Category Archives: Books Archive

Meet the Librarians: Lisa Seaberg, Patron Services & Open Library

To celebrate National Library Week 2022, we are taking readers behind the scenes to Meet the Librarians who work at the Internet Archive and in associated programs.


Like any good librarian, Lisa Seaberg of the Internet Archive’s patron services team is prepared to answer the question: Can you recommend a book? In fact, Seaberg has 1,729 suggestions. She has organized what she wants to read in a publicly available list on Open Library.

Lisa Seaberg

“I’ve had a lifelong interest in reading and books,” said Seaberg, who worked as an assistant in her high school library in Milford, Connecticut. It was there that a mentoring librarian helped shape her taste in reading and introduced her to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. 

Seaberg went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in library science from Southern Connecticut State University in 1996. She learned about the book publishing industry, practical skills of cataloguing, Boolean searching, and managing databases. She later earned a master’s degree in digital media from Quinnipiac University in Connecticut.

In 2017, Seaberg began to volunteer with Open Library and was hired to join the Internet Archive staff in 2020 to work for patron services. Based in Amsterdam, she responds to email requests to connect users with resources and helps coordinate a team of more than 200 volunteers to fix metadata issues. Seaberg works to maintain the digital collection, identify duplicates, and make sure the record represents the available books. She also fulfills interlibrary loan requests, as part of the Internet Archive’s new ILL service.

“It’s rewarding to make something discoverable.”

Lisa Seaberg, Patron Services & Open Library

Prior joining the Internet Archive, Seaberg worked at Gateway Computers in the late 90s where she gained useful technology experience. She later worked in communications for a hospital, managing its website. Those positions provided her with a sense of information architecture, she said, that she has applied to her work at the Internet Archive.

Lisa Seaberg

Seaberg said she is fascinated by everything that the Internet Archive provides to the public. In her job, she enjoys working with the book metadata. “It’s rewarding to make something discoverable,” she said. If people have an author they like, Seaberg tries to make sure there are subject headings and tags to make it easier for them to find related materials of interest. 

Recently, Seaberg said, it’s been meaningful to be involved in efforts to provide access to books being challenged by local school districts because of controversial content. She’s helped assemble digital collections of titles being targeted to ensure continuous access should an entity decide to ban them. 

When Seaberg is not working, she loves to play board games—gravitating to hobbyist, European games such as the Gaia Project, the complex, economy-building game that takes place in space. Her other main hobby is book hunting at charity shops and openbare boekenkastjes (free libraries) in and around her home in Amsterdam. Since Seaberg has limited shelf space, she sticks to her rule of only buying books that are on her Open Library Want To Read list.  

Among her favorite projects when it comes to the Internet Archive collection: Organizing the profiles of individual authors to make sure their works are all consolidated and easy to find for patrons. 

New additions to the Internet Archive for March 2022

Many items are added to the Internet Archive’s collections every month, by us and by our patrons. Here’s a round up of some of the new media you might want to check out. Logging in might be required to borrow certain items. 

Notable new collections from our patrons: 

Books – 60,379 New items in March

This month we’ve added books on varied subjects in more than 20 languages. Click through to explore, but here are a few interesting items to start with:

Audio Archive – 93,954 New Items in March

The audio archive contains recordings ranging from alternative news programming, to Grateful Dead concerts, to Old Time Radio shows, to book and poetry readings, to original music uploaded by our users. Explore.

LibriVox Audiobooks – 122 New Items in March

Founded in 2005, Librivox is a community of volunteers from all over the world who record audiobooks of public domain texts in many different languages. Explore.

78 RPMs and Cylinder Recordings – 7,423 New Items in March

Listen to this collection of 78rpm records, cylinder recordings, and other recordings from the early 20th century. Explore.

Live Music Archive – 1,098 New Items in March

The Live Music Archive is a community committed to providing the highest quality live concerts in a lossless, downloadable format, along with the convenience of on-demand streaming (all with artist permission). Explore.

Netlabels186 New Items in March

This collection hosts complete, freely downloadable/streamable, often Creative Commons-licensed catalogs of ‘virtual record labels’. These ‘netlabels’ are non-profit, community-built entities dedicated to providing high quality, non-commercial, freely distributable MP3/OGG-format music for online download in a multitude of genres. Explore.

Movies – 25 New Items in March

Watch feature films, classic shorts, documentaries, propaganda, movie trailers, and more! Explore.

Meet the Librarians: Jessamyn West, Accessibility

To celebrate National Library Week 2022, we are taking readers behind the scenes to Meet the Librarians who work at the Internet Archive and in associated programs.


In her work, Jessamyn West is driven by a desire to help people and remove barriers to access.

“When I went to library school, I realized a lot of the things that were important to me lined up with library values,” West said. “Anti-censorship, intellectual freedom, and serving all the people — not just the people who can afford it, not just the people who can make it up two flights of stairs, not just people who can read small print. All the people.”

Jessamyn West

West is living out her values, processing requests from individuals to participate in the Internet Archive’s program for users with print disabilities. She receives emails from people around the world with blindness, low-vision, dyslexia, brain injuries and other cognition problems who need accessible content. In her role, West has helped qualify thousands of patrons to receive materials in alternative digital formats. 

Her qualifying work for the Internet Archive is among a variety of activities that keeps West busy with the Vermont Mutual Aid Society. West works part-time at the Kimball Library in Randolph, Vermont, where she helps adults in her community learn to use technology. She also does public speaking on the digital divide and other technology access issues, as well as writes a monthly column for Computers in Libraries Magazine.

“All I want to do is to get as much knowledge, to the most people, in as easy a way as possible.”

Jessamyn West, Vermont Mutual Aid Society

West grew up in Boxborough, Massachusetts, where she learned about computers from her dad and her mother introduced her to the importance of civic engagement and volunteerism. At Hampshire College, she earned a bachelor’s degree in linguistics and then moved to Seattle.

In 1994, West enrolled in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS) at the University of Washington. The shift to online information and the emergence of the web was presenting an opportunity and a challenge for libraries, which West said was exciting to be a part of at the time.

Jessamyn West

Her first job after graduation in 1996 was with AmeriCorps at the Seattle Public Library helping adults learn to use computers. She later pivoted working for an internet service provider before moving back East. In Vermont, she continued working with libraries and set up her own tech consultancy. West has worked as a tech liaison for Open Library and has been a qualifying authority for the Internet Archive since 2018

“All I want to do is to get as much knowledge, to the most people, in as easy a way as possible,” West said. “I think it’s important that we have all kinds of libraries. I wouldn’t want a world that was only digital libraries and I certainly wouldn’t want a world that was only physical libraries. It’s really nice that many people, depending where you are, can have access to either or both in the way that makes the most sense for them.”

West maintains a professional website (jessamyn.info), a personal website (jessamyn.com) and blogs at librarian.net. When she’s not working, she enjoys editing articles about  librarians and library topics on Wikipedia, playing pub trivia, creating moss terrariums, and writing postcards.

Among West’s favorite items at the Internet Archive: The Middlebury College collection of Vermont Life Magazine and The Great 78 Project.

Meet the Librarians of the Internet Archive

In celebration of National Library Week, we’d like to introduce you to some of the professional librarians who work at the Internet Archive and in projects closely associated with our programs. Over the next two weeks, you’ll hear from librarians and other information professionals who are using their education and training in library science and related fields to support the Internet Archive’s patrons.

What draws librarians to work at the Internet Archive? From patron services to collection management to web archiving, the answers are as varied as the departments in which these professionals work. But a common theme emerges from the profiles—that of professionals wanting to use their skills and knowledge in support of the Internet Archive’s mission: “Universal Access to All Knowledge.”

We hope that over these next two weeks you’ll learn something about the librarians working behind the scenes at the Internet Archive, and you’ll come to appreciate the training and dedication that influence their daily work. We’re pleased to help you “Meet the Librarians” during this National Library Week and beyond:

What’s New in February 2022

Here are some of the notable new additions to the Internet Archive from February 2022. (Logging in might be required to borrow certain items.)

Notable new collections: 

We’ve been reorganizing some of the items uploaded by our users, and these collections of magazines struck us as particularly interesting:

Books 45,073

This month we’ve added books in more than 20 languages. Here are a few good ones to start with:

Audio Archive 73,305

The audio archive contains recordings ranging from alternative news programming, to Grateful Dead concerts, to Old Time Radio shows, to book and poetry readings, to original music uploaded by our users.

The LibriVox Free Audiobook Collection 118

Founded in 2005, Librivox is a community of volunteers from all over the world who record audio versions of public domain texts: poetry, short stories, whole books, even dramatic works, in many different languages.

78 RPMs and Cylinder Recordings 8,840

Listen to this collection of 78rpm records, cylinder recordings, and other recordings from the early 20th century.

Live Music Archive 892

The Live Music Archive is a community committed to providing the highest quality live concerts in a lossless, downloadable format, along with the convenience of on-demand streaming.

Netlabels 263

The Netlabels collection hosts complete, freely downloadable/streamable, often Creative Commons-licensed catalogs of virtual record labels.

Internet Arcade 5

The Internet Arcade is a web-based library of arcade (coin-operated) video games from the 1970s through to the 1990s, emulated in JSMAME, part of the JSMESS software package. Containing hundreds of games ranging through many different genres and styles, the Arcade provides research, comparison, and entertainment in the realm of the Video Game Arcade.

Independent Publisher Drives Innovation, Sells eBooks to Internet Archive

Publisher of 11:11 Press says it sells—rather than licenses—books to libraries for online lending to reach a broad audience.

The goal of 11:11 Press is to have its books in every library in the world, according to its founder and publisher, Andrew Wilt.

Andrew Wilt, 11:11 Press

“We are big supporters of libraries because they allow equal access to knowledge and preserve culture,” said Wilt, whose independent press based in Minneapolis sells its books at a discount to nonprofits. “From a publishing standpoint, our authors care about being read so we want to get our books to as many people as possible.”

The Internet Archive recently bought the entire catalog of books from 11:11 Press and made them available online for controlled digital lending to one person at a time.  

“Honestly, I don’t know why anyone would not want to have their books in a library, especially the Internet Archive, which is more relevant now than it has been any other time,” Wilt said. “It used to be the library of the future. But in our era of remote learning and people working from home, the Internet Archive is the library of the present. You don’t have to go into an actual physical building. It’s available for anyone with an internet connection. It’s probably the most relevant lending institution at the moment.”

“[Internet Archive] used to be the library of the future. But in our era of remote learning and people working from home, the Internet Archive is the library of the present.”

Andrew Wilt, editor, 11:11 Press

In business for four years, 11:11 Press publishes an eclectic mix of titles that Wilt describes as “disruptive literature.” Its authors push the boundaries. Some books have a very heavy, theoretical and academic focus while others are about everyday working people. There are books of poetry, short stories, novels, and hybrid work. The aim is to give exposure to underrepresented voices and offer an alternative from what is produced by mainstream publishers.

“We’re kind of this lighthouse trying to find those people who are actively looking for something that’s new and exciting,” said Wilt.

From the 11:11 Press Catalog

In one of the 11:11 Press “theory fiction” titles, Zer000 Excess, images are “glitching out” within the text, leading the reader to consider what meaning is being created. Jake Reber wrote the book using Microsoft PowerPoint 2007 – the only version of the software with identifiable software features known to produce these “glitches.” Authors like Reber intentionally use these embedded software tools incorrectly in order to get distortion. “Like the early punk bands who put fuzz in their music, we’re trying to add that distortion in the work,” said Wilt.

Human Tetris merges digital dating in an all-too-honest newspaper style of queer dating profiles. It was written as a collaboration between two different voices building a lattice of interlocking online identities by Vi Khi Nao and Ali Raz.

The publisher features “dangerous writing,” which uses fiction as the buffer to draw on personal experience. For authors in this genre, fiction is the lie that tells the truth. “We want to encourage writers to go to those uncharted territories of the self. What you find might be hard to look at, but if you pull back the layers, there’s something unique and beautiful there.” Wilt said.

Jinnwoo (Ben Webb) is a writer, musician, visual artist, and author of the book Little Hollywood published by 11:11 Press. It consists of B-grade movie scripts with paper doll cut outs. The idea is to engage the reader by having them cut out the dolls and use the scripts. “Going to those dark places with honesty encourages the reader to be more mindful, more present, which  leads to more empathy,” Wilt said.

Did you know? Thanks to the innovative partnership between the Internet Archive and Better World Books—our favorite online bookstore—patrons who browse to the 11:11 Press books at archive.org have a direct link to purchase new copies of the books in print via Better World Books.

“Small presses drive innovation.”

In its next catalog, 11:11 Press will be coming out with a 520-page Illustrated Old Testament and corresponding painting. This 9-by-12-inch book, which will sell for $150, is too religious for some and too secular for others, making it a perfect product for a small press, Wilt said. Another upcoming book will be a compilation of short stories by the late Peter Christopher who helped start the dangerous writing movement.

As a small press, Wilt said the focus isn’t to write with marketing in mind but rather for authors to write the stories only they can tell. The hope is for 11:11 Press to create something greater to help benefit society and get people to think in a different way. “Reading authors who courageously face their lives, their past, their future, encourages us, the readers, to do the same,” he said.

Wilt said he anticipates other independent publishers will follow suit in selling their works to the Internet Archive. “Small presses drive innovation. This is where experimentation occurs,” he said. “Our top priority is sharing knowledge.”

New additions to the Internet Archive for January 2022

Many items are added to the Internet Archive’s collections every month, by us and by our patrons. Here’s a round up of some of the new media you might want to check out. Logging in might be required to  borrow certain items. 

Notable new collections: 

Books 40,695

This month we’ve added books on varied subjects in more than 20 languages. Click through to explore, but here are a few interesting items to start with:

Audio Archive 79,099

The audio archive contains recordings ranging from alternative news programming, to Grateful Dead concerts, to Old Time Radio shows, to book and poetry readings, to original music uploaded by our users.

The LibriVox Free Audiobook Collection 98

Founded in 2005, Librivox is a community of volunteers from all over the world who record audiobooks of public domain texts in many different languages.

 

78 RPMs and Cylinder Recordings 6,849

The Great 78 Project! Listen to this collection of 78rpm records, cylinder recordings, and other recordings from the early 20th century.

Live Music Archive 799

The Live Music Archive is a community committed to providing the highest quality live concerts in a lossless, downloadable format, along with the convenience of on-demand streaming (all with artist permission).

Netlabels 486

This collection hosts complete, freely downloadable/streamable, often Creative Commons-licensed catalogs of ‘virtual record labels’. These ‘netlabels’ are non-profit, community-built entities dedicated to providing high quality, non-commercial, freely distributable MP3/OGG-format music for online download in a multitude of genres.

Scanning periodicals for patrons with print disabilities

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The Internet Archive has increased periodical digitization of purchased and donated print and microfilm resources to enhance our services for our patrons with print disabilities. Those patrons can receive priority access to the collections, bypassing waitlists and borrowing materials for longer circulation periods. These periodicals will also be made available to the EMMA and ACE projects to support student success. Some of these materials are also available to researchers via interlibrary loan, digital humanities research, and other ways. 

The Internet Archive has a longstanding program serving patrons with print disabilities. The modern library materials that we digitize are first made available to qualified patrons, including affiliated users from the National Library Service, Bookshare, and ACE Portal. For more than ten years, thousands of patrons have signed up through our qualifying program to receive special access to the digital books available in our collection. 

Organizations can sign up for free to be a Qualifying Authority to be able to authorize patrons, and individual patrons can sign up.

Our patrons share inspiring stories with us about the impacts of the service. Pastor Doug Wilson said it’s been a “profound gift” to discover books in our digital theology collections. The breadth of materials is also compelling. “You never know what you will come across. You can search for something specific, but also just wander the virtual shelves,” said musician and graduate student Matthew Shifrin. In addition to serving our own patrons, we partner with the EMMA and ACE projects, which support students with print disabilities at schools across the US and Canada.

We have resources online to help you learn more about the Internet Archive’s program for patrons with print disabilities, including how to qualify. Please contact our Patron Services team with additional inquiries.

Thank you to the Mellon Foundation, the Institute of Museum & Library Services, the Arcadia Fund, the Kahle/Austin Foundation, and donors for their support of these services.

International patrons speak out: “Access to knowledge shouldn’t be for the rich and privileged.”

Last fall, we invited our patrons to share how you use the Internet Archive. The response was overwhelming, and gave us exactly the kinds of testimonials and messages of support we were hoping to gather.

As we worked through the responses, we were struck by the number of patrons from all over the world who use our collection. Here now, we’d like to share some of the powerful stories we received from our international users.

If you haven’t already done so, please share your story.

Editorial note: Statements have been edited for clarity.


Lisa M., Educator, England – “Internet Archive helped me help a student! I have students in one class that attend from around the globe. One student was unable to find the required texts and our university did not have digital copies that could be lent. If she were to order the book – not carried in any local stores – it could take up to 3 months for them to arrive, long after the course was over!”

Claudia G., Researcher, Romania – “Even before the pandemic, depending on the topic of my essay and thesis, it was difficult to find books on certain topics in local libraries or bookstores…Access to knowledge shouldn’t be for the rich and privileged.”

Ana S., Communications assistant, Brazil – “I borrowed a book about Stephen Sondheim. Sondheim’s story and body of work is definitely an inspiration for me as someone always trying to learn ways to exercise my creativity. I just wanted to browse one section, and it was really amazing. I’m really thankful you had it available, for anyone in the world, and the borrowing process was really easy to follow through.”

Mike D., Librarian, New Zealand – “I’m a Digital Librarian in a public library in the small town of Hokitika, New Zealand, whose job is making local history more accessible to the community – many of the New Zealand history works in our public library collection are rare or reference-only. It turns out many works of New Zealand history have been digitised by the Internet Archive from US collections”

Callum H., Yard operative, Scotland – “As a non-academic with interests in literature, history, and philosophy, the IA gives me access to books I can’t otherwise afford or access.”

Yuri L., Educator, Brazil – “I spent months of 2020 bed-ridden, and was able to view items from your digitized collection. I would not have been able to go to any physical place for my books, and the titles I was looking for were sometimes available only on the Internet Archive. There are no other means for me, in my part of South America, to have access to limited-circulation ancient newspapers of other continents without digitizing and digital libraries. Without the Internet Archive and other libraries like it, I would have no alternatives.”

Simay K., Researcher, Turkey – “Living in a developing country with so many political and economic turmoils, I believe that the Internet Archive provides a huge service and a unique platform for dissolving the injustice and inequality of [access] to knowledge between disadvantaged countries and classes.”

Lydia S., Student, Canada – “I’ve used materials from the Internet Archive many times throughout my time as an undergrad studying history…There are many primary and secondary sources on the IA that I was unable to find anywhere else online or in physical copies through my university’s library. Many of the books I’ve accessed through the IA have been out of print for many years, so it’s incredibly helpful to have [access] to titles that would otherwise be nearly impossible to track down.“

Kim C., Librarian, Canada – “I use the materials on the Internet Archive often on a personal and a professional level. I have been able to help patrons access books that we have not been able to procure for them in other ways, for reference material for every school level from primary to masters degree research. I have used the collection on many occasions to access local history or genealogical material unavailable elsewhere.”

Richard G., Poet, Canada – Richard used books within the Internet Archive’s library, “to reference other author’s prose and poetry for quotations and references.”

Chloe J., Student, Canada – “It has given me access to material that I would not otherwise have access to.”

Shehroze A., Educator, Pakistan – “I am surprised that books pertaining to learning the Urdu language are available on archive.org, and those which were used for preparation in the civil services. These books are just not available in the country anymore and are immeasurably useful as far as the history of the colonized area is concerned. These are not published anymore, and finding a copy is exceedingly rare. This is why archive.org is important and we should endorse and support it.”

Stephen C., Graduate student, Canada – “The Internet Archive has been an invaluable resource for a research project I am involved in. We have been able to access numerous historical travel narratives that are essential for our project. We have been able to view books that we could not access in archives due to travel restrictions and lending policies during the pandemic.”

Simon H., Printing press operator, Switzerland – “I often find interest in old and niche books, sometimes from parts of the world far away from me. In those cases, I have two options for accessing such a book:
1.   I order a physical copy of the work and let it ship to my home. That is incredibly expensive, harmful to the environment and occasionally damaging to an old and fragile book, conserved for such a long time with care and passion.
2.   I’m lucky enough to find a digital reproduction of a work, which can be accessed for free and “shipped” eco-friendly through wires and antennas.
The difference between those two possibilities is so pronounced, that the latter almost seems like an utopian fairy tale. But it is not! It is 21st century’s technology at work.”

Welcoming Recorded Music to the Public Domain

Every January we feature works that are entering the public domain. And this year the big story is in recorded music.

Recorded Music from 1922 and earlier

Approximately 400,000 sound recordings made before 1923 will join the public domain in the U.S. for the first time due to the Music Modernization Act (read more at copyright.gov). You can peruse about 38,000 of them in our collection of digitized 78rpm records.

By 1922 we were solidly in the Jazz Age – F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tales of the Jazz Age was published in 1922, and the term was already in popular usage. Jazz migrated from Black American communities in New Orleans into the rest of the United States, having evolved from its roots in rag time, blues and Creole music.  In fact, 1922 was the year Louis Armstrong left New Orleans to join King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band in Chicago.

Alexander’s Ragtime Band (1911) written by Irving Berlin and performed by Collins and Harlan

Peruse the collection to hear early jazz classics like Don’t Care Blues by Mamie Smith and her Jazz Hounds, Ory’s Creole Trombone by Kid Ory’s Sunshine Orchestra, and Jazzin’ Babies Blues by Ethel Waters.

Early recordings by Bert Williams (the first Black American on Broadway and the first Black man to star in a film), Fanny Brice (the real-life ‘Funny Girl’), Enrico Caruso (the legendary Italian operatic tenor), and so many others give life and flavor to our imaginings of the early 20th century.

Here are some of the top songs from 1922, to give you a taste:

But personally when I “flip through” these records I’m always drawn to the novelty songs

There’s a whole genre of sound imitations, like Violin Mimicry where a violin is used to imitate people talking, Jingles from the Marsh Birds with a man imitating birds imitating popular songs (just as confusing as it sounds), and A Cat-astrophe with people imitating rather catastrophic cats to music.

You can also skip the jokes and go straight to laughing just for the sake of it with these gems:  Laughs You Have Met, Gennett Laughing Record, and The Okeh Laughing Record, or choose to have a little music with laughing choruses like Ticklish Reuben, She Gives Them All the Ha-Ha-Ha, Stop Your Tickling, Jock! or And Then I Laughed.

And perhaps my favorite of the bunch is Fido is a Hot Dog Now which seems to be about a dog who is definitely going to hell.

Fido is a Hot Dog Now (1914) by Billy Murray

Other Media from 1926

As usual, we are also welcoming some new books, movies, journals, and sheet music – this time from 1926! (Read about 1925, 1924, and 1923 in previous posts.)

Some popular first edition books from 1926:

The Clothes We Wear (1926) by Frank and Frances Carpenter

Other interesting books from 1926 that you might want to explore include Show Boat by Edna Ferber which was made into the musical Show Boat in 1927 with music by Jerome Kern, The Clothes We Wear by Frank and Frances Carpenter which is a child friendly exploration of how clothes are made all the way from the field through weaving and into sewing, or The Art of Kissing by Clement Wood which is pretty self explanatory.

We invite you to explore some of the other items dated 1926 in our collections to find your own fun items that may now be in the public domain.

Virtual Party for the Public Domain

Please join us for a virtual party on January 20, 2022 at 1pm Pacific/4pm Eastern time with a keynote from Senator Ron Wyden, champion of the Music Modernization Act and a bunch of musical acts, dancers, historians, librarians, academics, activists and other leaders from the Open world! (And yes, we DO have a book from 1926 about how to throw the world’s best party.)

 Event on January 20th, 2022

REGISTER FOR THE VIRTUAL EVENT HERE!