Join us today for a virtual party at 1pm Pacific/4pm Eastern time with a keynote from Senator Ron Wyden, champion of the Music Modernization Act and a host of musical acts, dancers, historians, librarians, academics, activists and other leaders from the Open world! This event will explore the rich historical context of recorded sound from its earliest days, including early jazz and blues, classical, and spoken word recordings reflecting important political and social issues of the era.
Additional sponsoring organizations include: Library Futures, SPARC, Authors Alliance, the Biodiversity Heritage Library, Public Knowledge, ARSC, the Duke Center for the Study of the Public Domain, and the Music Library Association.
At the December 2021 DWeb Meetup, dozens of booths gathered in gather.town for a fun, virtual, get-to-know-you holiday fair. There were 30+ booths of DWeb projects, foundations, start-ups, organizations and protocols sharing their vision for the decentralized web. Attendees were able to stroll through, chat, listen and learn from each other. Presenting projects came from every part of the world!
The Holiday Fair was inspired by the festive holiday fairs of Europe. They were an opportunity for participants to see what is happening in the DWeb space, learn about new technologies, find partners, supporters, team members or funding. Projects welcomed feedback and ideas, and explored opportunities for collaborating!
Booths present at the fair included:
Agregore, a minimal web browser for the distributed web. It integrates peer to peer protocols with the web to simplify creating and sharing apps without the internet. Its goal is to make local-first software easy to make, and to make technology more resilient and easier to make.
Anwen/Dweb Lab which is a DWeb content community exploring Dweb Lab, Dweb Search, Dwebverse: open-source mmo 3d and vr game.
Blue Link Labs & Paul Frazee which is developing a new project building a decentralized, self-hostable cloud using Hypercore Protocol and other Web3 technologies
Briar, a messaging app designed for activists, journalists, and anyone else who needs a safe, easy and robust way to communicate. Unlike traditional messaging apps, Briar doesn’t rely on a central server – messages are synchronized directly between the users’ devices.
Decentralized Future Council, a new initiative committed to educating policymakers in Washington about the future of decentralized and interoperable protocols that will transform the Internet as we know it.
Earthstar Project, a P2P protocol and accompanying library of APIs for building collaborative and social applications, designed for human-sized (1-100) groups that already know and trust each other. This project is ideal if you want an online space where you can just be yourself, someplace safe where strangers won’t hassle you, or a place to build tools that are really tailor-made for your community, with a simple, blockchain-free API.
eQualitie builds free and open source software on decentralized infrastructure and protocols in support of free speech and access to knowledge. It also showed its CENO (short for Censorship No!) Browser, a mobile browser for storing and sharing blocked web content, as well as the team’s newest project, OuiSync – a tool for securely synchronizing and sharing files. Both projects have been developed with the backend support of the open source Ouinet library for enabling peer-to-peer functionality, which can be integrated into many other third-party applications.
Filecoin Foundation presented about its grants program seeking to: A) Accelerate the adoption of open, decentralized technologies; B) Build communities of practitioners, users, and champions that are mutually supporting and self-sustaining; and C) Communicate the values and benefits of open, decentralized technologies to wider audiences
Fluence Labs, a peer-to-peer application platform which allows the creation of applications free of proprietary cloud providers or centralized APIs. Fluence provides a peer-to-peer development stack that allows for programming p2p applications, workflows, and compose services, APIs without relying on centralized intermediaries. Fluence’s p2p platform provides a complementary compute layer to IPFS, enabling a wide variety of decentralized use cases.
Handshake, a naming protocol that is backwards compatible with the existing DNS system. Every peer in the Handshake network cryptographically validates and manages the root zone, which completely removes the need for the Certificate Authority system (CAs). Names are logged on the Handshake blockchain, which is essentially one big distributed zone file to which anyone can add an entry.
The Hyper Hyper Space project aims to make decentralized applications easy to build and accessible by everyone. At the booth, participants could discuss how to power Dapps with data objects that can be instantiated anywhere (even inside a web browser), used offline and easily synchronized over the net!
ImageSnippets – discussing metadata delivery service layers around art/imagery within the context of decentralized protocols.
IndiView, a personal interest project in privacy which built an app and a decentralized network for communicating with friends and family. The network node is designed for self-hosting and implements a digital identity API. The mobile app supports sharing of contact details, photos, videos and chatting through the network.
The Internet Archive, the Library of Alexandria for the digital era, which is experimenting with storing web pages, film and audio in decentralized storage –at scale! Participants could meet team lead, Arkadiy Kukarkin.
Jolocom which is looking to empower every individual, organization, and entity capable of identity to freely communicate. Jolocom provides universally accessible and useful solutions for decentralized identity management.
Least Authority, a technology company supporting people’s right to privacy through security consulting and building secure solutions. A leader in the security of distributed systems, Least Authority offers consulting services, develops privacy-enhancing products, and contributes to the advancement of related open source and human rights projects.
Mask Network which aims to bridge the Web 2.0 users to Web 3.0 by bringing the decentralized application ecosystem onto traditional social networks, the Mask extension provides a decentralized option for features Web 2.0 users are familiar with. Users can enjoy secure, decentralized social messaging, payment networks, file storage, and file sharing without leaving mainstream social media networks.
The Matrix Foundation which is the Foundation responsible for the Matrix protocol and its healthy evolution. Matrix is a federated protocol which is mostly used for instant messaging, but not exclusively. One of the other applications is full mesh VoIP. They are investing into Matrix P2P as well to have portable identities, completely independent from servers, so people are in full control of their account.
Media Enterprise Design Lab, University of Colorado. Nathan Schneider’s CommunityRule is a governance toolkit for great communities. How does your community work? Are you ready to make hard decisions? Too often, we leave the most basic questions unstated and unanswered. CommunityRule makes it easier to clarify the basics so you can focus on other things. They showcased their prototype Web app and gathered ideas for the next-stage revision now in progress.
Mysterium Network, an open-source, Swiss-based Web3 project making the internet borderless and accessible for all. Their decentralised ecosystem of protocols, tools and web infrastructure provides more privacy, anonymous expression, and equal access to information. The project’s flagship product, the decentralised Mysterium VPN, is available for Android, Windows and Mac. Anyone can join the peer-to-peer marketplace to rent their unused bandwidth and IP address to a global community.
OneCommons, an early-stage startup dedicated to building a free and open cloud. The open-source platform lets you build, share and fork open cloud services that are location independent and support built-in funding mechanisms. Its mission is to realign economic incentives to nudge the Web away from the Attention Economy — based on maximizing a user’s attention at whatever cost — to an Intention Economy, where participants fund what they find worthy.
Peergos, a p2p, E2EE secure file storage, social network and application protocol built on IPFS. Peergos is building the next web – the private web, where end users are in control. Imagine web apps being secure by default and unable to track you. Imagine being able to control exactly what personal data each web app can see. Imagine never having to log in to an app ever again. You own your data and decide where it is stored and who can see it.
plan.tools, a community-centric content creator platform for collaboration, world building, and immersive experiences. PLAN is bridging together previously siloed industries using distributed ledger technology (DLT), p2p infrastructure, 3D graphics, open protocols, and realtime collaboration interfaces. Its vision is that the future internet will be powered by collaborative spaces built on a framework that is community-centric, off-grid capable, inclusive, as well as private and secure by default.
Quark, the browser that shows paths across the internet. It incentivizes the expansion of Web 3.0 to users at large with an interaction design approach. Imagine if you can bump into people looking at similar online content or search results, see where they’ve been, tag along to discover content together, and even monetize it via live stream. With Quark, you can build a collective map of the internet.
SHER, the decentralized live audio platform. That’s right, with SHER you can create your own shows. Have multiple streamers, play files and more. You don’t have to install anything, it works on your browser! Take the broadcast studio with you.
Skynet Labs, an open protocol for hosting data and web applications on the decentralized web using the Sia blockchain. Skynet decentralizes “the cloud” so that user and application data is not stored by (and only accessible to) a single, central authority and allows users to access it without any specialized software or cryptocurrency.
Socialroots enables functional cross-group communication, decreasing the time it takes to manage work and partnerships, and increasing engagement and productivity. Wicked Co-op LCA is an NSF funded worker owned co-op building enabling software technology for DAOs and decentralized networks of organizations to coordinate more effectively.
Starling Lab. The USC | Stanford Starling Lab is the first academic research center in the world dedicated to exploring how Web3 technology can transform human rights. They work with historians, journalists, lawyers to securely capture, store, and verify human history using decentralized technologies.
Sutty, a worker-owned cooperative developing a FLOSS platform for managing and hosting static websites and e-commerce. We work for and with NGOs and grass-root organizations in Latin America and we want to share with you why we think this is an opportunity for DWeb’s growth!
Virtual Chair facilitates the organization of efficient and effective virtual events by focusing on three priorities: interaction among participants, dissemination of materials, and broadening participation. With Virtual Chair, organizers can easily take full advantage of best practices for virtual events.
Webrecorder. Webrecorder’s goal is to make it easier for anyone to create, store and access web archives using open source tools. One of our current efforts, supported by the FIlecoin Foundation, is to standardize a format that can be used to create and render web archives directly in the browser. The format makes it possible to load web archives from IPFS as well as a local file system, or any online storage, decentralized or centralized. Webrecorder’s motto is “web archiving for all” and we are working on several tools to enable decentralized web archiving using the browser itself, allow anyone to create personalized archives of their own web browsing.
Visit GetDWeb.net to learn more about the decentralized web. You can also follow us on Twitter at @GetDWeb for ongoing updates.
This year the Internet Archive continued to reach our patrons, supporters, and library partners through virtual events and programming. As we close out 2021, let’s look back at some of the highlights of the year:
In September, Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) & Representative Anna Eshoo (D-California) sent an inquiry to the “Big Five” publishers to investigate their activities in the e-book marketplace. They followed in November with letters to nine e-book aggregators and platforms, inquiring about restrictive e-book licenses.
The Internet Archive has continued its donations program, receiving media that libraries can no longer house for preservation and digitization. Learn more about the donations program through an informational webinar.
The Internet Archive is now the preservation home of the Michelson Cinema Research Library, the collection curated by famed cinema librarian and researcher Lillian Michelson.
Libraries struggle to find a home for collections that no longer fit their collection development priorities. That was the case with Hamilton Public Library in Ontario, which donated a fantastic collection of American and British theater books for preservation and digitization.
As education continues to use and explore hybrid learning models, colleges and universities are reviewing their physical collections and considering how best to serve their students. Some schools, like Bay State College, are making a full move to digital.
Brewster Kahle sat down with authors Deanna Marcum and Roger C. Schonfeld for a discussion of the history of library digitization described in their book, Along Came Google.
Catherine Stihler, CEO of Creative Commons, talked with author Peter B. Kaufman about his book, The New Enlightenment.
Historian and author Abby Smith Rumsey discussed the history of intentional knowledge destruction with librarian Richard Ovenden, as featured in his book, Burning the Books.
Internet Archive’s Wendy Hanamura talked with author Joanne McNeil (Lurking) and technologist/artist Darius Kazemi about the rise of Google in the 1990s and the impact on libraries and society in Why Trust a Corporation to do a Library’s Job?
On January 20, 2022, the Internet Archive, Creative Commons and many other leaders from the Open world will honor the treasure trove of works published in 1926 that will enter the public domain next year. The public domain will grow richer with canonical works from authors like Hemingway, Faulkner and Dorothy Parker, silent film classics like Nanook of the North, and beloved children’s stories about Winnie-the Pooh and the Hundred Acre woods, becoming freely available to all.
Due to the recently enacted Music Modernization Act in the U.S., approximately 400,000 sound recordings from the pre-1923 era will join the public domain for the first time in our history. That’s why this year our theme is a Celebration of Sound.
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 host of musical acts, dancers, historians, librarians, academics, activists and other leaders from the Open world! This event will explore the rich historical context of recorded sound from its earliest days, including early jazz and blues, classical, and spoken word recordings reflecting important political and social issues of the era.
Additional sponsoring organizations include: Library Futures, SPARC, Authors Alliance, the Biodiversity Heritage Library, Public Knowledge, ARSC, the Duke Center for the Study of the Public Domain, and the Music Library Association.
UPDATED JANUARY 10, 2022: We are pausing plans for in-person celebrations. Please celebrate with us online through the virtual event.
The Internet Archive will also host an in-person Dance Party on Thursday, January 20, 2022 at 6pm at 300 Funston Ave in San Francisco. There you can mingle with like-minded public-domain enthusiasts while sipping a Gin Rickey, a Hanky Panky or a Singapore Sling. Dine on shrimp cocktail, cucumber sandwiches or waldorf salad. There will be dance instructors to help you learn the 1920’s dance sensation – the Charleston. Period costumes encouraged. Let’s kick up our heels for the Public Domain!
You can register for the live, in-person event in San Francisco here.
The Internet Archive Canada will host an in-person event at their new HQ in Vancouver, BC, in the historic Permanent building at 330 West Pender Street on Saturday, January 22, 2022.
As well as celebrating The Public Domain, this evening of live music and 1920s inspired h’or d’oeuvres also acts as the official launch party of IAC’s new headquarters.
You can register for the live, in-person event in Vancouver here.
In her powerful essay “The Sacred Geometry of Respect, Trust and Equity,” Ehmke suggests a new way forward. She challenges us to go beyond a begrudging nod to leveling the playing field. “To effect meaningful change, those whose authority and privilege are sustained by inequity must yield power and distribute agency to those who are most impacted by systemic disparities.”
At the meetup, Coraline discussed what it would mean to build a new decentralized web centered on the values of respect, trust and equity. She explored how centering the values of mutual respect, trust, and equity can help us address the challenges of promoting justice and human rights in the code we create.
Watch Coraline’s talk here:
Lightning Talk Speakers
Jenny Ryan, Project Manager at eQualit.ie for the CENO Browser. enabling you to route around censorship with a peer-to-peer web browser. Jenny is passionate about connecting grassroots communities and global initiatives. She has co-founded and stewarded three Oakland, California nonprofits: Sudo Room, Omni Commons, and Sudo Mesh.
Watch Jenny’s talk here:
Eyal Ron, Co-founder of Esteroids, the search engine for dWebsites. Eyal received his Ph.D. in mathematics from the Free University of Berlin. He was also a co-founder of Almonit (discontinued) and Alpress projects, a former member of the Bisq-core team, and the main author of a couple of DIN (German standard institute) blockchain specs.
Watch Eyal’s talk here:
Savannah Lee, Brand Director of Mysterium, an open-source Web3 project creating a censorship-resistant layer of the internet. She plugged into the Web 3.0 matrix four years ago, now focusing on R&D and strategies to grow P2P communities. Her goal is to help builders and users defend their digital rights and protect access to free information.
Watch Savannah’s talk here:
Suji Yan, Founder of Mask.io which is building a decentralized web on top of the current giant platforms. Mask helps protect users’ privacy on social media by encrypting users’ posts right before sending them out, so users control their data autonomy with their own keys.
Watch Suji’s talk here:
Mauve Signweaver, Creator of HyperGodot, a set of tools for the Godot game engine which enable developers to create local-first peer to peer games based on the protocol handlers in the Agregore browser. Mauve is a Canadian tech enthusiast with a passion for decentralization. Their main project for this is Agregore, a web browser that combines different peer to peer protocols together.
Watch Mauve’s talk here:
Joy Zhang, Founder of Quark. Quark is a Web 3.0 browser x social platform that shows you paths across the internet. Joy is an award-winning designer, engineer, and entrepreneur specializing in human-computer interaction. She has led projects at Apple, IDEO, and four early stage startups, two of which were her own. Joy was featured on Fast Company’s 2021 World Changing Ideas Awards for her sustainable online shopping plugin, shADe.
Watch Joy’s talk here:
Bernhard Borges, Ph.D, Research scientist at the Fluence Project. Fluence is a peer-to-peer application platform which allows the creation of applications free of proprietary cloud providers or centralized APIs. His areas of expertise are Web3, IoT, enterprise integration, and privacy. Prior to Fluence, Bernhard was the Chief Scientist.at Dock Systems and an IBM Distinguished Engineer.
Watch Bernhard’s talk here:
You can register to attend the Holiday fair on December 8, 2021 at 10am PT here.Visit GetDWeb.net to learn more about the decentralized web. You can also follow us on Twitter at @GetDWeb for ongoing updates.
Join Library Futures, Internet Archive, and the Georgetown Intellectual Property and Information Policy (iPIP) Clinic for a panel on copyright, licensing, accessibility, and the law. We’ll be discussing new scholarship from legal experts Michelle Wu (retired Georgetown University Law Center) and Blake Reid (Clinical Professor at Colorado Law).
The Corruption of Copyright: New Scholarship in Libraries, Technology, & the Law Monday, November 15 12pm PT / 3pm ET
Wu’s “The Corruption of Copyright and Returning to its Original Purposes” (Legal Reference Services Quarterly) looks at how some industries have redirected the benefits of copyright towards themselves through licensing and other activities, which impacts author remuneration and upsets the balance of the public interest. This paper focuses on the book, music, and entertainment industries, examines how copyright has been used to suppress the uses it was intended to foster, and explores ongoing and proposed avenues for course correction: https://scholarship.law.georgetown.edu/facpub/2410/
Reid’s “Copyright and Disability” (forthcoming in California Law Review) discusses how recent progress toward copyright limitations and exceptions continues an ableist tradition in the development of U.S. copyright policy: centering the interests of copyright holders, rather than those of readers, viewers, listeners, users, and authors with disabilities. Using case studies, Reid explores copyright’s ableist tradition to discuss how it subordinates the actual interests of people with disability. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3381201
The panel will be moderated by Amanda Levendowski, Associate Professor of Law at Georgetown Law.
Years ago, many people rejected the idea of reading a book on a screen. Fortunately, others had a vision for the potential of digitizing the world’s knowledge.
One of those pioneers was Carnegie Mellon Professor Raj Reddy. The Internet Archive recently hosted a virtual event to honor him and celebrate the 20th anniversary of his Million Book Project that included Reddy, Vint Cerf of Google, Moriel Schottlender of the Wikimedia Foundation, Brewster Kahle of the Internet Archive, Mike Furlough of HaithiTrust, and Liz Ridolfo of the University of Toronto.
Since Reddy’s dream of providing universal access to all human knowledge—instantly to anyone, anywhere in the world—others have embraced the mission. Advocates of mass digitization discussed the tremendous impact that open access to creative works online has had on society, the challenges ahead, and potential, if more books are unleashed.
“There are tens of millions of digitized books available on the internet now. Many of these are born digital. Many more are being converted from print copies,” said Mike Furlough, executive director at HathiTrust, which has a collection of 17.5 million digital books. “This is really a human accomplishment that represents decades, if not centuries, of intellectual labor, physical labor to steward and preserve these items.”
Reddy said he knew his vision two decades ago was just the beginning and there is a huge amount of room to improve the utility of digital works. “It’s time for us to put our heads together to find a way to create digital libraries and archives that are far more useful than what we have today,” he said.
Many agreed more must be done to expand efforts, build a sustainable infrastructure and raise awareness of the shifting role of libraries to provide digital materials.
Internet Archive Founder Brewster Kahle said Reddy was right that bringing our full history online for the next generation is important, but it’s not been easy technically or institutionally.
“If we’ve ever wondered why you’d want digital books, the year 2020 told us why. The global pandemic hit and shut down school libraries, public libraries, and college libraries,” Kahle said. “We got calls from professors, teachers and homeschoolers, desperate to find some way in their Zoom classrooms to bring books to kids.”
The Internet Archive responded, explaining how libraries could extend access digitally to books that were in their physical collections. This helped make a big difference on the ground, and Kahle says policies are changing so libraries are confident in serving their digital learners. For instance, as libraries spend $12 billion a year on materials, Kahle said they should be able to purchase (not lease) e-books to fulfill their mission of service to users.
There was also a push among panelists for digitization to be more inclusive of works from all kinds of authors, recognizing what is being scanned is what’s already been obtained by libraries. “I think we should ask more questions: What aren’t we digitizing? What are the economic or political forces that are constraining our choices and what corrective measures can we take?” Furlough said.
The future interaction with knowledge involves the digitization of books and expanding the diversity of voices is critical, said Moriel Schottlender, principal system architect with the Wikimedia Foundation.
“Making resources available to anyone online is key and this is really what we’re striving for,” said Schottlender, noting Wikipedia’s mission is to be a beacon of factual information that is verifiable, neutral and transparent. “Our goal is that everyone in the world should be able to contribute to the sum of all knowledge. But not everyone has equal access to knowledge, to books, to journals, to libraries, to educational materials…We use digitization to increase equity.”
There is growing demand for all kinds of digital information, said Liz Ridolfo, special collections projects librarian at University of Toronto Libraries.. Donors want items digitized for a variety of reasons including to protect rare items, to reach a broader audience, and to free up physical space for other materials. Especially during the pandemic, Ridolfo said, it has been useful to have a curated collection of online teaching and reference materials.
Vint Cerf, vice president and internet evangelist at Google, said people are increasingly going online to get answers to questions—often turning to YouTube to view how-to videos. That demand for “just-in-time learning” is not a substitute for long-form content, he said, but it’s an interesting phenomenon that may draw people to the internet to learn more.
Looking ahead, Reddy said there is a need for big change to address the broken copyright law. His aspiration is that by 2031, there will be a frictionless, streamlined copyright regime, in which authors register for no fee, but can extend the copyright of a work indefinitely if they want by paying a prescribed fee. For users, he proposes access to copyright material for fair use in less than five minutes. They could pay a required fee, as prescribed by the data for a single copy use. If the copyright is not registered with the national digital library, then fines for copyright violations of unregistered copyright material should be nominal.
“Let’s take Raj’s vision here and make it come true,” Kahle said. “Who should argue against the streamline system where fair uses are easy. Where compensation is understood, where there’s registration and the actual copyrighted materials are in repositories that are long-term protected. Let’s just do this.”
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
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.”