Category Archives: News

Back to School With the Internet Archive

As students around the world resume their education, millions of learners are facing uncertainty about school schedules, class formats, and online study. As a nonprofit dedicated to Universal Access to All Knowledge, the Internet Archive provides a number of free resources for parents, students, teachers, and librarians around the world—check out these tools for remote learning!

For Parents

Do you have a budding history buff, wildlife biologist, artist, or stargazer on your hands? Looking for books to entertain and educate them with? We’ve created a number of handy resource guides on a range of subjects, from astronauts to zebras. You can also check out some previous compilations of our favorite collections!

Of course, one of the best ways to support your child’s education is by reading to and with them. The Internet Archive’s Open Library contains thousands of children’s books to check out and enjoy together.

For Students

If you need homework help, The Internet Archive has a huge array of textbooks and study guides. If you’re looking for primary sources to cite in your History assignments, our 26 million historical books and texts are a great place to start; if you’re trying to get through English class we also have thousands of works of literature from around the world.

And if you need a study break? We have a huge collection of educational software and computer games you can play around with. (Not to mention plenty of less-educational games, too!)

For Teachers and Educators

Over the past several months, the Internet Archive has collaborated with a number of educational specialists to determine how our collections can best serve teachers. If you’re trying to plan for an online semester, are wondering how to increase your students’ digital fluency, or want to prepare for long-term distance learning trends, you can find expert analysis and advice on our blog. And if you want to leverage the Open Library to get new material or find lesson plans to make curriculum preparation easier, our doors are always open.

For Librarians

As a nonprofit public library, we know that now more than ever, libraries and librarians matter. While digital librarians are facing unprecedented situations—and formerly analog librarians are being forced to adapt—we’re providing useful resources to library and archive professionals everywhere. You can learn more about how we can enhance course reserves on our blog, or browse our American Libraries archive to explore some of our partners’ collections. We proudly sponsor both Archive-It (an institutional web archiving solution) and the Open Libraries program (which allows libraries to expand their digital holdings using our collections). If you’d like to learn more about how the Internet Archive can help you provide more digital materials to your patrons, sign up for an upcoming webinar!


In these tumultuous times, we want to make sure that students have the tools they need to learn—and we couldn’t offer the resources we do without the help of our partners, donors, and supporters everywhere. Whether you’re looking for homework help, teaching via videoconference, or finding new ways to support your patrons, we hope that our collections prove useful to you.

Stay safe and healthy, and thanks for using the archive!

Can You Help us Make the 19th Century Searchable?

In 1847, Frederick Douglass started a newspaper advocating the abolition of slavery that ran until 1851.  After the Civil War, there was a newspaper for freed slaves, the Freedmen’s Record.  The Internet Archive is bringing these and many more works online for free public access. But there’s a problem: 

Our Optical Character Recognition (OCR), while the best commercially available OCR technology, is not very good at identifying text from older documents.  

Take for example, this newspaper from 1847. The images are not that great, but a person can read them:

The problem is  our computers’ optical character recognition tech gets it wrong, and the columns get confused.

What we need is “Culture Tech” (a riff on fintech, or biotech) and Culture Techies to work on important and useful projects–the things we need, but are probably not going to get gushers of private equity interest to fund. There are thousands of professionals taking on similar challenges in the field of digital humanities and we want to complement their work with industrial-scale tech that we can apply to cultural heritage materials.

One such project would be to work on technologies to bring 19th-century documents fully digital. We need to improve  OCR to enable full text search, but we also need help segmenting documents into columns and articles. The Internet Archive has lots of test materials and thousands are uploading more documents all the time.    

What we do not have is a good way to integrate work on these projects with the Internet Archive’s processing flow.  So we need help and ideas there as well.

Maybe we can host an “Archive Summer of CultureTech” or something…Just ideas.   Maybe working with a university department that would want to build programs and classes around Culture Tech… If you have ideas or skills to contribute, please post a comment here or send an email to info@archive.org with some of this information.

Apple Pay, and Google Pay, and Venmo, and Crypto, oh my!

User behavior is changing. Over the past few years, we’ve seen an incredible climb in mobile usage of Archive.org. To keep with the times, the Internet Archive’s Fundraising and Front End teams are excited to announce the release of new mobile-friendly donation options! 

We now offer Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Venmo in addition to Credit Card, Paypal, and Crypto as donation payment methods. These slick new platforms make donating to the Internet Archive faster and simpler. Want to give it a try? Visit archive.org/donate to make a donation and let us know what you think in the donation comment box! 

Keep in mind that some payment methods work better with certain devices or certain browsers. Below is a general list of compatibility:

Platform Credit Card Paypal Apple Pay Google Pay Venmo Crypto
Windows ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
MacOS ✔️ ✔️ Safari w/
Touch ID only
✔️ ✔️
Linux ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
iPhone/iPad ✔️ ✔️ Safari only ✔️ Safari / Chrome /
Brave only
✔️
Android ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ Chrome / Brave
only
✔️

We still accept all major credit cards, Paypal, cryptocurrency, stock, gold bricks, and more. For a list of all payment methods accepted, visit our FAQ page.

A big thank you to everyone on our Front End and Fundraising teams for their efforts getting these new features launched. And to all of our donors, THANK YOU for supporting your Internet Archive!

Community Networks Adapt to New Realities Under COVID: A DWeb Meetup Recap

People’s access to accurate, reliable information is always essential. Of course, it becomes ever more critical during a global pandemic like COVID. 

But giving people “internet access” alone is not enough. For information to be useful to people, the means of access cannot be a one-way street. Information is social. Information must be contextualized. What are the spoken languages, levels of reading literacy, ways of life, and the legacies of systemic oppression? Community networks take a holistic approach to information and communication technology. Instead of seeing people as passive users, people are active participants, co-creating media through collaborative processes, thereby making it more inherently more accessible than content produced elsewhere.

These are some of the main takeaways from the DWeb Meetup on July 29, 2020. Four DWeb Camp 2019 Global Fellows shared how their community networks in South Africa, Brazil and India are adapting to COVID. Though they can connect to the World Wide Web, the fact that these networks maintain steady connectivity between local nodes with locally-hosted content is in many ways more valuable than their internet access.

So how do their community networks steward connectivity and information in this way? How do they work with their communities to produce local knowledge that feeds their networks?

Community Networks Contextualize Information

Sol Luca de Tena, director of Zenzeleni Networks Non-Profit Corporation (NPC), spoke with us from Cape Town, South Africa. Zenzeleni Networks supports and seeds cooperatively-owned community networks. There are currently two community networks, Zenzeleni Mankosi Cooperative and Zenzeleni Zithulele Cooperative. Together they cover 19 villages and are the first legally-recognized community networks that are owned and governed by their members in South Africa. 

She described how the problem in rural South Africa went beyond having access to reliable information. The public health information regarding COVID was not even useful given the realities of people, especially given that it was not even available in their languages:

“So imagine in your [urban] setting, all the [COVID safety] guidelines that are being published by the government and by doctors, are about how to stay safe when using a communal tap. How to stay safe when taking your cattle out, or tending for your crops. Amidst the anxiety of knowing what to do, what’s real, what’s not. When the information is not contextual, and it’s not even in your first, or second, or third language, imagine the strain that creates.”

The Zenzeleni community networks serve areas where, over the last decade, its network was largely built alongside its energy infrastructure. Its lack of public services and infrastructure was a direct legacy of underdevelopment due to the Apartheid regime. When national and international health guidelines on COVID assume access to running water and other amenities, it just was not helpful or relevant.

“Our Stories, Our Internet”

Two of Zenzeleni’s initiatives were started to address this. The first was the Digital Community Notice Board. Though they had already zero-rated many websites for health and educational resources, they were finding that it was difficult to filter and make sense of it. The Notice Board curates information from credible sources, carries videos in local languages, and empowers people to filter information that is relevant to them.

The second project Sol shared with us was Amabali Wethu, Intanethi Yethu (“Our Stories, Our Internet”) Challenge. It came out of the need for more content that is locally-created by indigenous black community members. The challenge calls for content in audio and visual formats and makes the content freely available on the networks across 65 hotspots. Those who create the works can win cash prizes to incentivize people to contribute and help people financially.

Sol emphasized that we need to think about tech as being not separate from people’s lives. The internet is a means to an end, not an end unto itself. Our networks ought to come out of our communities, and be designed according to actual felt needs.

Nodes that Bond

Marcela Guerra joined us from Monteiro Lobato, in the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo. She helps with her neighborhood association, Portal Sem Porteiras, whose main project is operating a local community mesh network. The network uses Altermundi’s Libre Routers for its 18 nodes and has over 200+ devices connected. They use Pirania, a captive portal system also built by Altermundi, to moderate the use of the network and gather micropayments to help pay for the ISP connection.

Marcela discussed the organizational hurdles of maintaining the network. With more than 12 people volunteering to maintain it, they made big changes to the way they organized themselves and have made its management more decentralized. They split themselves into five territories, where each group of volunteers is responsible for the connectivity issue of each area’s network. 

But as a community network, she said, the work can get very personal. Marcela said that neighbors often knock on the doors of network maintainers when they need internet connection. So they created a virtual channel with a made-up character to help answer those queries. A person is actually answering them behind the scenes, but the character helps to prevent people from getting attached to specific people. 

Of course, since all the volunteers are members of the communities themselves, it can be difficult to manage their time and priorities when you live there 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Marcela said that they’re trying to get more involved and are working on better governance so they can consider all their members’ perspectives and adapt as best they can.

In the meantime, they are opening a new physical location, a hub, for their community network. It’s a well-ventilated house where people can exchange knowledge and take care of personal business — to pay their bills, use a printer, and other tasks people need specialized devices to do. 

The other project Marcela coordinates is called Nodes that Bond, which works to shift women’s relationships with technology. They used to have in-person monthly women’s circles to build trust and connection with each other, which was important as they shared personal stories and shaped what they wanted to be able to do with their community network. 

Since the pandemic began however, they replaced the women’s circles with a podcast that collects testimonials on various subjects. Some of the episodes help women navigate tech documentation, and others help them as they go through a digital security orientation. She is now working with her team on an audio novella based on research from 2019 about local women’s stories of domestic violence. In order to anonymize the women’s identities, the novella will weave those into one story of a fictional woman. 

Marcela combines creativity and practical approaches to ensure her local network is both sustainable and accessible to the women and underserved in her community. 

Scrap Laptops + Raspberry Pis + Kolibri

Hiure Queiroz, tech lead of Coolab, supports the creation and maintenance of community networks in his local area. Like most places in the world, education in his community has been hugely impacted by COVID. He talked about how he is using the local mesh (which Marcela mentioned runs on Libre Routers) to provide educational resources to students. 

Hiure is relying on Kolibri, an offline educational application built by Learning Equality, which he said was the best app he found for peer-to-peer networks. He is equipping scrapped laptops with Raspberry Pis to wirelessly mesh the devices to build the peer-to-peer network. He named these devices “Frankenberries”. Students and teachers can then use the Frankenberriess to access the educational materials on Kolibri. 

Previously, students had to read and access educational materials on their parents’ mobile phones. With the Frankenberry laptops, students can more easily read and interact with the materials. Hiure is holding study groups with students and teachers to train them in using this system. 

In order to meet the urgent educational needs of his community under COVID, Hiure is building devices and fashioning them with the materials teachers require to teach their students. Just as important to this is the training he is holding to onboard them. 

Building Local Knowledge with Hypermedia and Mesh Mash Networks

Last but not least was TB Dinesh, who presented his work with Janastu, and Servelots. He is building free and open source technologies to address the needs of populations in the Global South, particularly indigenous communities and those experiencing systemic inequity and prejudice. Dinesh’s passion is building the tools for a truly inclusive Web, one that takes into account that still a large population of the world have low reading literacy.

Dinesh is based in a village that lies on top of a hill next to a valley, about one hour from the city of Bangalore in India. A mesh network connects his village to other villages across the valley. 

Janastu has built a radio storytelling platform atop that mesh network, enabling people to share their stories and knowledge using audio and visual media. They converted old phone booths into nodes for the radio, called Namdu1Radio. They are equipped with Raspberry Pis that allow people to walk up to listen to other people’s recordings or record their own with a push of a button. Dinesh noted that making the technology approachable this way is crucial. By making use of familiar infrastructure, like a phone booth, you can more easily embed new technology. 

But archiving this material in ways that low literacy people can contribute, was another challenge they wanted to address. Dinesh and his team have created hypermedia archives, using image-based web annotation technology to connect audio to other audio. Like hypertext, where text documents are interconnected with other text documents through links, hypermedia does the same using media. The archive tool allows people to drag-and-drop images to associate them to audio files. 

Their hypermedia project has been underway for several years. What have they had to change since the COVID lockdowns? This year, Janastu was planning to go to another village and build out their mesh network, radio, and hypermedia archive in an area 2000km away. The pandemic forced them to indefinitely postpone that project. 

Now Dinesh and his team are building what he calls a “mesh mash” — a mesh network with an overlay or logical network. Since building out the physical mesh network is difficult under the lockdown, they are enabling other devices, such as laptops or tablets connected through mobile cell service, to be part of the mesh.

They use IPv6 identifiers to allow those devices to connect and access the other nodes on the network. The mesh mash uses Syncthing to keep files synchronized and up-to-date across the mesh network. They use Yggdrasil to configure log-ins and host video streamed workshops that are broadcast across the network. 

Dinesh is currently building out Papad, the audio annotation tool. Like the hypermedia archives, the images can be dragged and dropped to related audio files. People can also add text tags to add another layer of annotation. For example, if an audio recording is about a math lesson, someone could find an image of numbers and arithmetic operators and add that to the audio file. This is all updated and available across the mesh network. 

Janastu Mesh Network Diagram

This allows people to not only contribute their knowledge and stories to the mesh network. It empowers people to organize and archive this shared knowledge so it’s discoverable, all without needing to be able to read or write. This shared hypermedia archive enables people to connect across similar interests, share recipes, and even offer gig services across the villages.

Dinesh’s projects emerge out of a passion for creating technology that is community maintained and developed. He believes in the potential of technology, combined with locally-available resources and knowledge, to bring about local futures that are more equitable and self-determining.

Reflections

As COVID spread throughout the world, even those in the most internet-connected, developed cities were susceptible to misinformation, conspiracy theories, and fake news. Here in the United States, COVID has exposed deep deficiencies in how we access accurate, reliable information, especially about what we each must do to mitigate this crisis in our communities. 

The Global Fellows showed us how their communities are taking control of their network infrastructure, to make the information that is shared on their networks more relevant, accessible, and valuable for themselves. It’s easy to become disillusioned with the centralized, top-down, and profit-based systems that those of us in urban and developed areas have come to rely on for our news and information. Seeing how the Global Fellows are innovating to create homegrown technologies to address immediate information and education challenges is truly awe-inspiring. 

What they are showing us is that “decentralization” is not only a matter of developing technology that is not centrally managed. It’s about building community, meeting people where they are, and approaching technology not as an end unto itself, but a means to address the real challenges that people face. 

Knocking Down the Barriers to Knowledge: Lila Bailey wins IP3 Award

Lila Bailey, Esq.—Policy Counsel for the Internet Archive

This week, Public Knowledge, the public interest policy group, announced the winners of its 17th annual IP3 Awards. IP3 awards honor those who have made significant contributions in the three areas of “IP”—intellectual property, information policy, and internet protocol. On September 24, the 2020 Intellectual Property award will be presented to Lila Bailey, Policy Counsel at the Internet Archive. 

“She has been a tremendous advocate and leader behind the scenes on behalf of libraries and archives, ensuring both can serve the public in the digital era,” said Chris Lewis, President and CEO of Public Knowledge. “Working at the intersection between copyright and information access, Lila has been instrumental in promoting equitable access to contemporary research through Controlled Digital Lending — the library lending practice currently under threat because of a legal challenge from large commercial publishers.” 

“My whole career has been leading up to this moment,” Bailey mused, speaking about her role defending the Internet Archive against the publishers’ copyright lawsuit. “This is what I went to law school to do: to fight for the democratization of knowledge.”

Lila Bailey, center, with lawyers and librarians Michelle Wu, Lisa Weaver, Jim Michalko, Michael Blackwell and Tom Blake in 2019, during visits to Capitol Hill where they helped explain Controlled Digital Lending to key legislators.

As a law school student at Berkeley Law, Bailey was a student attorney at the Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic, where she laid the legal groundwork for the Internet Archive’s Television News Archive.

In private practice at Perkins Cole, Bailey won the Pro Bono Leadership award for her tireless work defending the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine against a legal challenge. 

Bailey later went on to work for Creative Commons, helping to ensure that everyone everywhere has access to high quality, open educational resources. She served as a fellow at the Electronic Freedom Foundation, and later returned to Berkeley Law as a Teaching Fellow to help train the next generation of public interest technology lawyers. 

“Now that our lives are largely online, copyright law, which is supposed to promote creativity and learning, sometimes creates barriers to these daily activities. The work I am doing is to try to clear some of those barriers away so we can realize that utopian vision of universal access to knowledge.”

–Lila Bailey

Since joining the Internet Archive as Policy Counsel in 2017, Bailey has focused on building a community of practice around Controlled Digital Lending (CDL). Although the library practice has existed for more than a decade, Bailey has been working with Michelle Wu, Kyle K. Courtney, David Hansen, Mary Minow and other legal scholars to help libraries navigate the complex legal framework that allows libraries to bring their traditional lending function online. Today, with hundreds of endorsers, Controlled Digital Lending defines a legal pathway for libraries to digitize the books they already own and lend them online in a secure way. 

“As a copyright lawyer, I find her to be an incredibly inspiring colleague, a natural leader, and great person,” said Harvard Copyright Advisor, Kyle Courtney, who works with Bailey on the CDL Task Force. “I know that her work creates a multiplier effect that can inspire others, like myself, to advocate for greater access to culture and enhance a library’s role in the modern world.”

So what drives this intellectual property warrior forward? “Access to knowledge matters to everyone. It’s the great equalizer. That is what the internet has given us—this vision of everyone having equal ability to learn and also to teach, to read and also to speak,” she explained. “Now that our lives are largely online, copyright law, which is supposed to promote creativity and learning, sometimes creates barriers to these daily activities. The work I am doing is to try to clear some of those barriers away so we can realize that utopian vision of universal access to knowledge.”

On September 24, IP3 Awards will also be presented to Matthew Rantanen (Canadian Cree), Director of Technology for the Southern California Tribal Chairmen’s Association and Director for the Tribal Digital Village Network InitiativeGeoffrey C. Blackwell (Chickasaw, Choctaw, Omaha, Muscogee Creek), Chief Strategy Officer and General Counsel for AMERIND, for their work establishing AMERIND Critical Infrastructure, focused on closing the digital divide in Indian Country. Also being honored is Stop Hate for Profit, a campaign that organized a mass boycott of Facebook advertising.

Previous IP3 Award winners include Bailey’s mentors Professor Pam Samuelson and Internet Archive founder, Brewster Kahle; along with many of her heroes including professors Peter Jaszi, Lateef Mtima, and Rebecca Tushnet. Be sure to attend the award ceremony on September 24, 6-8 PM ET,  by registering here.

Even More Impacts of the National Emergency Library and Controlled Digital Lending

This is the third part in a series of testimonials from patrons who used the National Emergency Library and continue to use controlled digital lending to borrow books from our library (you can read the previous posts here and here). If you’d like to share your story of how you used the NEL while it was open, or how you are still using our lending library today, please leave a testimonial.

The following statements are condensed from testimonials sent to the Internet Archive:

Andrea N., Freehold, New Jersey, Reader: “I used the National Emergency Library for personal reading through the pandemic. I am a high-risk person for [COVID-19], so I have been very limited for the last three months.  I am also disabled and cannot easily visit the library even when it is open to check out books. I’ve relied on the Internet Archive for many years to find things to read to help me occupy my time when I can’t do much of anything else but read.  It was nice to have a wide selection of books to read during this time.”

Mirrah, Student

Mirrah, Sunderland, Massachusetts, Student: Mirrah writes that the National Emergency Library and controlled digital lending “allowed me to move ahead with my studies instead of getting stumped and trying to resort to irrelevant materials. Without Internet Archive, even my university’s library (that I’m paying tuition to access) is severely stunted in its online form.” Mirrah also encourages us to consider accessibility, writing, “I think people really underestimate the importance of accessibility in educational materials. It’s very difficult to understand the impact something you don’t have access to *could* have. Much easier to take for granted the things we already have access to, thinking it is so for everyone.”

Tom C., Omaha, Nebraska, Researcher: For Tom, the National Emergency Library was a source of entertainment. “It kept the isolation of a retiree by himself bearable, even fun sometimes. Keep on making obscure books available!”

Cindy Y., Toccoa, Georgia, Reader: Cindy used the National Emergency Library “as a replacement for Stephens County Public Library. It still has limited hours it is open.” As someone who reads for enjoyment, Cindy writes that the NEL “was a refreshing way to spend endless days at home. The entertainment was fabulous and an essential part of my life. From a young girl I enjoyed reading books like Trixie Belden mysteries to Pippi Longstocking adventures. I believe reading is essential to life. Remember the pack horse librarians and their service? Digital is ours. NEL is the pack horse librarian.” Editorial note: Learn more about the Pack Horse Library Project

Many of my students didn’t have access to some of their books when they were sent home for closure during COVID-19. I was able to find an edition of the main book needed and point students toward checking out the book. This was essential for my students who couldn’t afford to repurchase the book in a digital format.

Lauren K., Seattle, Washington, Educator

Tori K., Oxnard, California, Reader: “I read ancient history and religion books, which are not found in public libraries.” Tori is another reader that used the NEL for personal safety during quarantine and beyond. “The ability to read in the safety of my home is priceless because I have an autoimmune disease.”

Suvadip S., Researcher

Suvadip S., Durgapur, India, Researcher: Suvadip used the National Emergency Library to access materials that weren’t available to him in India. “I live in a small city in India. I couldn’t have afforded these books. Neither do we have such library facilities. It was like a boon for me in such difficult times. Please initiate NEL again during this difficult period.”

Karen T., Sacramento, California, Reader: Karen writes of the National Emergency Library, “It was a life saver. My local library, of which I am a regular patron, was closed and the selection of ebooks available online was limited. Being able to access the National Emergency Library made my stay at home more bearable.”

How Internet Archive and controlled digital lending can help course reserves this fall

Webster Library’s Course Reserves Room, Concordia University by Librarianpam under CC BY-SA 4.0

I host regular webinars about the Internet Archive’s Open Libraries program, helping librarians and others understand how controlled digital lending works, and how their library can make their print collections available to users online. The question of how to safely handle course reserves is clearly among the top priorities for academic librarians as they approach fall semester, just a few short weeks away. At nearly every webinar session since early March, and certainly every session this summer, librarians have raised the question of how controlled digital lending can work for course reserves.  

We’re getting such a large number of inquiries on this topic that I thought it would be helpful to outline how Internet Archive’s Open Libraries program and controlled digital lending can help your library with course reserves this fall, and where we may have limitations in supporting your full suite of needs.

What are course reserves?

Course reserves are books & other materials that instructors and students need for particular courses. Materials are requested to be put “on reserve” by the instructor. The library sources those materials and either provides digital access (born digital or scanned) or physical access to the items. 

  • If physical, the library holds a copy behind the circulation desk or in a special room (like the beautiful Course Reserves room in Webster Library at Concordia University, above), and students check out & read the book for a limited period of time. After that time expires, the work is returned and made available for the next student.
  • If digital, the item goes into the library’s e-reserves system and/or the course learning management system, such as Google Classroom, Blackboard, or Canvas, where it can be accessed by students enrolled in the class.

What’s the challenge with course reserves this fall?

Academic libraries have remained open and operational throughout COVID-19 closures, many working with limited-to-no onsite staff.  Their operations were already digital, but distance learning and health and safety issues related to lending physical materials have put a renewed emphasis on digital delivery for fall semester.  As libraries work to meet the needs of students and faculty returning to instruction this fall—either in person, online, or hybrid models—the demand for new ways of managing and serving course reserves is significant.

How can Internet Archive help?

  • Our lending library of 1.5M digitized books is available to your patrons right now.  Our books are available to borrow by anyone with an email address and an internet connection, with a simple signup form.
  • By default our books circulate for one hour, following the usage pattern of our own users and HathiTrust’s Emergency Temporary Access Service. When we have additional copies, books can also be checked out for 14 days.
  • If your library joins the Open Libraries program, we can process your course reserves list (either in MARC format or just a list of ISBNs) and give you back links to the books we’ve already digitized. You can incorporate those links back into your catalog, course reserves system, or learning management system.
    • To be clear, you don’t have to join the program to access our books. Anyone can link to our books right now. If you join, we’ll analyze your records for matches and give you back links. You can also opt to put one copy of your matched books into controlled digital lending so that we have an additional copy to lend, but again, that’s not required.
  • If we don’t have a book you need, you can help bump it up higher in our acquisition wish list by completing this Course Reserves request form, which will ask you to submit the book’s ISBN, title, author, year published, and anticipated # students in the course.
  • If you have a book that we don’t have, and you want to make it available to users to check out online through controlled digital lending, we can work with you to upload your book into our CDL environment. Please read our program limitations below, and reach out to learn more.

Limitations

Internet Archive’s controlled digital lending service is not a perfect match for all course reserve scenarios. You should consider the following program limitations as you plan for fall semester:

  • Your patrons will have to create an account at archive.org to check out books. We don’t connect to eduroam or Shibboleth for single-sign on. (If you’re interested in helping us implement and integrate a Shibboleth connection let us know.) 
  • You can’t limit users for a particular book to students at your school or students in a particular course. We lend to anyone with an archive.org account.
  • We don’t have a calendaring and notification system for one hour loans. Our one hour borrows are first come, first served. We do have waitlists and a notification system for 14 day loans.
  • Books added to CDL or requested to be added to CDL must be published in 2015 or earlier. If you have special needs for accessible texts for more recent books, please reach out.

We understand that our implementation of CDL won’t work for every course reserves use case. We offer our collection to assist libraries and schools in connecting students with books this fall semester. We are guided by our library’s mission to provide “universal access to all knowledge,” especially as library service and educational systems are disrupted due to COVID-19. If you have additional questions about how we can help that are not addressed here, please reach out.

ESSENTIAL MUSIC: Concerts From Home

by Peggy Lee and Wendy Hanamura

“That’s how I think of it now: listening as intimacy. My shoulders dropped. The muscles in my neck and face relaxed. I breathed more deeply.”

—Donald Antrim, “How Music Can Bring Relief During These Anxious Times,” The New Yorker
Santa Cruz-based steel lap guitarist, Bill Walker, performing some “essential music,” in a virtual concert from home.

Every Monday at 9:55 a.m., the concerts begin. Lap steel guitarists. Feminist indie folk bands. Improvisational cellists. For the Internet Archive staff, spread across many continents, these ten-minute concerts that begin and end our work week create an aural bubble where listening together feels intimate, uplifting. For us this music has somehow become, yes, essential. For the artists, zooming in from makeshift home stages, the chance to perform live for our staff of 100+ creates a connection with an audience that has been severed during the pandemic. “It was so nourishing to be supported, not only emotionally, but also financially at a time when musicians are being hit incredibly hard,” said singer-songwriter, Annie Hart. “It made my art feel valued and appreciated and helped me continue to make more.”


The idea to create this impromptu concert series originated with Alexis Rossi, who heads the Internet Archive’s Collections team. Five minutes before our Monday morning and Friday lunch staff zoom meetings, Alexis and Web Archiving Program Manager, Peggy Lee, act as virtual stage managers, getting performers dialed in, audio levels tweaked. The Internet Archive pays performers a small fee and staffers “tip” the artists through paypal or Venmo. “”I have several friends who are full time performers, and shelter in place completely destroyed their ability to work and make a living,” explains Rossi. “So I jumped at the chance to help book acts because I knew that even a little bit of income would help.”

Jess Sah Bi performs original music in in French, Gouro, and English.

“The music series has been a way we bring people into our house, the place where we come together as a community, and have this shared experience together. I love those ten minutes.”

—Peggy Lee, Co-producer, Essential Music

What started as a fun idea has solidified into ESSENTIAL MUSIC: Concerts From Home, a program that we believe could be replicated anywhere, offering organizations many intangible benefits. “The Internet Archive’s live performances have been such a bright spot in my week,” says engineer, Jason Buckner. “They bring such a positive energy to our meetings and you can see it in the faces of everyone watching on Zoom.”  Just ten minutes of music seems to have a magical effect on staff: inspiration.  “Seeing other creatives excel at what they do helps bind me closer to my work,” agrees Isa Herico Velasco, Internet Archive engineer. “It affirms what we are actually stewarding: the preservation and celebration of humanity.”

Here are some of the Essential Music concerts, recorded and shared by permission of the artists:

Ainsley Wagoner / Silverware (6/16/20)

Ainsley Wagoner creates ethereal music as the artist, Silverware. Ainsley is also a product designer who co-created the super cool OAM project — an experiment in mixing sound, colours, and geometries on the web. “Performing is one of my favorite parts about being a musician,” says Wagoner. “Even though I have recorded music online, nothing beats playing a song live. For now, I don’t have an in-person performance outlet, so it felt really good to do that virtually with the Internet Archive.”

Alex Spoto (6/22/20) 

Alex is a multi-instrumentalist who has performed and recorded with Last Good Tooth, Benjamin Booker, and many others. He is a longtime contributor for Aquarium Drunkard and the co-author of Fowre 2: Gone Country, a book of interviews with contemporary Country musicians. He got his start playing classical violin, then ‘old-time’ folk music, and then improvised “free” music. He is currently musically obsessed with cajun fiddling, old cumbia, the jazzier side of Merle Haggard, the polyrhythmic foundation of Saharan folk music, the sly and sensitive folkways of Michael Hurley, and the Internet Archive’s 78 project!

Vickie Vertiz (6/26/20)

The oldest child of an immigrant Mexican family, Vickie Vértiz was born and raised in Bell Gardens, a city in southeast Los Angeles County. Her writing is featured in the New York Times magazine, the San Francisco Chronicle, Huizache, Nepantla, the Los Angeles Review of Books,  KCET Departures, and the anthologies: Open the Door (from McSweeney’s and the Poetry Foundation), and The Coiled Serpent (from Tia Chucha Press), among many others. 

Vértiz’s first full collection of poetry, Palm Frond with Its Throat Cut, published in the Camino del Sol Series by The University of Arizona Press won a 2018 PEN America literary prize. Vickie is a proud member of Colectivo Miresa, a feminist cooperative speaker’s bureau, her first poetry collection, Swallows, is available from Finishing Line Press. She teaches at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Jess Sylvester / Marinero (6/29/20)

Jess Sylvester is a Bay Area chicanx songwriter/composer, also known as Marinero. Marinero is known for his dreamy, cholo-fi signature style of taking samples of 60s latin music and adding spacey pop flavors. His newest album, Trópico de Cáncer, is rooted in bossa nova and Tropicália sounds. Watch his profile in Content Magazine.

Sylvester says: “I was actually touched by the introduction given to me right before playing a song for their team. It was a shock to hear the level of research they had done referencing my life and past projects, and in retrospect made sense considering it was the Internet Archive just living up to their name.” Thank you for listening to my music and making me feel heard and supported.”

Ivan Forde (7/6/20)

Ivan Forde is a Guyanese-born, Harlem artist. Forde (b. 1990) works across sound performance, printmaking, digital animation and installation. Using a wide variety of photo-based and print-making processes (and more recently music and performance), Ivan Forde retells stories from epic poetry casting himself as every character. His non-linear versions of these time-worn tales open the possibility of new archetypes and alternative endings. By crafting his own unique mythology and inserting himself in historical narratives, he connects the personal to the universal and offers a transformative view of prevailing narratives in the broader culture. 

Zachary James Watkins (7/10/20)

Zachary James Watkins is an Oakland-based sound artist. He was one-half of the defunct duo Black Spirituals and is now part of the current duo Watkins/Peacock. Zachary has received commissions from Cornish, The Microscores Project, The Beam Foundation, Somnubutone, the sfSoundGroup and the Seattle Chamber Players. He has shared bills with Earth, the Sun Ra Arkestra, and designed the sound and composed music for the plays “I Have Loved Strangers.” His 2006 composition Suite for String Quartet was awarded the Paul Merritt Henry Prize for Composition and has subsequently been performed at the Labs 25th Anniversary Celebration, the Labor Sonor Series at Kule in Berlin Germany and in Seattle Wa, as part of the 2nd Annual Town Hall New Music Marathon. Zachary has been an artist in residence at the Espy Foundation, Djerassi and the Headlands Center for The Arts.

Bill Walker (7/13/20) 

A gifted composer and instrumentalist, Bill Walker’s music has been described as cinematic, adventurous, and innovative. His solo performances create a rich tapestry of layered sounds, blending electric and acoustic guitars, lap steel guitars, and percussive guit-boxing with state of the art live looping techniques and sound design.

This Santa Cruz, CA-based musician was featured in Guitar Player Magazine for his collaboration with Erdem Helvacioglu on the critically acclaimed CD, “Fields and Fences”. To hear more tune in to his YouTube channel.

Jennifer Cheng (7/17/20)

Jennifer S. Cheng’s work includes poetry, lyric essay, and image-text forms exploring immigrant home-building, shadow poetics, and the feminine monstrous. She is the author of MOON: LETTERS, MAPS, POEMS, selected by Bhanu Kapil for the Tarpaulin Sky Award, and HOUSE A, selected by Claudia Rankine for the Omnidawn Poetry Prize. She is a 2019 NEA Literature Fellow and graduated from Brown University, the University of Iowa, and San Francisco State University. 

Jess Sah Bi (7/17/20)

Jess Sah Bi, with his musical partner, Peter One, is one of the most popular musical acts in West Africa, performing to stadium-sized audiences at home in the Ivory Coast and throughout Benin, Burkina Faso, and Togo. Their album, Our Garden Needs Its Flowers, originally thrust them into stardom in the late ’80s. The album was inspired both by classic American country and folk music and the traditions of Ivorian village songs, but it focused thematically on the political turmoil of the region. Songs are sung in French, Gouro, and English.

Theresa Wong (7/24/20)

Theresa Wong is a Berkeley-based composer, cellist and vocalist active at the intersection of music, experimentation, improvisation and the synergy of multiple disciplines. Bridging sound, movement, theater and visual art, her primary interest lies in finding the potential for transformation for both the artist and receiver alike.
Her works include The Unlearning (Tzadik), 21 songs for violin, cello and 2 voices inspired by Goya’s Disasters of War etchings, O Sleep, an improvised opera for an 8 piece ensemble exploring the conundrum of sleep and dream life. In 2018, Theresa founded fo’c’sle, a record label dedicated to adventurous music from the Bay Area and beyond. Theresa has shared her work internationally at venues including Fondation Cartier in Paris, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, Cafe Oto in London, Festival de Arte y Ópera Contemporánea in Morelia, Mexico and The Stone and Roulette in New York City.

After her performance, the artist wrote, “I could sense the spirit reaching out beyond glass and pixels, sparking back to life that basic need of connecting with others.”

Libraries lend books, and must continue to lend books: Internet Archive responds to publishers’ lawsuit

Yesterday, the Internet Archive filed our response to the lawsuit brought by four commercial publishers to end the practice of Controlled Digital Lending (CDL), the digital equivalent of traditional library lending. CDL is a respectful and secure way to bring the breadth of our library collections to digital learners. Commercial ebooks, while useful, only cover a small fraction of the books in our libraries. As we launch into a fall semester that is largely remote, we must offer our students the best information to learn from—collections that were purchased over centuries and are now being digitized. What is at stake with this lawsuit? Every digital learner’s access to library books. That is why the Internet Archive is standing up to defend the rights of  hundreds of libraries that are using Controlled Digital Lending.

The publishers’ lawsuit aims to stop the longstanding and widespread library practice of Controlled Digital Lending, and stop the hundreds of libraries using this system from providing their patrons with digital books. Through CDL, libraries lend a digitized version of the physical books they have acquired as long as the physical copy doesn’t circulate and the digital files are protected from redistribution. This is how Internet Archive’s lending library works, and has for more than nine years. Publishers are seeking to shut this library down, claiming copyright law does not allow it. Our response is simple: Copyright law does not stand in the way of libraries’ rights to own books, to digitize their books, and to lend those books to patrons in a controlled way.  

What is at stake with this lawsuit? Every digital learner’s access to library books. That is why the Internet Archive is standing up to defend the rights of  hundreds of libraries that are using Controlled Digital Lending.

“The Authors Alliance has several thousand members around the world and we have endorsed the Controlled Digital Lending as a fair use,” stated Pamela Samuelson, Authors Alliance founder and Richard M. Sherman Distinguished Professor of Law at Berkeley Law. “It’s really tragic that at this time of pandemic that the publishers would try to basically cut off even access to a digital public library like the Internet Archive…I think that the idea that lending a book is illegal is just wrong.”

These publishers clearly intend this lawsuit to have a chilling effect on Controlled Digital Lending at a moment in time when it can benefit digital learners the most. For students and educators, the 2020 fall semester will be unlike any other in recent history. From K-12 schools to universities, many institutions have already announced they will keep campuses closed or severely limit access to communal spaces and materials such as books because of public health concerns. The conversation we must be having is: how will those students, instructors and researchers access information — from textbooks to primary sources? Unfortunately, four of the world’s largest book publishers seem intent on undermining both libraries’ missions and our attempts to keep educational systems operational during a global health crisis.

Ten percent of the world’s population experience disabilities that impact their ability to read. For these learners, digital books are a lifeline. The publishers’ lawsuit against the Internet Archive calls for the destruction of more than a million digitized books.

The publishers’ lawsuit does not stop at seeking to end the practice of Controlled Digital Lending. These publishers call for the destruction of the 1.5 million digital books that Internet Archive makes available to our patrons. This form of digital book burning is unprecedented and unfairly disadvantages people with print disabilities. For the blind, ebooks are a lifeline, yet less than one in ten exists in accessible formats. Since 2010, Internet Archive has made our lending library available to the blind and print disabled community, in addition to sighted users. If the publishers are successful with their lawsuit, more than a million of those books would be deleted from the Internet’s digital shelves forever.

I call on the executives at Hachette, HarperCollins, Wiley, and Penguin Random House to come together with us to help solve the pressing challenges to access to knowledge during this pandemic. Please drop this needless lawsuit.

Archive-It and Archives Unleashed Join Forces to Scale Research Use of Web Archives

Archived web data and collections are increasingly important to scholarly practice, especially to those scholars interested in data mining and computational approaches to analyzing large sets of data, text, and records from the web. For over a decade Internet Archive has worked to support computational use of its web collections through a variety of services, from making raw crawl data available to researchers, performing customized extraction and analytic services supporting network or language analysis, to hosting web data hackathons and having dataset download features in our popular suite of web archiving services in Archive-It. Since 2016, we have also collaborated with the Archives Unleashed project to support their efforts to build tools, platforms, and learning materials for social science and humanities scholars to study web collections, including those curated by the 700+ institutions using Archive-It

We are excited to announce a significant expansion of our partnership. With a generous award of $800,000 (USD) to the University of Waterloo from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Archives Unleashed and Archive-It will broaden our collaboration and further integrate our services to provide easy-to-use, scalable tools to scholars, researchers, librarians, and archivists studying and stewarding web archives.  Further integration of Archives Unleashed and Archive-It’s Research Services (and IA’s Web & Data Services more broadly) will simplify the ability of scholars to analyze archived web data and give digital archivists and librarians expanded tools for making their collections available as data, as pre-packaged datasets, and as archives that can be analyzed computationally. It will also offer researchers a best-of-class, end-to-end service for collecting, preserving, and analyzing web-published materials.

The Archives Unleashed team brings together a team of co-investigators.  Professor Ian Milligan, from the University of Waterloo’s Department of History, Jimmy Lin, Professor and Cheriton Chair at Waterloo’s Cheriton School of Computer Science, and Nick Ruest, Digital Assets Librarian in the Digital Scholarship Infrastructure department of York University Libraries, along with Jefferson Bailey, Director of Web Archiving & Data Services at the Internet Archive, will all serve as co-Principal Investigators on the “Integrating Archives Unleashed Cloud with Archive-It” project. This project represents a follow-on to the Archives Unleashed project that began in 2017, also funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

“Our first stage of the Archives Unleashed Project,” explains Professor Milligan, “built a stand-alone service that turns web archive data into a format that scholars could easily use. We developed several tools, methods and cloud-based platforms that allow researchers to download a large web archive from which they can analyze all sorts of information, from text and network data to statistical information. The next logical step is to integrate our service with the Internet Archive, which will allow a scholar to run the full cycle of collecting and analyzing web archival content through one portal.”

“Researchers, from both the sciences and the humanities, are finally starting to realize the massive trove of archived web materials that can support a wide variety of computational research,” said Bailey. “We are excited to scale up our collaboration with Archives Unleashed to make the petabytes of web and data archives collected by Archive-It partners and other web archiving institutions around the world more useful for scholarly analysis.” 

The project begins in July 2020 and will begin releasing public datasets as part of the integration later in the year. Upcoming and future work includes technical integration of Archives Unleashed and Archive-It, creation and release of new open-source tools, datasets, and code notebooks, and a series of in-person “datathons” supporting a cohort of scholars using archived web data and collections in their data-driven research and analysis. We are grateful to The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for their support of this integration and collaboration in support of critical infrastructure supporting computational scholarship and its use of the archived web.

Primary contacts:
IA – Jefferson Bailey, Director of Web Archiving & Data Services, jefferson [at] archive.org
AU – Ian Milligan, Professor of History, University of Waterloo, i2milligan [at] uwaterloo.ca