Tag Archives: brewster kahle

The 20th Century Time Machine

by Nancy Watzman & Katie Dahl

Jason Scott

With the turn of a dial, some flashing lights, and the requisite puff of fog, emcees Tracey Jaquith, TV Architect, and Jason Scott, Free Range Archivist, cranked up the Internet Archive 20th Century Time Machine on stage before a packed house at the Internet Archive’s annual party on October 11.

Eureka! The cardboard contraption worked! The year was 1912, and out stepped Alexis Rossi, director of Media and Access, her hat adorned with a 78rpm record.

1912

D’Anna Alexander (center) with her mother (right) and grandmother (left).

“Close your eyes and listen,” Rossi asked the audience. And then, out of the speakers floated the scratchy sounds of Billy Murray singing “Low Bridge, Everybody Down” written by Thomas S. Allen. From 1898 to the 1950s, some three million recordings of about three minutes each were made on 78rpm discs. But these discs are now brittle, the music stored on them precious. The Internet Archive is working with partners on the Great 78 Project to store these recordings digitally, so that we and future generations can enjoy them and reflect on our music history. New collections include the Tina Argumedo and Lucrecia Hug 78rpm Collection of dance music collected in Argentina in the mid-1930s.

1927

Next to emerge from the Time Machine was David Leonard, president of the Boston Public Library, which was the first free, municipal library founded in the United States. The mission was and remains bold: make knowledge available to everyone. Knowledge shouldn’t be hidden behind paywalls, restricted to the wealthy but rather should operate under the principle of open access as public good, he explained. Leonard announced that the Boston Public Library would join the Internet Archive’s Great 78 Project, by authorizing the transfer of 200,000 individual 78s and LPs to preserve and make accessible to the public, “a collection that otherwise would remain in storage unavailable to anyone.”

David Leonard and Brewster Kahle

Brewster Kahle, founder and Digital Librarian of the Internet Archive, then came through the time machine to present the Internet Archive Hero Award to Leonard. “I am inspired every time I go through the doors,” said Kahle of the library, noting that the Boston Public Library was the first to digitize not just a presidential library, of John Quincy Adams, but also modern books.  Leonard was presented with a tablet imprinted with the Boston Public Library homepage by Internet Archive 2017 Artist in Residence, Jeremiah Jenkins.

1942

Kahle then set the Time Machine to 1942 to explain another new Internet Archive initiative: liberating books published between 1923 to 1941. Working with Elizabeth Townsend Gard, a copyright scholar at Tulane University, the Internet Archive is liberating these books under a little known, and perhaps never used, provision of US copyright law, Section 108h, which allows libraries to scan and make available materials published 1923 to 1941 if they are not being actively sold. The name of the new collection: the Sony Bono Memorial Collection, named for the now deceased congressman and former representative who led the passage of the Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998, which included the 108h provision as a “gift” to libraries.

One of these books includes “Your Life,” a tome written by Kahle’s grandfather, Douglas E. Lurton, a “guide to a desirable living.” “I have one copy of this book and two sons. According to the law, I can’t make one copy and give it to the other son. But now it’s available,” Kahle explained.

1944

Sab Masada

The Time Machine cranked to 1944, out came Rick Prelinger, Internet Archive Board member, archivist, and filmmaker. Prelinger introduced a new addition to the Internet Archive’s film collection: long-forgotten footage of an Arkansas Japanese internment camp from 1944.  As the film played on the screen, Prelinger welcomed Sab Masada, 87, who lived at this very camp as a 12-year-old.

Masada talked about his experience at the camp and why it is important for people today to remember it. “Since the election I’ve heard echoes of what I heard in 1942,” Masada said. “Using fear of terrorism to target the Muslims and people south of the border.”

1972

Next to speak was Wendy Hanamura, the director of partnerships. Hanamura explained how as a sixth grader she discovered a book at the library, Executive Order 9066, published in 1972, which chronicled photos of Japanese internment camps during World War II.

“Before I was an internet archivist, I was a daughter and granddaughter of American citizens who were locked up behind barbed wire in the same kind of camps that incarcerated Sab,” said Hanamura. That one book – now out of print – helped her understand what had happened to her family.

Inspired by making it to the semi-final round of the MacArthur 100&Change initiative with a proposal that provides libraries and learners with free digital access to four million books, the Internet Archive is forging ahead with plans, despite not winning the $100 million grant. Among the books the Internet Archive is making available: Executive Order 9066.

1985

The year display turned to 1985, Jason Scott reappeared on stage, explaining his role as a software curator. New this year to the Internet Archive are collections of early Apple software, he explained, with browser emulation allowing the user to experience just what it was like to fire up a Macintosh computer back in its hay day. This includes a collection of the then wildly popular “HyperCards,” a programmatic tool that enabled users to create programs that linked materials in creative ways, before the rise of the world wide web.

1997

After Vinay Goelthis tour through the 20th century, the Time Machine was set to 1997. Mark Graham, Director of the Wayback Machine and Vinay Goel, Senior Data Engineer, stepped on stage. Back in 1997, when the Wayback Machine began archiving websites on the still new World Wide Web, the entire thing amounted to 2.2 terabytes of data. Now the Wayback Machine contains 20 petabytes. Graham explained how the Wayback Machine is preserving tweets, government websites, and other materials that could otherwise vanish. One example: this report from The Rachel Maddow Show, which aired on December 16, 2016, about Michael Flynn, then slated to become National Security Advisor. Flynn deleted a tweet he had made linking to a falsified story about Hillary Clinton, but the Internet Archive saved it through the Wayback Machine.

Goel took the microphone to announce new improvements to Wayback Machine Search 2.0. Now it’s possible to search for keywords, such as “climate change,” and find not just web pages from a particular time period mentioning these words, but also different format types — such as images, pdfs, or yes, even an old Internet Archive favorite, animated gifs from the now-defunct GeoCities–including snow globes!

Thanks to all who came out to celebrate with the Internet Archive staff and volunteers, or watched online. Please join our efforts to provide Universal Access to All Knowledge, whatever century it is from.

Editor’s Note, 10/16/17: Watch the full event https://archive.org/details/youtube-j1eYfT1r0Tc  

 

Locking the Web Open, a Call for a Distributed Web

Presentation by Brewster Kahle, Internet Archive Digital Librarian at Ford Foundation NetGain gathering, — a call from 5 top foundations to think big about prospects for our digital future.  (More detailed version)


Hi, I’m Brewster Kahle, Founder of the Internet Archive. For 25 years we’ve been building this fabulous thing—the Web. I want to talk to you today about how can we Lock the Web Open.


Code=LawOne of my heroes, Larry Lessig, famously said that “Code is Law.” The way we code the Web will determine the way we live online. So we need to bake our values into our code.

Freedom of expression needs to be baked into our code. Privacy should be baked into our code. Universal access to all knowledge. But right now, those values are not embedded in the Web.


IA_serversIt turns out that the World Wide Web is very fragile. But it is huge. At the Internet Archive we collect 1 billion pages a week. We now know that Web pages only last about 100 days on average before they change or disappear. They blink on and off in their servers.


map_China_RussiaAnd the Web is massively accessible, unless you live in China. The Chinese government has blocked the Internet Archive, the New York Times, and other sites from its citizens. And so do other countries every once in a while.


Censorship_flic.kr_p_gZZRQvSo the Web is not reliableAnd the Web isn’t private. People, corporations, countries can spy on what you are reading. And they do. We now know that Wikileaks readers were targeted by the NSA and the UK’s equivalent. We, in the library world, know the value of reader privacy.


It is FunBut the Web is fun. We got one of the three things right. So we need a Web that is Reliable, Private but is still Fun. I believe it is time to take that next step. And It’s within our reach.

Imagine “Distributed Web” sites that are as functional as Word Press blogs, Wikimedia sites, or even Facebook. But How?


Tubes_flic_kr_p_89HvvdContrast the current Web to the internet—the network of pipes that the World Wide Web sits on top of. The internet was designed so that if any one piece goes out, it will still function. The internet is a truly distributed system. What we need is a Next Generation Web; a truly distributed Web.


Peer2PeerHere’s a way of thinking about it: Take the Amazon Cloud. The Amazon Cloud works by distributing your data. Moving it from computer to computer—shifting machines in case things go down, getting it closer to users, and replicating it as it is used more. That’s a great idea. What if we could make the Next Generation Web work that, but across the entire internet, like an enormous Amazon Cloud?

In part, it would be based on Peer-to-peer technology—systems that aren’t dependent on a central host or the policies of one particular country. In peer-to-peer models, those who are using the distributed Web are also providing some of the bandwidth and storage to run it.

Instead of one web server per website we would have many. The more people or organizations that are involved in the distributed Web, the safer and faster it will become. The next generation Web also needs a distributed authentication system without centralized log-in and passwords. That’s where encryption comes in.


PrivateAnd it also needs to be Private—so no one knows what you are reading. The bits will be distributed—across the Net—so no one can track you from a central portal.


 MemoryAnd this time the Web should have a memory. We’d build in a form of versioning, so the Web is archived thru time. The Web would no longer exist in a land of the perpetual present.

Plus it still needs to be Fun—malleable enough spur the imaginations of a millions of inventors. How do we know that it can work? There have been many advances since the birth of the Web in 1992.


Blockchain_JavaWe have computers that are 1000 times faster. We have JAVAScript that allows us to run sophisticated code in the browser. So now readers of the distributed web could help build it. Public key encryption is now legal, so we can use it for authentication and privacy. And we have Block Chain technology that enables the Bitcoin community to have a global database with no central point of control.


NewWebI’ve seen each of these pieces work independently, but never pulled together into a new Web. That is what I am challenging us to do.

Funders, and leaders, and visionaries– This can be a Big Deal. And it’s not being done yet! By understanding where we are headed, we can pave the path.


DistributedWebLarry Lessig’s equation was Code = Law. We could bake the First Amendment into the code of a next generation Web.

We can lock the web open.
Making openness irrevocable.
We can build this.
We can do it together.


Delivered February 11, 2015 at the Ford Foundation-hosted gathering: NetGain, Working Together for a Stronger Digital Society

Open Library Buying e-Books from Publishers

The Internet Archive is on campaign to buy e-Books from publishers and authors; making more digital books available to readers who prefer using laptops, reading devices or library computers.  Publishers such as Smashwords, Cursor and A Book Apart have already contributed e-Books to OpenLibrary.org – offering niche titles and the works of best-selling “indy” authors including Amanda Hocking and J.A. Konrath.

“Libraries are our allies in creating the best range of discovery mechanisms for writers and readers—enabling open and browser-based lending through the OpenLibrary.org means more books for more readers, and we’re thrilled to do our part in achieving that.” – Richard Nash, founder of Cursor.

American libraries spend $3-4 billion a year on publisher’s materials.  OpenLibrary.org and its more than 150 partnering libraries around the US and the world are  leading the charge to increase their combined digital book catalog of 80,000+ (mostly 20th century) and 2 million+ older titles.

“As demand for e-Books increases, libraries are looking to purchase more titles to provide better access for their readers.” – Digital Librarian Brewster Kahle, Founder of the Internet Archive.

This new twist on the traditional lending model promises to increase e-book use and revenue for publishers. OpenLibrary.org offers an e-Book lending library and digitized copies of classics and older books as well as books in audio and DAISY formats for those qualified readers.

All Icelandic literature to go online?

Þorsteinn Hallgrímsson, formerly of the National Library of Iceland, had a big idea:  digitize all Icelandic literature all the way to the current day and make it available to everyone interested in reading it. The Internet Archive was eager to be a part of this bold vision. I am in Iceland now, and because the financial crisis and Icelandic reaction to the US Department of Justice’s subpoenaing the tweets and Facebook account of a sitting member of the Icelandic Parliament, this project may have the momentum it needs to happen.

Ingibjörg Steinunn Sverrisdóttir, the National Librarian, and Katrín Jakobsdóttir, the Minister of Culture, met to discuss this possibility this week. I have met with several other ministers and parliamentarians in the last few days to discuss how this could be done.

The total literature of Iceland is under 50,000 books, which is easily scannable in 2 years by 12 people using the scribe scanners of the Internet Archive. David Lesperance, a lawyer from Canada who has helped support the Room to Read project, has offered to fundraise for this project; the Internet Archive has offered scanning technology, training, and backend software; and the Library has offered to administer the project. A digital lending system could be a way that they decide to limit access to a book to one person at a time in order to balance the interests of the writers and publishers while still having some access to everything from anywhere forever for free. Egill Helgason, of the Icelandic TV network, interviewed Brewster about this (photo below, video on the Archive).

If they decide to go ahead, Iceland could be the first country to have its complete literature go online. Fingers crossed.

The next step beyond this that is interesting to many here is to have Iceland become a “Switzerland of Bits,” where the laws will help protect the historical record from foreign or corporate danger. This is being promoted by Birgitta Jónsdóttir, a member of parliament. The Internet Archive works with many libraries around the world, and everyone wants to make sure that the digital copies are safe for the long term. Iceland is taking steps to be a good place for this.

As an aside, with all their inexpensive “green” electricity from their hydro electric and geothermal plants, I found it interesting that they are growing some vegetables under lights in the long winters as a way to become more self sufficient. With LED lights that can be tuned to produce specific wavelengths at different parts of the growth cycle, this approach could be a fairly energy efficient way to grow food for their people.

-Brewster Kahle

Meeting with the Prime Minister of Greece

As an Archive first, Brewster Kahle and June Goldsmith met with the Prime Minister of Greece, the Minister of Culture, and the Minister of Education, and their respective teams as a member of 8 outsiders for 6 hours last friday to talk about educational technologies. We met in their equivalent of the White House. We were honored to be invited, but floored that there would be such dedicated time devoted to the subject at such a high level. It was heartening to see the Prime Minister and these top Ministers discuss and change their opinions based on studies and experiences relayed by domain experts that have no financial levers on Greek power.

We talked about reading tablets, digital lending programs, smart whiteboards, and digitizing their libraries. The National Library of Greece has approximately one million volumes in it, and about 7,000 to 8,000 new books are published in Greek each year.

As is widely known it is a difficult time in Greece because of the monetary crisis, and this was apparent in the streets because of strikes and graffiti.

I hope something comes of this meeting, but at least we were honored to have the chance to advise such a group.

– Brewster Kahle

“The e-book thing isn’t happening, it has happened.”

The ALA Midwinter held its annual meeting in San Diego on January 8, 2011. Moderated by Rick Weingarten, former director of ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy, the panel featured Internet Archive founder and digital librarian Brewster Kahle; Sue Polanka, head of reference and instruction at Wright State University and author of the e-book blog No Shelf Required; and Tom Peters, CEO of TAP Information Services.

You can watch video of the panel discussion at http://www.archive.org/details/alamidwinter2011. There is also an HD version.

A nice writeup of the conference held in San Diego, CA on January 8, 2011:
At ALA Midwinter, Brewster Kahle, Librarians Ponder The E-book Future

From the article:

‘“The e-book thing isn’t happening,” Kahle, noted “it has happened.” Kahle, who founded the Open Content Alliance, and Open Library project, a digitization program, offered a strong message to librarians: don’t let a few powerful corporations take control of the digital future. He expressed his longstanding concern over Google’s efforts to scan collections “and sell it back to us,” and urged libraries not to give up their traditional roles. “What libraries do is buy stuff, and lend it out,” he said, suggesting that libraries “digitize what we have to, and buy what we can,” but not to let the promise of licensed access turn libraries into agents for a few major corporations. “We do so at our peril.” He also urged more dialogue with publishers and vendors about the future of digital content and the role of libraries—but he also urged bold action.’

-posted by Jeff Kaplan

Brewster Kahle receives the Zoia Horn Intellectual Freedom Award

Brewster Kahle and Zoia Horn

On December 17, 2010 Brewster Kahle received the Zoia Horn Intellectual Freedom Award for successfully challenging a National Security Letter (NSL) issued by the FBI that demanded personal information about a user of  Internet Archive’s site, archive.org.

You can see the award presentation and hear Brewster recount the entire ordeal.

A number of articles were written about it at the time including:

FBI Backs Off From Secret Order for Data After Lawsuit

Brewster Kahle offers a cookbook for fighting security letters

From the articles:
“What we wanted to do out of this was to leave a very public cookbook for how to push back. That was our goal in our negotiations with the FBI. We would not have settled without being able to talk about what the letters look like, how to push back and who to call.” -Brewster Kahle

Zoia Horn presented the award and spoke of her own ordeal as the first librarian to be jailed for refusing to divulge information that violated her belief in intellectual freedom during the 1972 conspiracy trial of the “Harrisburg Seven” anti-war activists.

You can also see photos of the lunch event at Internet Archive prior to the presentation in the great hall.

-Jeff Kaplan