Category Archives: News

Library Futures: New Nonprofit Launches to Support a Technology-Positive Future for Libraries

Learn more about Library Futures, a new nonprofit helping libraries meet the digital needs of their patrons, at libraryfutures.net.

A coalition of advocacy and public interest groups has joined forces to launch the Library Futures Institute, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) committed to upholding the right of libraries to provide users with materials in the new digital environment. 

The new organization launched its website on January 25 and will work to empower libraries to fulfill their mission of providing equal and equitable access to culture for the public good. 

“We need to preserve the significant value of library collections that benefit learning, research, intellectual enrichment of the public — but in the digital space,” said Kyle K. Courtney, board chair of Library Futures, and a copyright advisor and program manager at the Harvard Library Office for Scholarly Communication. “Libraries have been a fundamental part of worldwide access to knowledge.”

The public is invited to sign up for the mailing list, follow the organization on Twitter and Instagram, and become a coalition partner.

Share this message with your followers at https://www.libraryfutures.net/take-action

The pandemic has underscored the urgency for libraries to transform to the digital age, Courtney said. The need for libraries to be able to provide digital material is a consumer issue that Library Futures hopes will gain traction with the broader public. “We are hoping to win hearts and minds to effectuate change,” Courtney said.

Library Futures was triggered by the challenge that libraries face accessing digital materials from publishers. Libraries have long co-existed with publishers and are trustworthy partners, but there has been a shift in the relationship in the digital world, Courtney said. Library Futures will advocate for less-restrictive licensing agreements for e-content, content ownership and stewardship, broad digital access for the public, and implementing the practice of Controlled Digital Lending (CDL), where patrons can borrow one secure digital copy of a book for every print book that a library owns.

Share this message with your followers at https://www.libraryfutures.net/take-action

Executive Director of Library Futures Jennie Rose Halperin says it’s critical for libraries to stand up from a position of strength to assert the role that libraries have in society. 

“When you think about the power of the internet – to have any piece of information at your fingertips is amazing. And yet, the ways publishing captures knowledge globally means that dream cannot be realized,” said Halperin, who has worked as a librarian and digital strategist for Creative Commons and Harvard University Law School. “I believe libraries play a crucial and unique role in changing that paradigm.”

The agenda for Library Futures will include awareness building, education, outreach, and advocacy.

Share this message with your followers at https://www.libraryfutures.net/take-action

The Internet Archive is among the initial coalition partners supporting Library Futures. Others include: Authors Alliance, Boston Public Library, Creative Commons, EveryLibrary, Public Knowledge, Readers First, SPARC, and Special Libraries Association.

“I care about libraries lending, purchasing and preserving materials,” said Halperin. “As a coalition and advocacy organization, Library Futures is positioned to bring together organizations into conversation with libraries, archives, museums and the entire cultural heritage community to effectuate change.”  

As part of its initial public programming, on February 10 Library Futures will co-host a panel discussion with the Internet Archive focused on dispelling myths about Controlled Digital Lending. Registration for the webinar is free and open to the public.

Free Limited Edition: Artist Whitney Humphreys creates a zine series, “Gendered Machines”

Artist Whitney Humphreys is collaborating with the Internet Archive and Tiny Splendor Press to produce 100 copies of a limited-edition zine. In the three-part zine titled Gendered Machines, Humpries uses digital artifacts discovered in the collections of the Internet Archive to explore physical objects that have been assigned a gender, exposing the assumptions and biases of these gender labels.

Printed at Tiny Splendor Press and designed using manipulated, found imagery sourced largely from media in the Internet Archive, the zines of Gendered Machines are both examinations and artifacts of knowledge production technologies. Possessing the capability to transfer between a digital and physical state, the zine format itself reflects the modes through which influential information is delivered and shared, as well as the liminal quality of the space between real and constructed existence. 

In Humphreys’ project, Gendered Machines are defined as any non-human, mechanical objects that are associated with, signifiers of, or assigned a gender. Humphreys is intrigued by how this phenomenon manifests in both lived and fictional realities, revealing a typical polarization in these relationships. Society imposes on these objects labeling that reflects our limited understanding of gender. People create, use, and identify with these labels, designating things as either objects of service or of domination, worshiped or feared for the power they possess. This is a patriarchal oversimplification that her work seeks to complicate. 

A web of representations produced through repeated narratives in fiction have linked how we understand both object-hood and person-hood. The project’s title likewise reflects the culturally constructed mechanisms through which we learn to identify. Just as an ideal femininity is socially invented to serve male desires, technological artifacts, tools and media have been built to fulfill the needs of the historically male-controlled landscape of invention. The interwoven histories of influence that are brought to light through this project are embedded in the computerized objects we use every day.

Gendered Machines is an extension of these findings, synthesized into the accessible framework of a set of zines. The volumes are focused within three scopes–Body, Voice, and Spirit—each acting as a nexus where patterns of signification are often located across time and media. Humphreys’ collection represents a variety of resources, influences, curiosities, and inspiration.

To receive a copy of the zines mailed to you (only 100 copies available) fill out the form below:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1CQ61E-wMQkUqQQYI_kRZArnasF62CSgKV6XK2ckvyY0/viewform?edit_requested=true

They are also available to view online or to download here on the Internet Archive:

Gendered Machines: Body

Gendered Machines: Voice

Gendered Machines: Spirit

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Whitney Humphreys working at Tiny Splendor

Whitney Humphreys is a San Francisco Bay Area artist and teacher and a recent graduate of San Francisco Art Institute’s Dual Degree program, earning an MFA in Studio Practice, with a focus in printmaking and sculptural installation. She also earned an MA in the History and Theory of Contemporary Art with her thesis titled, Gendered Machines. Culminating in a practice rooted deeply in the processes of research, her work addresses modes of knowledge production and representation that impact constructions of identity, examined through an Intersectional Feminist lens. She has exhibited throughout the Bay Area during her career as an artist, muralist, designer, maker, event coordinator, and instructor.

Follow Whitney Humphreys at WhitneyHumphreys.com or on her Instagram @WitchneyJoanne

ABOUT OUR PARTNERS

Tiny Splendor started in 2012 as a tiny collective, traveling around sharing friends’ artwork out of a small wooden fold-up gallery. Now they operate two separate studios, one in Berkeley and one in Los Angeles, providing print and publishing services to artists locally and from around the world. They continue to pursue self-publishing and a love of ink on paper, producing print editions, zines, books, apparel and more.

Follow Tiny Splendor at tinysplendor.com or their instagram @tinysplendor

More than 100 years of Editor & Publisher Now Fully Accessible Online on the Internet Archive

[press: niemanlab]

Editor & Publisher Magazine, 1901

When Mike Blinder acquired Editor & Publisher magazine in October 2019, he inherited boxes of back issues that he put in a climate-controlled storage unit near his home in Tampa, Florida.  Leafing through the old — and sometimes brittle — pages of the journalism trade publications, he noticed a reference to microfilm access to the content. 

Blinder, a media consultant for more than 40 years, says he turned detective trying to track down the missing E&P on microfilm. The odyssey would take him to past owners and bankruptcy documents before discovering that the canisters of microfilm had been purchased and given to the Internet Archive to digitize and make available to the public for free.

When Blinder called Brewster Kahle of the Internet Archive and found out we had the microfilm for his back issues, he was very excited to find the microfilm was not only safe, but that the Internet Archive would digitize all of the issues at no cost to him. Blinder enthusiastically gave permission for the full 100-year history to be read and downloaded by anyone, anywhere – along with E&P’s International Yearbook and Market Guide. Going beyond the Internet Archive’s traditional lending system ensures it can be indexed by search engines and made maximally useful to readers and researchers.

Mike Blinder, Publisher

“I just went nuts,” Blinder recalls of learning about the project earlier this year. “I read history all the time. The fact that content about this incredible industry was available to humanity was exceptionally exciting.”

The ability to research these archived issues has been truly exciting, especially for those looking up historical documents, many with a personal or family connection. Amy Levine is the daughter of the former publisher of sixteen small newspapers in Northern California. When Levine looked up the past issues featuring her father Mort and his legacy, she was all over it. “I loved it,” said Levine, “and I showed my father– he loved sharing his past accomplishments with me.”

Hiring a company to scan the stacks of print copies would have been a massive and expensive undertaking that Blinder says he didn’t have the funds to do. Turning microfilm into digital content is much easier and the process was underway at the Internet Archive at no cost to him.

“It was good news,” Blinder says. “[The press] is part of the constitution. Our founding fathers told us that we needed to exist.”

While Blinder says he thinks there is enough demand to charge for access to this collection of magazines, he’s glad the information is freely available for journalism students, scholars, and the general public.  Blinder plans to tell his colleagues in the media business about the newly established digital collection and says he’s confident there will be an audience for the material.

“There are a lot of people who study our industry. We are in such a crisis now,” says Blinder of the competition from social media and struggles of daily newspapers. Over the years, E&P has chronicled changes in the business during times of recession, war, and cultural change. It includes awards for publishers of the year and young journalism professionals. Blinder anticipates the collection will appeal to people who want to look back at past trends.

“There are a lot of people who study our industry. We are in such a crisis now”

Mike Blinder, Editor & Publisher magazine

Since purchasing E&P last year, Blinder and his wife, Robin, have been able to turn the operation around, doubling its revenues and tripling its audience.

“We love journalism. We want to talk about journalism as a business,” Blinder says. “We are an independent voice for the industry.”

Now you can read 100 years of history in the archive of Editor & Publisher magazine.

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

Today the United States commemorates the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr—one of history’s most influential advocates for peace, equality, and civil rights. As a free digital library, the Internet Archive is home to thousands of books, texts, videos, images, and other materials on his work and impact. Here are a few ways you can use our materials to celebrate the life of Dr. King!

Watch

Dr. King was a major participant in the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, one of the largest rallies for human rights in American history—watch original newsreel footage of the March here! You can also listen to part of a commencement speech Dr. King gave at Hofstra University in 1965 and see contemporary reporting on his receipt of the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize.

Read

The Internet Archive’s collection of texts contains thousands of works both by and about Martin Luther King Jr., ranging from books for children to collections of his speeches. Our new Marygrove College Library collection includes several books on Dr. King, as well as the Civil Rights Movement and social justice.

If you’re interested in reading more on the African-American experience, you can also check out the #1000BlackGirlBooks collection and the Zora Canon. We’ve created some handy resource guides that include Antiracist & Racial Equality Reading Lists and Racial Equality Books for Kids. Finally, through the Community Webs program, our partners at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture created the #HashtagSyllabusMovement web archive collection, which contains crowdsourced reading lists highlighting social justice issues within the Black community—a great place to start if you’re looking for antiracist reading material!

Contribute

The Internet Archive contains millions of items that have been uploaded, donated, or submitted by our users; your contributions make up a crucial part of our library. If you own any civil rights books, records, or physical media that you would like to see added to the archive, feel free to donate them! If you already have digital media—such as video, images, or audio of Martin Luther King Day celebrations or multimedia tributes—then feel free to upload it to the Internet Archive. And as always, if you see something online that you think should be added to our historical record, you can use the Wayback Machine’s Save Page Now feature to preserve it for posterity.

We hope you have a safe and happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Enjoy the archive!

-The Internet Archive Team


If you enjoyed this blog post and want to help support the Internet Archive, you can make a tax-deductible donation here. Thank you for helping us provide Universal Access To All Knowledge. 

Public Domain Day Short Film Contest Highlights Works of 1925

A still from the winning submission Danse des Aliénés (Dance of the Insane), featuring actress Greta Garbo.

Filmmakers responded with enthusiasm and creativity to a call from the Internet Archive to make short films using newly available content from 1925 in celebration of Public Domain Day. They discovered a new freedom in being able to remix film clips with Greta Garbo, magazine covers with flappers, and sheet music from standards like “Sweet Georgia Brown” – all downloadable for free and reusable without restriction.

For the contest, vintage images and sounds were woven into films of 2-3 minutes that conveyed a sense of whimsy, nostalgia, and humor. While some were abstract and others educational, they all showcased ingenuity and possibility when materials are openly available to the public.

 “The Internet Archive has spent  24 years collecting and archiving content from around the world…now is the time to see what people can do with it,” said Amir Saber Esfahani, director of special arts projects at the Internet Archive. He was a judge in the December short-film contest along with Carey Hott, professor of art and design at the University of San Francisco, and Brewster Kahle, digital librarian and founder of the Internet Archive.

The judges reviewed 23 entries and chose a winner based on creativity, variety of 1925 content (including lists of all sources), and fit for the event (fun, interesting and captivating). These new creative works may also be available for reuse, as indicated by the license term selected by the creator.

First place: Danse des Aliénés

Joshua Curry, a digital artist from San Jose, won first place for his submission, Danse des Aliénés (Dance of the Insane), in which he layers pieces of film on three panes with images rising and falling music to “Dance Macabre” (Dance of Death) performed by the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra. The format was inspired by the poem dramatized in triptych in the short film In Youth, Beside the Lonely Sea.  His creation included flashes of Greta Garbo, ghosts from Koko Sees Spooks and colorful designs flowing in and out of the frames.

Curry, who has been making experimental videos since the 1980s, says the project was a perfect fit for his artist techniques, where he likes to stress and transform film in new ways. His film had a glitchy, broken feel that is in line with the aesthetic he often uses (See his other work at lucidbeaming.com.)

“I wanted it to be evocative and for people to appreciate it as a stand-alone piece of art,” says Curry, 49. “My visual goal was to produce something challenging that a wide variety of people could connect to – despite being mostly abstract and sourced from 95-year-old content.”

Filmmaker Joshua Curry.

While Curry’s studio is modern and full of electronic equipment, working with the 1925 content and hearing music with cartoonish voices making novelty, popping sounds their cheeks was a welcome break. “One day when I was choosing the music, I was driving around the city listening to songs and felt like I was transported back in time,” Curry says.

He says it was also a pleasure to have easy access to the public domain content without commercial gatekeeping or legal obstacles, which he often encounters with digital material he wants to remix. As it happens, Curry just completed a class in multimedia copyright. He says he works hard to operate within the rules because he wants his video creations to survive online and not be taken down because of copyright infringement allegations.

Having the works for this project in the public domain meant less time trying to get the content and more time to focus on the creative process. “It was like being a little kid who was told he couldn’t have cake and then one day saying: ‘Dive in!’,” Curry said of the access to the 1925 material in the Internet Archive.

Receiving the contest’s top honors was particularly meaningful, says Curry, because he works in Silicon Valley where the Internet Archive has “great nerd cred” and is a library that people revere.

“I was proud to win with weirdness,” Curry says. “My piece was abstract, without narration or titles, and an authentic tribute to the pioneering work of the experimental films I made use of.”

To learn more about Curry’s inspirations and to hear from him directly, watch the director’s commentary that was captured during the Public Domain Day event.

Second place: Vanishing Ink

Second place went to Alaro Brandon for Vanishing Ink, a film with a montage of clips from 16 movies including The Last Laugh and Hold My Baby and four songs: “Norwegian Dances,” “Song of the Vagabonds,” “I Want to be Happy” and “Hawaiian Ripples.”

Third place: Fashion of the 1920s

Arden Spivack-Teather, 12, and Sissel Ramierz, 13, both of San Francisco, won third place for their short film, Fashion of the 1920s. It traces the evolution of women’s clothing from tight-fitting styles that required corsets to drop-waisted, loose dresses popularized by flappers. “Women could finally be chic and comfortable at the same time,” the film notes. “Every time you notice a fabulous flowing frock, thank the 20s.”

Watch Fashion of the 1920s.

Arden found out about the contest through her mom, Cari Spivack, a staff member at the Internet Archive, and decided to partner with her friend, Sissel, a classmate since kindergarten who she had collaborated with for a winning science fair project in fifth grade. On Zoom and FaceTime, the girls looked through old McCalls magazines and decided to focus on the changing style of women’s clothing.

From left, filmmakers Arden Spivack-Teather and Sissel Ramirez.

“It was really fun to use our creativity and find things that would look good together,” said Arden, who had never before made a film. Although the research, script and editing were a challenge, she says she hopes to do it again.

Spivack said she enjoyed seeing her daughter explore the material in the Archive, giggling and musing at the kitchen table about the tonics and ads she discovered. “It was exactly what I was hoping would happen — that they would be gripped by fascination of a time period that was long gone. They could travel back and learn on their own, paging through a magazine just like someone their age would have in 1925.”

The diversity of approaches people had with the films was impressive, added Spivack.

“It’s a good introduction to what can be done with old materials. You can use them to learn and to educate others. Or you can reuse them to make something that’s completely unexpected or never seen before,” Spivack said. “As archivists everything is important. But you don’t know why until you see what it can turn into or what it informs in the future.”

Honorable mentions

  • Yo Hey Look! by Adam Dziesinski, which pieced together film clips where something caught an actor’s eye, from a baby in a wicker stroller to a woman with a bob haircut dancing to a man in a Bowler hat laughing.
  • Michaela Giles made a time-lapse film of her using oil pastels, pencils, paints, and pens to draw a profile of a woman gracing the front of a vintage publication in 1925 Magazine Cover Recreation.
  • Public Domain Day by Subhashish Panigrahi explained the basics of how copyright works with text interspersed with cartoon clips, colorful paintings, and magazine covers.
  • 25 Dad Jokes from 1925 by Anirvan Chatterjee was a compilation of jokes gathered from vintage middle school and high school yearbooks from Iowa, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Oregon, California.  Among the corny humor: “Why is the ocean so angry? It’s been crossed too many times,” and “What are the three most often words used in school? I don’t know.”

The films were shown at the December 17 Public Domain Day virtual party, where the creators were asked to discuss their projects in breakout room discussions. You can view a livestream of the event here.

Radio Ngrams Dataset Allows New Research into Public Health Messaging

Guest post by Dr. Kalev Leetaru

Radio remains one of the most-consumed forms of traditional media today, with 89% of Americans listening to radio at least once a week as of 2018, a number that is actually increasing during the pandemic. News is the most popular radio format and 60% of Americans trust radio news to “deliver timely information about the current COVID-19 outbreak.”

Local talk radio is home to a diverse assortment of personality-driven programming that offers unique insights into the concerns and interests of citizens across the nation. Yet radio has remained stubbornly inaccessible to scholars due to the technical challenges of monitoring and transcribing broadcast speech at scale.

Debuting this past July, the Internet Archive’s Radio Archive uses automatic speech recognition technology to transcribe this vast collection of daily news and talk radio programming into searchable text dating back to 2016, and continues to archive and transcribe a selection of stations through present, making them browsable and keyword searchable.

Ngrams data set

Building on this incredible archive, the GDELT Project and I have transformed this massive archive into a research dataset of radio news ngrams spanning 26 billion English language words across portions of 550 stations, from 2016 to the present.

You can keyword search all 3 million shows, but for researchers interested in diving into the deeper linguistic patterns of radio news, the new ngrams dataset includes 1-5grams at 10 minute resolution covering all four years and updated every 30 minutes. For those less familiar with the concept of “ngrams,” they are word frequency tables in which the transcript of each broadcast is broken into words and for each 10 minute block of airtime a list is compiled of all of the words spoken in those 10 minutes for each station and how many times each word was mentioned.

Some initial research using these ngrams

How can researchers use this kind of data to understand new insights into radio news?

The graph below looks at pronoun usage on BBC Radio 4 FM, comparing the percentage of words spoken each day that were either (“we”, “us”, “our”, “ours”, “ourselves”) or (“i”, “me”, “i’m”). “Me” words are used more than twice as often as “we” words but look closely at February of 2020 as the pandemic began sweeping the world and “we” words start increasing as governments began adopting language to emphasize togetherness.

“We” (orange) vs. “Me” (blue) words on BBC Radio 4 FM, showing increase of “we” words beginning in February 2020 as Covid-19 progresses

TV vs. Radio

Combined with the television news ngrams that I previously created, it is possible to compare how topics are being covered across television and radio.

The graph below compares the percentage of spoken words that mentioned Covid-19 since the start of this year across BBC News London (television) versus radio programming on BBC World Service (international focus) and BBC Radio 4 FM (domestic focus).

All three show double surges at the start of the year as the pandemic swept across the world, a peak in early April and then a decrease since. Yet BBC Radio 4 appears to have mentioned the pandemic far less than the internationally-focused BBC World Service, though the two are now roughly equal even as the pandemic has continued to spread. Over all, television news has emphasized Covid-19 more than radio.  

Covid-19 mentions on Television vs. Radio. The chart compares BBC News London (TV) in blue, versus BBC World Service (Radio) in orange and BBC Radio 4 FM (Radio) in grey.

For now, you can download the entire dataset to explore on your own computer but there will also be an interactive visualization and analysis interface available sometime in mid-Spring.

It is important to remember that these transcripts are generated through computer speech recognition, so are imperfect transcriptions that do not properly recognize all words or names, especially rare or novel terms like “Covid-19,” so experimentation may be required to yield the best results.

The graphs above just barely scratch the surface of the kinds of questions that can now be explored through the new radio news ngrams, especially when coupled with television news and 152-language online news ngrams.

From transcribing 3 million radio broadcasts into ngrams to describing a decade of television news frame by frame, cataloging the objects and activities of half a billion online news images, to inventorying the tens of billions of entities and relationships in half a decade of online journalism, it is becoming increasingly possible to perform multimodal analysis at the scale of entire archives.

Researchers can ask questions that for the first time simultaneously look across audio, video, imagery and text to understand how ideas, narratives, beliefs and emotions diffuse across mediums and through the global news ecosystem. Helping to seed the future of such at-scale research, the Internet Archive and GDELT are collaborating with a growing number of media archives and researchers through the newly formed Media Data Research Consortium to better understand how critical public health messaging is meeting the challenges of our current global pandemic.

About Kalev Leetaru

For more than 25 years, GDELT’s creator, Dr. Kalev H. Leetaru, has been studying the web and building systems to interact with and understand the way it is reshaping our global society. One of Foreign Policy Magazine’s Top 100 Global Thinkers of 2013, his work has been featured in the presses of over 100 nations and fundamentally changed how we think about information at scale and how the “big data” revolution is changing our ability to understand our global collective consciousness.

No Book/Music/Movie (All Media) Donation Too Big or Small: Please Donate

Looking around your home in the new year and wondering what to do with all the stuff you’ve accumulated? You’re not alone — turns out 54% of Americans are overwhelmed by the amount of clutter around them. As people move or downsize, they are often in a dilemma about what to do with their beloved books and records. The same goes for colleges and libraries when they close or relocate. So what’s a preservation-minded person or organization supposed to do with their extra books, records, or other media?

The Internet Archive is here to help! We welcome donations with open arms — from single books to entire libraries. The Internet Archive seeks to preserve and digitize one copy of every book, record, CD, film, and microfilm in support of our mission to provide “Universal Access to All Knowledge.”

Liz Rosenberg, donation manager at Internet Archive, helping digitize a donation of 78 rpm records.

“Increasingly, people are turning to the Internet Archive to preserve materials and give them new life online,” said Liz Rosenberg, donation manager. “Staff members can even help to arrange for a convenient pick up of larger donations.” 

 “We are always looking for items that we don’t have already or ones that are in better shape,” said Rosenberg, who encourages people to check online, if convenient, if a copy is needed. For large collections or donations with special circumstances, Internet Archive will go onsite to pack and ship items at no expense to the donor. “Our goal is to make this process easy for donors.”

Internet Archive receives a variety of materials from individuals and organizations. Boxes can be mailed to facilities in Richmond, California, or brought to drop off locations in the U.S. and England. The Archive tries to digitize materials and make them available publicly, as funding allows. 

Recent personal donations have included a collection of railroad maps and atlases from the 1800s. Also, a large collection of fragile 78rpm records was donated by a person in Washington, D.C., and 18,000 LP, 45, and 78 records were donated from a home in Arkansas.

Some recent institutional donations include 80,000 books from the Evangelical Seminary, 191 boxes of journals and periodicals from Hope International University, and 70,000 books, journals and microfilm from Marygrove College. These larger gifts are made into special collections to help Internet Archive users find the materials and celebrate the donor.

We are happy to give donors a receipt for tax purposes and celebrate the donation on the archive.org site if appropriate. 

“We would love to provide a forever home for your media wherever you are located, however much you have,” said Rosenberg. “I love doing this role. It restores my faith in the goodness of the world every day.”

For more information about contributing, please visit the Internet Archive help center.

Microfilm to the Rescue: Over a Century of Guernsey Breeders’ Journal Now on the Internet Archive

Since 1970, America has lost over 90% of its dairy farms. Preserving the rich cultural history of our nation’s dairy farmers has gone from important to mission critical. As one small step on a challenging path, the Internet Archive is honored to partner with the American Guernsey Association, the official breed registry organization for Guernsey dairy cattle in the United States. For over a century, AGA has published the Guernsey Breeders’ Journal, the official publication of the AGA and the longest-running publication of any American dairy breed organization. Working with staff on two continents, the Archive has been able to digitize and make available to the public AGA’s entire collection of Journal issues, dating back to 1910.

Guernsey Breeders’ Journal, 1952

The Internet Archive is thrilled to partner with the AGA by making back issues of Guernsey Breeders’ Journal available for public access. The partnership offers something for everyone – farmers, industry, historians, and Guernsey-lovers alike. By digitizing the issues at no cost to AGA, and hosting them on the Archive’s own servers, AGA is free to distribute the entirety of its magazine collection by pointing its website users to the collection on the Internet Archive, or even embedding links to the issues on its own website.

According to Robin Alden, Executive Director for American Guernsey, the partnership has been a long time coming. “This is something we have wanted to do for a long time, and I think it will be a huge benefit to our readers and to Guernsey fans.”

“By working together, the Internet Archive has made all of the digitized issues available to the public, to search engines, and back to American Guernsey for their use and preservation,” said Marina Lewis, the Collections Manager of the Internet Archive. “We hope all publishers will work with us to make back issues publicly available.”

According to Alden, the Journal is a critically important tool to reach out to AGA’s members and constituents. With almost 2,000 issues dating back to 1910, the Journal is an opportunity to provide plenty of great content to readers. In fact, a recent survey by AGA indicates that its members and constituents received critical industry information from the Journal, beyond just membership in the AGA. The survey results showed that over 90% of Guernsey enthusiasts surveyed rely on the Journal for their primary source of news on the breed and the industry. 

This is something we have wanted to do for a long time, and I think it will be a huge benefit to our readers and to Guernsey fans.

Robin Alden, AGA Executive Director

In addition to industry news, the Journal is also an invaluable research tool. Alden says she receives phone calls every year from students and members of animal husbandry organizations such as 4H with requests for research materials and data. Alden is able to direct students to the online collection at the Internet Archive (and soon the AGA website) so students can have free access to historical data and images for their projects.

Most importantly, the Journal supports AGA’s mission to expand the demand for Guernsey differentiated consumer products and deliver premium returns for producers and breeder members, with the goal of providing leadership, promoting programs, services, and technologies to ensure the integrity of the breed – while enhancing the value for its members, owners, and the industry. AGA also offers a variety of products and services, in addition to its breed registry. Among these are Golden Guernsey, a consumer-facing site that offers premium dairy goods from AGA’s network of Guernsey farmers throughout the United States and Canada.

For many readers, though, having such access to the Journal provides more than just facts and data; for many, having online access to the Journal offers a window to their past. According to Alden, many readers may have grown up on a farm or may now live internationally, and having this resource and being able to provide online access is huge. “We have a lot of members who want to be able to take a walk down memory lane, and they otherwise wouldn’t be able to do so.”

The Million Manual March

An arbitrary but still amazing milestone has passed:

The Internet Archive now has over one million manuals, instruction sheets and informational pamphlets in its Manuals collection. They range into every field of study or product and extend back, in some cases, well past a century!

People have been uploading manuals of every stripe into the Internet Archive for well over a decade, not to mention instruction booklets and related works in collections of partner organizations which are not in the main collection. In the past few years, efforts to mirror both manual repositories out in the world as well as documentation collecting by individuals have put our materials into the stratosphere of this staggering number.

While we gaze upon a nine-digit mountain of manuals, let’s talk about why this is so important and what it means.

Since we’ve had technology and tools, we’ve had instructions on how to use them. Passed along by demonstration, discussion or written forms, the critical link between having possessions and making the most of them has been the unit of knowledge called The Manual.

It’s a very general idea, and one that can range wildly in terms of depth, quality, and approach. Some items hand you a scant single printed page with poorly constructed diagrams. Others are multi-volume tomes that give exacting detail down to the smallest theory of operation. (The manuals for a Boeing 747 airplane weigh more than a 747!)

Considering the manual, one impression might be that they’re only of interest to someone in possession or with interest in the specific item or procedures being addressed.

But manuals are much more than just instructions of operation, or a listing of the components inside a product. They’re windows and insights into the priorities and approaches that companies and individuals take with the tools and goods they sell. And in many cases, the artistic and visual efforts to make an item clear to the reader has led to truly breathtaking visual feats.

With this many manuals and documents, a person trying to find the exact manual they need for something they own will always be a little difficult. Here’s some quick suggestions.

  • First try searching for the product name, with just the company and the model number. If the company does not make that many items (as opposed to a large multinational), just putting in the company name may be enough.
  • Sometimes there will be just one manual for an entire product family. If so, searching for the company name and the product type (like “Angelcorp CD Player”) will put you on the right track.
  • There is also a “Full-Text Search” under the search box you can select which will look inside the documents in the manuals, allowing you to search for model numbers or information in a much deeper way.

Naturally, a collection of this size is rather hard to browse through – there are manuals coming in by the thousands every month, and we are working to get them into proper sub-collections and headings, as well as improving metadata. The work is never done with a project like this, but the joy and wonders never cease.

So enjoy a million manuals, and we’ll see you at two million!

A shout out and deep thank you to all the different communities and individuals worldwide who have assembled manuals mirrored from external sites like manualzzz, manualsbase and iFixit, as well as by uploading in some cases scanning and uploading thousands of manuals to the Internet Archive personally, for being the reason this collection has grown so large.

In Case You Missed It: Looking Back on Our 2020 Events

Every year we work to bring you informative events that highlight the Internet Archive’s programs and impacts. When COVID closures started happening this spring, we were uncertain what that meant for our slate of 2020 events. Rather than close down our events, we embraced technologies like Zoom and Gather, and started hosting larger, online events that reached more people than we generally would have through in-person gatherings. As we wind down for the year, we wanted to take a moment to look back on some of the signature events that we hosted in 2020, and set the stage for what we have in store for 2021.

Photo by Jonas Jacobsson on Unsplash

Library Leaders Forum

Our Library Leaders Forum is an annual gathering of leaders from public, academic, and special libraries. In recent years we have focused our Forum conversations on Controlled Digital Lending (CDL), the library practice that empowers libraries to lend digital versions of the physical books on their shelves. This year, hundreds of libraries used CDL to reach their patrons while their facilities were closed due to COVID, demonstrating the value of the library practice. We used this year’s online Forum to invite in hundreds of participants to hear how libraries used CDL to reach their patrons, and the impacts that it had while their facilities were closed.

Author Events

  • “Running Toward Mystery” by Venerable Tenzin Priyadarshi 
    In this new work, an ordained Tibetan Buddhist monk explores what his life lessons have to say about this tumultuous moment in history. 
    Blog and video available
  • “Subprime Attention Crisis” by Tim Hwang
    Subprime Attention Crisis makes the case that the core advertising model driving Google, Facebook, and many of the most powerful companies on the internet is—at its heart—a multibillion dollar financial bubble. 
    Blog and video available

Webinars

When libraries and schools started closing in March, librarians and teachers turned to our Open Libraries program for help in connecting their students with digital books so that they could learn at home. To help more educators learn about our program, we ramped up our webinar schedule throughout spring and summer, at times offering multiple sessions a week to meet demands.

Public Domain Day

To close out the year on an uplifting note, we highlighted the works published in 1925 that will move into the public domain in January during our Public Domain Day 2021 celebration. The event was a rousing success, giving party-goers an opportunity to experience the literature, music, and films that will become part of the public domain in January. Read our blog post recap or watch the full livestream.

Invited Events

In addition to our own events, we were invited to participate in a number of conversations and webinars about our programs.

Looking Ahead

We will continue to embrace video conferencing technologies in 2021 and beyond to help more people attend our events and learn about our programs. We already have the following events scheduled in January, with more to be announced soon:

January 21, 2021
Owning, Licensing, and Sharing Digital Content

January 27, 2021
Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story — a Screening Party

Thank you to everyone who attended one of our events in this unusual year. Be sure to follow us on Twitter to learn about new events as they are scheduled.

Warm wishes for a safe and successful 2021!