Tag Archives: CDL

Digital Fluency is Key to Learning this Fall and Beyond

By Matt Poland, educational specialist

There’s little doubt that both learning and work require a high degree of technology use. As schooling continues to move online in response to COVID-19, students are expected to be able to access, process, manipulate, and interpret digital content. This has brought to light a significant skill that separates successful learners from those who struggle: digital fluency. Digital fluency is a step above “digital literacy.” Learners now need to know much more than just the basics of navigating the internet, writing an email, and making their way around common productivity applications like spreadsheets. Digital fluency includes skills such as using technology tools for collaboration, marshaling online resources to solve a problem, and evaluating the accuracy of a source.

Despite the “whiz-kid” reputation of Generation Z, an alarming number of high school students lack the appropriate level of digital fluency. This set of skills is part of a larger group of key work and learning aptitudes called 21st Century Skills. A lack of digital fluency can harm students’ futures as they progress into college and careers where these skills are necessary.

Students and teachers can use Internet Archive as a collaborative tool for sharing books and digital content across remote teams or classrooms, removing the physical barriers of access to books and collaborators.

Fortunately, having students complete assignments with the aid of the Internet Archive’s digital library can help build digital fluency. Students and teachers can use Internet Archive as a collaborative tool for sharing books and digital content across remote teams or classrooms, removing the physical barriers of access to books and collaborators. They can use digital libraries like Internet Archive to conduct research for assignments, with access to 20th-century texts that aren’t available from other sources. Finally, they can cross-reference sources to evaluate the accuracy of material they may find elsewhere on the internet.

Other features of Internet Archive’s digital library promote digital fluency for students as well. For example, the site includes advanced search and sorting features that are commonly used on research websites. It is critical for students to understand how to use the right keywords to find what they need, as well as how to find the most recent (or oldest) material, particular authors or publications, etc. On Internet Archive, this can be done from the advanced search options in the left toolbar. Sorting by the number of views, title, date published or the creator is available by clicking the appropriate header at the top of the search results. Even when you have the material you are looking for, you need to know how to find the specific content within it. You can do this at Internet Archive by using the search box in the upper right corner when a particular book is open on the screen.

Nearly a quarter of the way into the 21st century, learning is changing rapidly and digital fluency is becoming increasingly important for students. Tools such as Internet Archive’s digital library can help students develop these skills through activities like team collaboration, online research, and verifying sources. With multiple features that support learning in the classroom or remotely, teachers and students should consider Internet Archive a valuable resource for their work and learning.

Matt Poland is founder of MAP Consulting, an educational consulting firm specializing in workforce development.

Libraries have been bringing older books to digital learners: Four publishers sue to stop it

I wanted to share my thoughts in response to the lawsuit against the Internet Archive filed on June 1 by the publishers Hachette, Harpercollins, Wiley, and Penguin Random House.

I founded the Internet Archive, a non-profit library, 24 years ago as we brought the world digital. As a library we collect and preserve books, music, video and webpages to make a great Internet library.

We have had the honor to partner with over 1,000 different libraries, such as the Library of Congress and the Boston Public Library, to accomplish this by scanning books and collecting webpages and more. In short, the Internet Archive does what libraries have always done: we buy, collect, preserve, and share our common culture.

But remember March of this year—we went home on a Friday and were told our schools were not reopening on Monday. We got cries for help from teachers and librarians who needed to teach without physical access to the books they had purchased.

Over 130 libraries endorsed lending books from our collections, and we used Controlled Digital Lending technology to do it in a controlled, respectful way.  We lent books that we own—at the Internet Archive and also the other endorsing libraries. These books were purchased and we knew they were not circulating physically. They were all locked up. In total, 650 million books were locked up just in public libraries alone.  Because of that, we felt we could, and should, and needed to make the digitized versions of those books available to students in a controlled way to help during a global emergency. As the emergency receded, we knew libraries could return to loaning physical books and the books would be withdrawn from digital circulation. It was a lending system that we could scale up immediately and then shut back down again by June 30th.

And then, on June 1st, we were sued by four publishers and they demanded we stop lending digitized books in general and then they also demanded we permanently destroy millions of digital books. Even though the temporary National Emergency Library was closed before June 30th, the planned end date, and we are back to traditional controlled digital lending, the publishers have not backed down.

Schools and libraries are now preparing for a “Digital Fall Semester” for students all over the world, and the publishers are still suing.

Please remember that what libraries do is Buy, Preserve, and Lend books.

Controlled Digital Lending is a respectful and balanced way to bring our print collections to digital learners. A physical book, once digital, is available to only one reader at a time. Going on for nine years and now practiced by hundreds of libraries, Controlled Digital Lending is a longstanding, widespread library practice.

What is at stake with this suit may sound insignificant—that it is just Controlled Digital Lending—but please remember– this is fundamental to what libraries do: buy, preserve, and lend.   

With this suit, the publishers are saying that in the digital world, we cannot buy books anymore, we can only license and on their terms; we can only preserve in ways for which they have granted explicit permission, and for only as long as they grant permission; and we cannot lend what we have paid for because we do not own it.  This is not a rule of law, this is the rule by license. This does not make sense. 

We say that libraries have the right to buy books, preserve them, and lend them even in the digital world. This is particularly important with the books that we own physically, because learners now need them digitally.

This lawsuit is already having a chilling impact on the Digital Fall Semester we’re about to embark on. The stakes are high for so many students who will be forced to learn at home via the Internet or not learn at all.  

Librarians, publishers, authors—all of us—should be working together during this pandemic to help teachers, parents and especially the students.

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.  

–Brewster Kahle, July 22, 2020

Major Public Interest Group Launches Campaign to Let Libraries Fight Back

This month, Public Knowledge, a major public interest group promoting an open internet, launched a new campaign: Tell Congress to Let Libraries Fight Back

Fight back against what? you may be wondering. 

Put simply, the campaign asks Congress to clarify libraries’ right to buy and lend books today as they have done for centuries.

Today, amidst a skyrocketing demand for digital books, many books are not available on digital shelves at any price because there are no commercially available  digital versions of older titles.  This gap limits how libraries can serve their patrons.

“Many libraries are currently closed, and sadly it looks like they may be for months to come,” said John Bergmayer, Legal Director of Public Knowledge.  “We need to make sure that libraries can continue serving their communities, not just during the pandemic, but after, as tightened budgets put the squeeze on library services and limit the scope of their collections.”

Filling the Gap with Controlled Digital Lending

Libraries have begun making and lending out digital versions of physical works in their collections based on current legal protections—a practice called Controlled Digital Lending, or CDL. As Public Knowledge’s Let Libraries Fight Back campaign explains: 

CDL is a powerful tool to bridge the gap between print and electronic resources. Under CDL, a digital copy of a physical book can only be read and used by one person at a time. Only one person can “borrow” an electronic book at once,  and while it is being lent electronically, the library takes the physical book out of circulation.

CDL allows libraries to reach their patrons even when those patrons can’t make it to the physical library — a problem that’s been more prevalent than ever during the pandemic. Without programs like this, library patrons are prevented from accessing a world of content and information — and low-income, rural, and other marginalized communities are hit the hardest.

However, Public Knowledge acknowledges that the challenge extends beyond print materials. “Controlled Digital Lending makes it so that a library’s existing print collection is more useful, and can be accessed remotely,” explained Bergmayer. “But we also need to make sure that libraries can acquire digital-native books and other media under the same terms they have always operated under.”

Learn More

Public Knowledge believes a true solution may take Congressional action, so they are calling upon the public to tell Congress to ensure that libraries are free to buy ebooks and other electronic materials and lend them out, just as they can with physical media.

Learn how you can support pro-library policies with Public Knowledge’s Let Libraries Fight Back Campaign.

Digital Librarians – Now More Essential Than Ever

By Michelle Swanson, an Oregon-based educator and educational consultant

It’s time to consider adding another occupation to the growing list of pandemic-era “essential workers”: Digital Librarian.

With public library buildings closed due to the global pandemic, teachers, students, and lovers of books everywhere have increasingly turned to online resources for access to information. But as anyone who has ever turned up 2.3 million (mostly unrelated) results from a Google search knows, skillfully navigating the Internet is not as easy as it seems. This is especially true when conducting serious research that requires finding and reviewing older books, journals and other sources that may be out of print or otherwise inaccessible.

Enter the role of digital librarian. 

The role is not really new—librarians have been going digital for years. School and university librarians are typically early adopters of technology, tasked with training the teachers they serve. In the public high school where I taught during the 1990s, the library was home to the school’s first open-access computers, printers, and computer lab. Our librarian, like countless other school librarians across the nation, was the go-to source for answers to thorny technical questions. By the year 2000, the notion of a digital librarian was already well established in library science literature as a type of information professional who manages and organizes digital resources, provides functionality for information and electronic information services, and remotely mediates between users and resources. 

Using Internet Archive, librarians who oversee physical libraries shuttered during the current pandemic can supplement their digital offerings with a massive digital library of over four million books, including many out-of-print titles from the 20th century. Anyone with an email address can borrow books from the Internet Archive for free. 

Like other digital librarians, the staff at Internet Archive recognize that curation is important for users to get the most out of the collection. For educators, the library makes it easy to find resources by offering lists categorized by subject, author, reading level, grade level, and year published. In addition, advanced search functions are available to further sort the library’s holdings, including tools that let users search the collection for specific text phrases. Schools that want to fully unlock the potential of Internet Archive’s digital books should have school librarians and classroom teachers explore strategies for incorporating this resource into their distance learning plans.

While digital libraries can’t fully replace the important social and civic role that physical library buildings play in our communities, they do provide a critical service to educators and learners in this time of global need. And guiding learners through these online learning landscapes are our essential guides: the digital librarians.

Distance Learning Trends are Here to Stay

By Theron Cosgrave, a California-based educator and educational consultant.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced massive changes upon schools across the world. UNESCO (the education division of the United Nations) recently estimated that over 1.19 billion students have been affected by the pandemic–nearly 70% of the world’s student population. With schools closed, teachers and students have had to pivot from a face-to-face model to an online distance learning approach. And while the results have been mixed, the transition has accelerated key trends that can ultimately benefit teachers and students. 

If you’re looking for a silver lining to this educational experiment, it may be this: students and teachers are learning new skills and routines that can reshape how schools operate. Here are two trends reinforced by the distance learning approach and how teachers can take advantage of the Internet Archive’s digitized books to benefit student learning.

Trend 1: Teacher as Learning Coach

Distance learning has required teachers to shift their role from “knowledge source” to “learning coach.” Teachers succeeding at engaging students are blending flipped learning strategies with real-time interpersonal connections. Books available through the Internet Archive can help teachers guide student skill development as they access online resources.

Ideas for Teachers:

  • Share Specific Books: Teachers of K-2 students can encourage the development of foundational reading skills by directing students to read books to an adult in their home. Stories like Eric Carle’s A House for Hermit Crab or Arnold Lobel’s Frog and Toad Together are solid picks. As students improve their reading skills, books like an illustrated children’s dictionary can support vocabulary development and word fluency. 
  • Encourage Supplemental Reading: Once students have learned to read, they can read to learn. Middle- and upper-grade teachers can encourage students to explore topics of interest. For example, teachers can guide students toward collections of books about animals and pets or a set of books that feature black girls as the main character. Older students can be coached to pursue passion projects using the library’s collections.

Trend 2: School Happens Anytime, Anywhere

Over the past two decades, the digital revolution has put history’s most powerful information machine (the internet) in the pocket of smartphone users around the globe. And while some teachers have taken advantage of web resources for years, an army of educators across the globe are now poised to take full advantage of “anytime, anywhere schooling.” 

The traditional daily school schedule has given way to asynchronous teaching and learning. Going forward, more schools–particularly at the high school level and above–are likely to renegotiate how they use time and space. This shift makes learning more accessible to students who struggle with regular attendance or face temporary interruptions (like pandemics and weather-related school closures) in their schooling. 

Ideas for Teachers:

  • Explicitly Teach New Mindsets: Teaching students to view their education in a more holistic manner is essential. Students can be challenged to see learning as something that takes place wherever they are–at school, at home, or out in the community–and at all times throughout the day. Digital libraries like the Universal School Library can be enjoyed wherever internet access is available and at all times.
  • Encourage Reading Habits by Assigning Longer Works: In a world of social media saturation, students need to build their capacity to persist in reading longer texts. The always-on nature of the Internet Archive’s book collections makes it easy for students to access books whenever and wherever using a mobile device. This increased accessibility supports the development of daily reading habits, which teachers can foster by assigning longer texts. Works of fiction targeted to student reading levels are generally good bets for books that can push students to strengthen their reading muscles. 

The pandemic is accelerating the pace of change in education. As our understanding of teaching and school continue to evolve, teachers can take advantage of these trends by using the Internet Archive’s digital libraries to help students adapt to new ways of learning.

Preparing for Our Digital Fall Semester

Today, we answered an inquiry from Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) about our digital archiving and lending practices. Our response explains how important controlled digital lending is as a tool for schools and libraries as we all prepare for our digital fall semester. Communities around the country have urgent needs that are not being met by the ebook market. A generation of school children could be left behind if students do not have access to the learning materials they need, in the format they need. Controlled digital lending helps libraries to leverage the materials they have already purchased, within the library tradition and function, to meet the needs of learn-at-home students.

This year, the plans for K-12 and college campuses are changing by the day, but we know that most will have a fall semester take place at least partially online. And our communities need widespread and equitable access to instructional and research materials online.

Read our letter to Senator Tillis here.

Rafael studying

Open Library: A Tool for Student Equity during our Digital Fall Semester

By Michelle Swanson, an educator and national educational specialist from Eugene, OR

While education leaders and classroom teachers have discussed the growing issue of the Digital Divide for years, its severity has become painfully clear as classrooms have been forced online during school closures. The results of distance learning show low levels of engagement and progress for students from homes lacking internet access and devices. In addition, students facing the digital gap tend to have fewer books at home and live in communities struggling to keep libraries open. The pandemic has brought these serious equity issues to the forefront.

Closing the technology divide by ensuring that every student has a personal learning device and reliable internet access at home is a critical first step. Districts looking for guidance on 1:1 initiatives should look to ISTE’s definition of equitable technology access that makes up one of their “essential conditions” for supporting all learners.

Once students have a computer and WiFi, school leaders can look to the Internet Archive’s digital collections as one part of a multi-pronged strategy to address learner equity. Specifically, these online resources can be used to target issues of resource access, instructional rigor, and special needs access.

Resource Access Considerations

  • Book and Library Access
    By supplementing their onsite collections with online access to the Internet Archive’s Open Library, schools can extend a wealth of resources to all learners in a digital learning space that is open 24/7. Books can either be borrowed for one hour or two weeks, depending on availability.
  • Diverse Resource Access
    Open Library offers diverse reading materials to represent its readers. It includes books from the curated #1000 Black Girl Books list created by Marley Dias, a young girl determined to find books with main characters that looked like her. The collection includes books for younger readers like Karen Katz’ The Colors of Us and Chris Cleave’s Little Bee for older students.

Instructional Rigor Considerations

  • Standards-Aligned Books
    Providing rigorous instruction is an important equity strategy. To support high quality teaching and learning, the Internet Archive collections include texts suggested by the Common Core framework. For example, beginning readers can borrow books for reading aloud like Pat Mora’s Tomas and the Library Lady, while middle schoolers can explore Mildred Taylor’s Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry and high schoolers can tackle In the Time of Butterflies by Julia Alvarez.
  • Grade-Level Appropriate Books
    The Internet Archive’s digital libraries include grade-level appropriate collections that teachers can use to ensure that all students are appropriately challenged with complex and quality texts.

Special Needs Access

  • Read Aloud and Print Disabled Books
    For students who need or prefer to listen to and visualize the plot of a story, Open Library provides a read aloud option. When viewing a borrowed book online, students can click on the audio speaker icon and choose their preferred reading speed. For those who are visually impaired and have special software, print disabled books have been formatted through DAISY. These tools can support school efforts to employ a Universal Design for Learning approach. 
  • Print Disabled Collection
    To make access to print disabled books across the collection even easier to find, the Internet Archive has curated a Books for People with Print Disabilities section. Over 1.5M books are accessible through this page and cover the wide range of topics available in the broader library from History and Science to Children’s literature. 

Working toward educational equity should be core to the mission of every school. By supporting resource access, instructional rigor, and special needs access, tools like the Internet Archive’s digital libraries can help schools move toward this essential goal.

Educator at board

Reopening Schools Safely: Planning for Our Digital Fall Semester

by Matthew Poland, educational specialist

Across the country, educators are already anticipating Fall 2020, their first new school year in the time of COVID-19. While district leaders were forced to react quickly to state shutdowns months ago, they are now working on detailed plans with multiple strategic priorities for the Fall. Schools will likely need to limit the number of students and staff in physical spaces as much as possible and ramp up classroom cleaning protocols. At the same time, districts want to improve digital literacy and ensure students have remote access to engaging instructional materials.

With its online access to digitized books, the Internet Archive’s Open Library can be a strategic solution to address these issues. Open Library is a free, digital lending library of more than 3 million digitized books that can be read in a browser or downloaded for reading offline. They are protected from redistribution using publisher industry-standard controls. Below, we outline several key reasons why districts should consider making this powerful tool part of their plan for the 2020-21 school year.

Safety
With the pandemic still expected to be an issue in the Fall, districts will need to plan for social distancing and other safety precautions for students and staff. The CDC is advising schools to “close communal use shared spaces” such as the school library and to “avoid sharing books.” Decontaminating library surfaces and materials after student use may not be feasible and is probably not the best use of library staff time. Schools will need to rely more heavily on digital solutions to provide continuity of library service. Open Library can be one part of the solution, supplementing existing school online periodical subscriptions and services such as OverDrive.

Improving Digital Fluency
Being able to navigate a digital environment to conduct research, complete assignments and eventually perform job duties is a necessity for all students. This is referred to as digital fluency and is considered a key 21st century skill needed for success in both education and work. Teaching students how to navigate digital resources such as the Open Library can help build digital fluency as they search for information, develop lists of relevant materials and add edits to library entries if needed for their studies.

Building Out the Library Collection
The reality for most school districts is that they have a limited collection due to funding and physical constraints. Adding a free resource like the Open Library can augment a school library’s collection. From Where the Sidewalk Ends for younger students to The Great Gatsby for high school students, there are popular titles for every grade.

Offering Accessible Materials
Finally, the Open Library allows school districts to offer digital material in an accessible format, as well as offering additional digital titles to print disabled students. When viewing a book online, students can click an icon in the lower right to use screen reading software and have the book read aloud. Print disabled books specially formatted in DAISY are also available for those who are visually impaired and have special software to use this format (learn more about the program). Digital books can also be downloaded to the Adobe Digital Editions application for offline access. 

School district leaders have a lot on their minds in planning to reopen in the fall. Thankfully, the Internet Archive’s Open Library can be leveraged to increase safety, digital literacy, library collections, and resource accessibility. The fall checklist just got a bit shorter.

Matthew Poland is an educational specialist who works with educators and businesses on workforce development issues.

Two major library groups join chorus of support for controlled digital lending

This week, two major library organizations affirmed their commitment to the longstanding and widespread library practice of digitizing physical books they own and lending out secured digital versions. The practice, controlled digital lending (CDL), is the digital equivalent of traditional library lending. 

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) joined hundreds of individual libraries and supporters in signing a public position statement in support of controlled digital lending

ARL and SPARC collectively represent over 300 academic and research libraries in the U.S. and Canada. ARL advocates on behalf of research libraries and home institutions on many issues and its members include government institutions, including the National Library of Medicine and the National Archives, as well as the continent’s largest land grant institutions and Ivy League colleges. SPARC focuses on enabling the open sharing of research outputs and educational materials, arguing that such access democratizes access to information knowledge and increases the return on investment in research and education.

Announcing their support, SPARC said, “CDL plays an important role in many libraries, and has been particularly critical to many academic and research libraries as they work to support students, faculty, and researchers through this pandemic.” SPARC also issued a call to action to others in the library community to add their support.

ARL concurred, “CDL is a practice rooted in the fair use right of the US Copyright Act and recent judicial interpretations of that right. During the COVID-19 pandemic in particular, many academic and research libraries have relied on CDL to ensure academic and research continuity at a time when many physical collections have been inaccessible.”

The Internet Archive’s Open Libraries program is powered by controlled digital lending and we welcome the support of other libraries. As libraries are closed across the globe because of COVID-19, millions of digitized books are still available for free to be borrowed by learn-at-home students and readers.

Premier Religious School Donates Quarter of a Million Volumes to Internet Archive’s Open Library

Books from the Claremont School of Theology Library collection

Scholars will soon have online access to 250,000 research volumes from a premier theological school, thanks to a donation from the Claremont School of Theology to the Internet Archive. 

Strengths of the collection include Comparative Theology and Philosophy, Feminist Theology, and Afro-Carribean spirituality. In addition to the 250,000 volumes, the library is donating its Ancient Biblical Manuscripts Collection, the world’s largest collection of images of ancient religious (Jewish and Christian, biblical and extra-biblical) manuscripts, currently housed on microfilm. Half to three quarters of the collection contains images of manuscripts which are not currently available on the web from any provider. 

The donation stems from a 2019 decision by Claremont, an independent theological school in Southern California, to affiliate with Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. 

Claremont students began making the transition to studying in Oregon in the fall of 2019. 

The cross-state move also required relocating the institution’s Religious Studies research collection. Unfortunately, a large percentage of religious studies materials only exist in print and many tomes are out of print. 

The institution’s board worried about cutting scholars off during the move. Physical materials can be lent between research institutions via interlibrary loan, but that leaves unaffiliated researchers without access. And public health concerns during the COVID-19 crisis have given these arrangements an uncertain future.  

So the Board of Trustees authorized a donation to the Internet Archive so the 250,000 piece collection could be placed in the Internet Archive’s Open Library for controlled digital lending, and the Ancient Biblical Manuscripts Collection can be mobilized and made available online. The Internet Archive will find funding for the digitization and long-term preservation of the collections. 

Controlled digital lending allows a library to digitize a book it owns and lend out a secured digital version to one user at a time, in place of the physical item.

“Claremont School of Theology is delighted to partner with the Internet Archive in making accessible these prized collections of a research library for the general public,” said Dr. Jeffrey Kuan, President of Claremont School of Theology and Professor of Hebrew Bible. “Our alumni/ae are excited that they will soon have access again to the library that they had come to treasure as students.”

”The CST board approved this donation in large measure to increase global access to religious studies scholarship,” said Thomas E. Phillips, Dean of the Library at Claremont School of Theology when announcing the donation. “These volumes include many very important and very recent resources in the field.”

“The Internet Archive is delighted to add this important religious studies research collection to its Open Library program and make it widely available to scholars. This donation shows how a growing number of libraries are focusing on providing controlled digital lending access to their collections, to ensure legally purchased, library-owned and library-borrowed materials are available to researchers, readers and scholars regardless of where they live,” said Brewster Kahle, Digital Librarian and Founder of the Internet Archive.