #EmpoweringLibraries campaign aims to defend controlled digital lending and the people who need it most. 

You can support the campaign by sharing your story with us. How does being able to borrow digital books improve your everyday life? Let us know via this Google Form, or on Twitter using this template: As a [your role, eg. student, parent], I use @internetarchive to [eg. research papers/homeschool my kids]. Protect free access to digital books by joining the #EmpoweringLibraries campaign http://blog.archive.org/empoweringlibraries/

Leaders in the Open World, Intellectual Property, and Social Justice Join Our Public Domain Day Celebration

The public domain is an invaluable component of our culture, allowing for the remixing, reinterpretation, and redistribution of designated works without restriction. On December 17th, we’ll be celebrating the works published in 1925 that will be moving into the public domain when the clock strikes midnight on January 1, 2021. Our virtual celebration is free and open to the public.

As part of our celebration, we’re bringing together leaders in the open world, intellectual property, and social justice to discuss the value of the public domain for creative expression and open scholarship, and provide perspectives on the marginalized communities that have been left out of the copyright system in the United States.

ABOUT OUR SPEAKERS

KEVIN J. GREENE, SOUTHWESTERN LAW A graduate of the Yale Law School and a veteran of the United States Marines, Professor Kevin J. Greene is the John J. Schumacher Chair Professor at Southwestern Law in Los Angeles, California. Professor Greene’s scholarship in the areas of copyright, trademark and publicity rights has garnered national and international recognition in the intellectual property (“IP”) arena, particularly his pioneering work on African-American music and copyright law.

JENNIFER JENKINS, CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF THE PUBLIC DOMAIN Jennifer Jenkins is a Clinical Professor of Law at Duke Law School and Director of Duke’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain, where she writes its annual Public Domain Day website. She is the co-author (with James Boyle) of two comic books — Theft! A History of Music, a 2000-year history of musical borrowing and regulation, and Bound By Law?, a comic book about copyright, fair use and documentary film — as well as the open coursebook Intellectual Property: Cases and Materials (4th ed, 2018). Her articles include In Ambiguous Battle: The Promise (and Pathos) of Public Domain Day and Last Sale? Libraries’ Rights in the Digital Age. She is currently writing a book on “Music Copyright, Creativity, and Culture” (forthcoming from Oxford University Press).

HEATHER JOSEPH, SPARC Since her appointment as SPARC’s Executive Director in 2005, Heather has focused the organization’s efforts on supporting the open and equitable sharing of digital articles, data, and educational resources. Under her stewardship, SPARC has become widely recognized as the leading international force for effective open access policies and practices. Among her many achievements, she convened the Alliance for Taxpayer Access and the Open Access Working Group, which provided critical advocacy for the establishment of the landmark 2008 NIH Public Access Policy and the 2013 White House Memorandum on Public Access to Federally Funded Research.

BREWSTER KAHLE, INTERNET ARCHIVE A passionate advocate for public Internet access and a successful entrepreneur, Brewster Kahle has spent his career intent on a singular focus: providing Universal Access to All Knowledge. He is the founder and Digital Librarian of the Internet Archive, one of the largest libraries in the world. In 1989, Kahle created the Internet’s first publishing system called Wide Area Information Server (WAIS), later selling the company to AOL. In 1996, Kahle co-founded Alexa Internet, which helps catalog the Web, selling it to Amazon.com in 1999. The Internet Archive, which he founded in 1996, now preserves petabytes of data – the books, Web pages, music, television, and software that form our cultural heritage.

KATHERINE MAHER, WIKIMEDIA FOUNDATION Katherine Maher is the CEO of the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit organization that operates Wikipedia and the Wikimedia projects. She is a longtime advocate for free and open societies, and has lived and worked around the world leading the introduction of technology and innovation in human rights, good governance, and international development. Katherine has worked with UNICEF, the National Democratic Institute, the World Bank, and Access Now on programs supporting technologies for democratic participation, civic engagement, and open government. She is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Council on Human Rights and the Council on Foreign Relations, and a fellow at the Truman National Security Project. She is on the Board of the American University of Beirut, and the Digital Public Library of America.

LATEEF MTIMA, INSTITUTE FOR INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY & SOCIAL JUSTICE Lateef Mtima is the Founder and Director of IIPSJ; he is also a Professor of Law at the Howard University School of Law where he regularly teaches courses in intellectual property law and commercial law. Professor Mtima is a graduate of Amherst College and Harvard Law School. He has published numerous articles on copyright, publicity rights, and diversity in the legal profession, and is the editor of Intellectual Property, Social Justice, and Entrepreneurship: From Swords to Ploughshares (Edward Elgar 2015), and a co-author of Transnational Intellectual Property Law (West Academic Publishing 2015).

CATHERINE STIHLER OBE, CREATIVE COMMONS Catherine Stihler OBE is the CEO of Creative Commons. She has been an international champion for openness as a legislator and practitioner for over 20 years. After graduating from St Andrews University, she worked in the British House of Commons as a researcher before successfully standing for election as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for Scotland in 1999, representing the UK Labour Party. In 2019, Catherine was awarded the title of Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Her Majesty the Queen in recognition of her services to politics. Catherine joined Creative Commons in 2020.

Dweb Meetup: The Latest in the DWeb Ecosystem

Even amidst the COVID lock down, builders of the Decentralized Web have hit new milestones with their projects this year. At our last DWeb Meetup of 2020, we heard from a dozen projects about their breakthroughs, challenges, and roadmaps for the coming year.

As with all of our DWeb Meetups, these lightning talks provided an opportunity for us to learn from others and explore potential partnerships and collaboration. We had rounds of 5 minute talks with 2 minutes of Q&A in Zoom.

Here were the speakers (and the times when they appear in the video):

  1. Dietrich Ayala, Ecosystem Lead, IPFS (05:30)
  2. Yisi Liu, Founder, DWeb Shanghai (15:35)
  3. Karissa McKelvey, Researcher, Simply Secure (24:02)
  4. Mark Nadal, founder, Gun.eco (32:45)
  5. Adam Souzis, One Commons (41:47)
  6. Paul Frazee, founder, Beaker Browser (50:28)
  7. Maria Bustillos, Co-Founder, Brick House Co-operative (1:00:40)
  8. Mauve Signweaver, Agregore (1:10:12)
  9. Tom Trowbridge, Co-founder, Fluence Labs (1:17:42)
  10. Travis Vachon, ItMe.company (1:27:01)
  11. Brandon Wallace, Plan Systems.org (1:35:03)
  12. Michael Toomim, Braid (1:44:35)

Descriptions of Speakers and Their Lightning Talks

1. Dietrich Ayala, Ecosystem Lead, IPFS

Big is Small is Big: IPFS Usage, Users and Use-cases in 2020

As adoption and availability of IPFS grew in 2020, we saw it used across a broad spectrum of applications, varying widely in industry category, use-case, architecture and more. IPFS ecosystem lead Dietrich Ayala will speedrun through a sampling of these, sharing what was learned and how our users are guiding the IPFS project into 2021

Twitter: @dietrich

2. Yisi Liu, Founder, DWeb Meetup Shanghai

A Volunteer-based Mesh Network Workshop in China Academy of Art

DWeb Shanghai, along with the Institute of Network Society at China Academy of Art, co-hosted a special workshop this month on building mesh networks at its fifth annual conference. Yisi will share what they did and what they learned from the workshop and its participants.

Twitter: @TheYisiLiu

3. Karissa McKelvey, Researcher, Simply Secure

Decentralization Off The Shelf: Patterns x Decentralized Applications

It’s hard to get started building a decentralized application. Even if you’ve been building them for years, it’s hard to get them adopted. Decentralized applications operate differently than centralized ones — and we need new tools that developers and designers can use to understand how to build applications. Simply Secure is now producing a library of resources, assets, and patterns to support the design and development of better user-facing applications that are backed by decentralized architecture.

Twitter: @okdistribute

4. Mark Nadal, Founder, Gun.eco

Founded in 2014, GUN is an open source cybersecurity protocol for synchronizing graph data in decentralized mesh networks. It is as easy as Firebase yet supports end-to-end encryption and uses “CRDT” algorithms instead of a Blockchain.

In 2020, GUN hit 200M+ downloads with 30M monthly active users. The project is powered by 2 full time staff, 10 part-time volunteers, and 100+ contributors.

Twitter: @marknadal

5. Adam Souzis, One Commons

Building an Open Cloud at OneCommons

“At the DWeb Camp in 2019 I led a brainstorming session on how we can build a cloud providing the same openness and freedoms to users and developers as open source. One year and a pandemic later, I’m excited to finally release the first step in pursuit of that vision: “ensembles”, git repositories that package open cloud services.

They are designed to be the building blocks of an open and decentralized cloud infrastructure: reproducible, relocatable and shareable. Decentralization is obtained via a notion of a persistent identity that is defined not by a network location but rather a reproducible state.”

6. Paul Frazee, Founder, Breaker Browser

Beaker Browser 1.0: Share P2P Websites

“Unless there was a disaster between my talk-submission and Thursday, then Beaker Browser 1.0 is now available! Join us for a quick overview of building and sharing peer-to-peer Websites with this newest release.”

Twitter: @pfrazee

7. Maria Bustillos, Co-Founder, Brick House Co-operative

Decorporatizing the Public Sphere

Megaplatforms from Amazon to Facebook to Penguin Random House have flattened and centralized the human imagination. Netizens know that something is draining out of our world, that there’s less variety, less brilliance, and fewer surprises, in our movies, music, and writing. But it’s not clear to most that this cultural deterioration is the result of a breakneck form of capitalism enabled by technology.

The Brick House Cooperative, launching December 8th, is addressing this problem as writers and artists, ‘from the other side’. They’re looking to join forces with technologists and others interested in decorporatizing media. Maria will also share how her previous experience with Civil, a blockchain-based media platform that aimed to fund journalism, will inform her work with The Brick House.

Twitter: @mariabustillos

8. Mauve Signweaver, Founder, Agregore

Agregore: Local-First Web Of Everything

Agregore is a local-first web browser which aims to simplify application development across different peer-to-peer protocols while staying as minimal and customizable as possible. Through Agregore, Mauve is trying to address the issue of web browsers not having access to full peer-to-peer protocols. They want to make creating local-first apps easier by simplifying the programming interface and app distribution method.

Twitter: @RangerMauve

9. Tom Trowbridge, Founder, Fluence Labs

Fluence Labs was established in 2017 by 3 founders, Dmitry Kurinskiy, Tom Trowbridge and Evgeny Ponomarev. They started in 2017 and spent a lot of time researching and experimenting with decentralized computing. Just recently, in November 2020 they launched Phase 1 of Fluence: the decentralized computing protocol that allows applications to build on each other, share data and users. They call it an open application platform.

The goal of Fluence is to enable the next wave of internet innovation by turning the competition into collaboration. Fluence creates an open alternative to proprietary platforms, enabling developers to build with confidence and be fairly compensated for usage.

Twitter: @Fluence_Project

10. Travis Vachon, itme

Self Determination for our Digital Bodies with Solid

Centralized tech monopolies and other large corporations capture the vast majority of the value of the world’s data in 2020. In order to create the conditions necessary to return this value to the world’s users, we need new politico-technical-social institutions that give users the ability to provide and retract informed consent over the ways their data is used. itme is building the world’s first cooperatively owned and operated data union built on Tim Berners-Lee’s new Solid web standard to let users reassemble their digital bodies and capture the value of the data they create.

Twitter: @itmepress

11. Brandon Wallace, President, PLAN Systems

PLAN Systems is a technology 501(c)(3) founded in 2018 by two U.S. veterans in Austin TX., including Drew O’Meara, inventor of G-Force realtime audio reactive music visualizations. Their development effort centers on building a framework of open protocols and universally accessible interfaces designed for privacy, real time collaboration, data visualization, and secure data storage & portability. November was a critical milestone, demonstrating PLAN (pre-alpha) running on 4 major platforms across desktop and mobile devices.

Github: https://github.com/plan-systems

Email them at info [at] plan-systems.org to learn more and get involved.

12. Michael Toomim, Braid

How Braid is growing, from Dweb to the IETF

“At 2019’s Dwebcamp, a group of us found a back room and spontaneously designed a shared protocol for distributed synchronization. Tim Berners-Lee walked by, and thought it would be a great addition to the web.

We will report on what’s happened since!

We presented the protocol to the IETF’s HTTP Working Group in Montreal, and received a surprisingly enthusiastic reception. We are now building software on the protocol, to show how HTTP can be extended into a distributed shared fabric for local-first applications, users, and systems, with great debugging and tooling.”

Community Webs Program Receives $1,130,000 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Award for a National Network of Public Libraries Building Local History Web Archives

More than ever, the lives of communities are documented online. The web remains a vital resource for traditionally under-represented groups to write and share about their lives and experiences. Preserving this web-published material, in turn, allows libraries to build more expansive, inclusive, and community-oriented archival collections.

In 2017, the Internet Archive’s Archive-It service launched the program, “Community Webs: Empowering Public Libraries to Create Community History Web Archives.” The program provides training, professional development, cohort building, and technical services for public librarians to curate community archives of websites, social media, and online material documenting the experiences of their patrons, especially those often underrepresented in traditional physical archives. Since its launch, the program has grown to include 40 public libraries in 21 states that have built almost 300 collections documenting local civic life, especially of marginalized groups, creating an archive totaling over 50 terabytes and tens of millions of individual digital documents, images, audio-video, and more. The program received additional funding in 2019 to continue its work and focus on strategic planning, partnering with the Educopia Institute to ensure the growth and sustainability of the program and the cohort.

We are excited to announce that Community Webs has received $1,130,000 in funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for “Community Webs: A National Network of Public Library Web Archives Documenting Local History & Underrepresented Groups,” an nationwide expansion of the program to include a minimum of 2 public libraries in each of the 50 United States, plus additional local history organizations in U.S territories, for a total of 150-200 participating public libraries and heritage organizations. Participants will receive web archiving and access services, training and education, and funds to promote and pursue their community archiving. The Community Webs National Network will also make the resulting public library local history community web archives available to scholars through specialized access tools and datasets, partner with affiliated national discovery and digital collections platforms such as DPLA, and build partnerships and collaborations with state and regional groups advancing local history digital preservation efforts. We thank The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for their generous support to grow this program nationwide and empower hundreds of public librarians to build archives that elevate the voices, lives, and events of their underrepresented communities and ensure this material is permanently available to patrons, students, scholars, and citizens.

Over the course of the Community Webs program, participating public libraries have created diverse collections on a wide range of topics, often in collaboration with members of their local communities. Examples include:

  • Community Webs members have created collections related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture’s “Novel Coronavirus COVID-19” collection which focuses on “the African diasporan experiences of COVID-19 including racial disparities in health outcomes and access, the impact on Black-owned businesses, and cultural production.” Athens Regional Library System created a collection of “Athens, Georgia Area COVID-19 Response” which focuses on the social, economic and health impacts of COVID-19 on the local community, with specific attention on community efforts to support frontline workers. A recent American Libraries article featured the COVID archiving work of public libraries.
  • Columbus Metropolitan Library’s archive of “Immigrant Experience”, a collection of websites on the activities, needs, and culture of immigrant communities in Central Ohio.
  • Sonoma County Public Library’s “North Bay Fires, 2017” collection documenting when “devastating firestorms swept through Sonoma, Napa, and Mendocino Counties” and part of their “Sonoma Responds: Community Memory Archive.”
  • Birmingham Public Library’s “LGBTQ in Alabama” collection “documenting the history and experiences of the LGBTQ community in Alabama.”
Community Webs public librarians at IA HQ

We look forward to expanding the Community Webs program nationwide in order to enable hundreds of public libraries to continue to build web collections documenting their communities, especially in these historic times.

We expect to put out a Call for Applications in early December for public libraries to join Community Webs. Please pass along this opportunity to your local public library. For more information on the program, check out our website or email us with questions.