BBC Modi Documentary Removal

We have observed some confusion about the Internet Archive’s removal of links to a BBC documentary about Indian PM Narendra Modi (“India: the Modi Question”). Internet Archive can confirm that it has removed links in response to DMCA takedown requests from the BBC.

Archive for Amateur Radio Grows to 51,000 Items

Internet Archive’s Digital Library of Amateur Radio & Communications is quickly growing to become an important archive of radio’s past and present. The collection has blossomed to well over 51,000 items related to ham radio, shortwave listening, scanners, and related communications. The newest additions include books, journals and magazines, newsletters, and archives of early Internet discussion lists.

More than 3,300 books and magazines are now available via controlled digital lending in the DLARC lending library. These materials, including hundreds of magazine and journal issues including Popular Electronics, RF Design, and General Radio Experimenter, can be borrowed for online or offline reading, one reader at a time, by anyone with a free Internet Archive account. DLARC has also added amateur radio magazines QST from 1912-1961, Radio & Television News from 1919-1959, and Radio magazine from 1920-1947.

Nearly 1,300 episodes of The RAIN Report, an audio program that aired news and interviews relevant to the amateur radio community from 1985-2019, are now available, including hundreds of lost episodes, thanks to the help of the program’s producer, Hap Holly. DLARC has also added the 700-episode library of the National Radio Club DX Audio Service, which reported radio-related news from 1985 through 2015.

The archive of radio-related podcasts now includes QSO Today, Linux in the Ham Shack, RAIN Hamcast, Amateur Logic, and others. 

Radio clubs are utilizing the DLARC archive to provide long-term backup of content and increase their visibility to new audiences. The Milwaukee Radio Amateurs’ Club, one of the oldest ham radio groups, is uploading its entire historical archive, an unparalleled collection of newsletters, correspondence, newspaper clippings, and meeting minutes documenting the group’s history. 

Other group newsletters include British Amateur Television Club’s CQ-TV, the CWops Solid Copy newsletter for Morse code enthusiasts, Boulder Amateur Television Club TV Repeater’s REPEATER, and Scope, the newsletter of the Palomar Amateur Radio Club. The DLARC library has also added newsletters from radio clubs around the world, including the Dutch Amateur Radio Union, the Chester & District Radio Society (England), and the defunct Canadian Amateur Radio Operators’ Association.

DLARC now archives papers and presentation slides from 41 years of TAPR conferences, including the ARRL and TAPR Digital Communications Conference, and the Computer Networking Conference. The collection is accessible like never before, full-text searchable and with detailed metadata. In addition, TAPR’s Packet Status Register newsletter, published since 1982, is also archived.

DLARC has also begun archiving amateur radio email discussion lists, so far making tens of thousands of discussion threads available and searchable — going as far back as the late 1980s — for the first time in decades. The selection includes INFO-HAMS Digest, Boatanchors (a mailing list for fans of vacuum tube radios), Packet-Radio Digest, and Ham-Digital Digest.

DLARC is funded by a significant grant from Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC) to create a digital library that documents, preserves, and provides open access to the history of this community.

The Digital Library of Amateur Radio & Communications invites radio clubs and individuals to submit collections of material, whether they are already in digital format or not. Anyone with material to contribute, questions about the project, or interest in creating a digital library for other professional communities, please contact:

Kay Savetz, K6KJN
Program Manager, Special Collections
kay@archive.org
Mastodon: dlarc@mastodon.radio

Still from Gnats Gonzalez short film Echo Echo

Public Domain Day Film Contest Highlights Works of 1927

At Internet Archive we love to see how creative people can get with the material we make available online. As part of this year’s Public Domain Day celebration we asked the greater community to submit short films highlighting anything that was going to be made available in the Public Domain in 2023.

For the contest, vintage images and sounds were woven into creative films of 2-3 minutes. Many of the films were abstract while others educational, they all showcased the possibility when public domain materials are made openly available and accessible for download.

 “The Internet Archive has spent  24 years collecting and archiving content from around the world…now is the time to see what people can do with it,” said Amir Saber Esfahani, director of special arts projects at the Internet Archive. He was an organizer and judge in the January short-film contest along with Yuanxiao Xu, who serves as Counsel at Creative Commons, and Rick Prelinger, who is an archivist and filmmaker, as well as a board member for the Internet Archive.

The judges reviewed 47 entries and chose a winner based on creativity, technique, engagement, and variety of 1925 content (including lists of all sources).

Contest Winners

First Place: Echo Echo by Gnats Gonzales

Second Place: The Public Domain Race by José Domingues and Leonardo Domingues

Third Place: Seeing Cats by Alex T. Jacobs

Honorable Mentions

There were so many amazing films that did not win the contest, so below are a selection of artists that we feel should get honorable mentions for their short films.

View all of the submissions at archive.org.

Public Domain Day Festivities Draw Global Audience of Enthusiasts

People from around the world — many wearing their best roaring ‘20s attire — came to the Internet Archive’s online party on January 19 to toast creative works recently added to the public domain.

The event was hosted in partnership with SPARC, Creative Commons, Library Futures, Authors Alliance, Public Knowledge, and Duke’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain.

Watch recording

View table of contents & speakers

“We’re celebrating works published in 1927 becoming open to all in the United States where we can legally share, post, and build upon them without permission or fee,” said Jennifer Jenkins of the Center for the Study of the Public Domain at Duke Law School. “You’re free to reimagine the characters, the events, the settings, the imagery, and use them in your own stories, musical plays, and movies.”

Librarians and archivists are eager to preserve these cultural materials, the vast majority of which are out of circulation. Now that they’re in the public domain, anyone can preserve them and digitize them — making them more discoverable.

“The public domain is important because it enables access to cultural materials that might otherwise be lost to history,” Jenkins said. 

Among some of the best-known works that entered the public domain in 2023 include books, such as To the Lighthouse by Virginia Wolfe and The Big Four by Agatha Christie; sheet music for The Best Things in Life Are Free and I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream For Ice Cream; silent movies such as Metropolis by Fritz Lang, Putting Pants on Phillip with Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy.

The first full-length film featuring synchronized sound was produced in 1927: The Jazz Singer with Al Jolson. 

Rob Byrne, a film restorer and president of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, explained at the event that previous films were not truly silent since every motion picture performance in the 1920s was accompanied by live musicians—from full orchestras in big cities to single piano players in small town theaters. The average American went to the movies more than three times every week, and international movies were accepted because there were no language barriers, Bryne added. 

Unfortunately, more than 80% of all the films produced prior to 1930 have been lost.

Even fewer films featuring Black casts made for Black audiences survived, said Cara Cadoo, associate professor of history, cinema and media studies at Indiana University. “Race has always been a part of the story of the American cinema,” she said. 

It was because she could easily view movies in the public domain that Cadoo said she was recently able to discover a clip from a lost Black film. Through some detective work, she identified footage from the 1917 film, “The Trooper of Troop K,” while studying another film from 2023. “This history is something that just in recent decades, people have taken seriously,” Cadoo said.

Interest in the public domain is global! The map above shows where our viewers watched the celebration.

Brigitte Vezina, director of policy and open culture at Creative Commons, explained that libraries, museums and archives still face big challenges simply to fulfill their mission in the digital world. (See report Barriers to Open Culture.) Institutions are working in an outdated framework and copyright policy reform is needed, she said. 

“We’ve been promoting open culture to build a more equitable, accessible, and innovative world,” said Vezina, citing its new call to action policy guide. “It’s based on this rich experience that our open culture program supports better sharing of cultural heritage globally.”   

Along with works celebrated from 1927, SPARC’s Nick Shockey talked about another important milestone in expanding public access to knowledge. In August, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy issued new guidance that requires the federal government set the default to open for all publicly funded research in the United States. 

“This will make over $80 billion each year in research produced with the support of U.S. taxpayer dollars immediately available to anyone online,” Shockey said. “The priority is part of a broader commitment to advancing equity in science and scholarship and recognizing the ways in which openness can be a powerful enabler of more equitable systems.”

The government has also set 2023 as the Year of Open Science. What is and is not publicly and openly accessible is a public policy question, said Shockey, noting the disappointing 20-year pause for the Canadian public domain.

“As we celebrate today, I hope the momentum that we generate can be channeled into ongoing advocacy to ensure that more and more of the knowledge that shapes our world is made available to everybody and to more fully realize the right of sharing knowledge,” Shockey said.

For an example of the value of free sharing of information from the federal government, Meredith Rose, senior policy counsel with Public Knowledge, highlighted NASA’s public posting of images from the Webb space telescope.

“Some things are born free,” said Internet founder Brewster Kahle. “Democracies around the world publish openly because they believe in education and they want it to be spread as widely as possible.”

Open does not always mean easily accessible, however. Kahle is working on Democracy’s Library, a project to gather government material from the U.S., Canada and around the world and preserve them in one place.

“This is the internet we’re dreaming of. Let’s go and make sure that it’s got all of the public domain materials publicly accessible – not just all those things that are from the classic era. Let’s go and celebrate the current public domain.”

Also presenting at the celebration was Rick Prelinger, an archivist, filmmaker, writer and educator. He began collecting ephemeral films (used for specific purposes such as advertising, educational and industrial films) in 1983. His collection of 60,000 films was acquired by the Library of Congress in 2002. He partnered with the Internet Archive to make a subset of the collection — now more than 8,500 films — available online for free viewing, downloading and reuse in the Prelinger Archive

Throughout the program, students from the Snowden International School (Boston) and the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of The Arts (San Francisco) read poetry newly entered into the public domain from Caroling Dusk: an anthology of verse by Negro poets by Countee Cullen.

Jennie Rose Halperin, executive director of Library Futures, and Lila Bailey, senior policy counsel at the Internet Archive co-hosted the party.

[Cross-posted blog with SPARC / Internet Archive]

As the US Public Domain Expands, 20-Year Pause for the Canadian Public Domain Begins

Festivities are planned on January 19 to recognize Public Domain Day and embrace the possibilities of new works freely available from 1927.

In the United States, the recent declaration of the federal year of Open Science and the White House memo unlocking publicly funded research outputs has buoyed the open community and its outlook on knowledge sharing.

However, the celebration will be muted in Canada where librarians and educators are assessing the impact of a vast expansion of the copyright term. 

Canada’s copyright protection for artistic works was extended as 2022 came to a close from life of the author plus 50 years—to life of the author plus 70 years. The change was the result of international trade negotiations in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), requiring Canada to bring its terms closer to that of the U.S.

Once items are in the public domain, they can be republished or repurposed without seeking permission or paying a rights holder. This allows libraries, museums, and archives to use materials freely for research and historical purposes, as well as post online archives of the important documents and creative works.

The change in Canada means books, movies, plays, and songs that were previously scheduled to be free from copyright  will not be in the public domain until 2043.

“It’s a disappointment and a feeling of mourning,” said Andrea Mills, executive director of Internet Archive Canada, of the policy change that prompted the cancellation of Public Domain Day parties in the country. “It feels more like we should have a wake.”

(Others share similar concerns about the negative impact of the policy change. See Reconsidering the Copyright Bargain: by Adian Sheppard, director of the University of Alberta’s copyright office; A bizarre 20-year hiatus: Changes to copyright term in Canada by Jennifer Zerkee, Simon Fraser University library copyright specialist; and an article Interminable pause: Government must address harm caused by extension of copyright term by Mark Swartz, a scholarly publishing librarian an Queen’s University.)

Canadians used to feel good about the annual Public Domain Day, with its shorter copyright term than the U.S., said Michael Geist, Canada Research Chair in internet and e-commerce law at the University of Ottawa. Now, the country is beginning to consider the ramifications of the new terms, including disruptions to digitization projects and the increased cost of materials that will remain under copyright for educational institutions.

“Not having an enriched public domain for 20 years creates some real harms,” said Geist, who is also a member of the Internet Archive Canada board. “The vast majority of works that have no commercial value at the end of their life will be locked down for an additional 20 years.”

The change will limit access to little-known Canadian authors whose works are often out of print, Mills said. (See her blog post: A Missed Opportunity to Revive Obscure Canadian Literature – Internet Archive Canada)

The policy change was buried in a budget bill and there was no public announcement, leaving many Canadians unaware, Geist said.

The extended protection was agreed to as part of closed trade negotiations, said Peter Routhier, a copyright attorney who is on the Internet Archive’s policy team. That kind of negotiation does not follow the same sort of open process as a democratic legislature. In these kinds of settings, commercial interests are often prioritized, and there are very few ways for the public to engage, he said.

Mills said these recent changes by the government have an “overall chilling effect” on copyright policy.

Before the copyright terms were extended, the Canadian government did hold hearings to consider registration solutions and exceptions to works entering the public domain. In the end, those proposals were not adopted.

When looking at thousands of works, there is value in the overall collective rights for the authors, Geist said. But, he noted, there are also education costs to acquire works and loss of creativity to revise works in new ways when materials remain under copyright.

“It’s hard to be optimistic,” Geist said. “But it’s in the realm of possibility the government could consider some [copyright exceptions], particularly for groups like librarians, archives, and museums. “The government has not shown a lot of interest in this issue. If anything, it has sort of done its best to try to keep it below the radar screen. We’ll have to wait and see.”

To advance the public interest, librarians in Canada, the U.S., and elsewhere are pushing for reforms to licensing agreements to e-books. With the pause for new works entering the Canadian public domain, advocacy to make knowledge open by default is even more important. 

The events in Canada are a reminder that what is—and isn’t—in the public domain is ultimately a policy decision and vigilance is needed to ensure the public interest is elevated in policy conversations about copyright.

Tune in to learn more about Public Domain Day at an event hosted by the Internet Archive in collaboration with partner organizations on January 19 at 4 p.m. ET. Register here. This year’s event will celebrate the theme, “The Best Things in Life Are Free,” and feature a host of entertainers, historians, librarians, academics, activists, and others.

[Cross posted with SPARC]

Welcoming 1927 to the Public Domain

This year we are welcoming works from 1927 into the public domain in the United States, including books, periodicals, sheet music, and movies

Big events of 1927 include the first transatlantic phone call from New York to London, the formation of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the first successful long distance demonstration of television, the release of the first popular “talkie,” The Jazz Singer, and the first nonstop transatlantic solo airplane flight, from New York to Paris, by Charles Lindbergh.

Movies

Despite the popularity of The Jazz Singer, movies were still mostly silent in 1927, including the gorgeous Metropolis by Fritz Lang. Laurel and Hardy’s first film, Putting Pants on Phillip, was released that year, along with an early Gary Cooper Western, Nevada, Joan Crawford in Spring Fever, Mary Pickford in My Best Girl, Clara Bow in Get Your Man, and Cecil B. DeMille’s King of Kings.

I was particularly taken with No Man’s Land, which gives top billing to a horse (Rex the Wonder Horse, in case you were wondering – if you’d like to follow his career he also starred in The King of Wild Horses and Black Cyclone). 

Or we can time travel with Koko the Clown in Koko in 1999 where they apparently thought that at the turn of the last century everything would happen via automation and you’d get a wife from a vending machine for 25 cents.  

Music

No new recorded music enters the public domain in the US this year — the next group of recorded music becomes available in 4 years, due to how the music modernization act is written — but we do have some fun new sheet music to explore. The biggies that are most remembered today are probably The Best Things in Life Are Free and I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream For Ice Cream. But you should also take some time to play Dream Kisses, The Desert Song, My Ohio Home, and Girl of My Dreams.

Periodicals

Thousands of issues of periodicals from 1927 are entering the public domain, some from titles that are still well known today like:

You may also want to check out copies of The American Girl (published by the Girl Scouts), check up on the financial markets leading up to the Great Depression in the The Financial Times, or research bling in The Jewelers Circular.

Books

The Sherlock Holmes books came to an end in 1927, and with it the release of The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan-Doyle (vol I and vol II). Other biggies include Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather and Mosquitoes by William Faulkner.

But as always, the most fun is to be had perusing the books from 1927 for hidden gems. Enjoy the gorgeous art deco designs in Ideas & studies in stencilling & decorating, for instance.

Some other fun titles include

Celebrate Public Domain Day

You can join us to celebrate public domain day two ways this year, virtually or in person.

We are having a virtual party on January 19, 2023 at 1pm Pacific/4pm Eastern. REGISTER FOR THE VIRTUAL EVENT HERE!

And the next day we will have an in-person Film Remix Contest Screening Party on January 20, 2023 at 6pm at 300 Funston Ave in San Francisco, to watch this year’s Public Domain Day Remix Contest winning entries. REGISTER FOR THE IN-PERSON PARTY IN SAN FRANCISCO HERE!

2022 Empowering Libraries Year in Review

The Internet Archive launched the Empowering Libraries campaign in 2020 to defend equal access to library services for all. Since then, threats to libraries have only grown, so our fight continues. As 2022 draws to a close, here’s a look back through some of our library’s milestones and accomplishments over the year.

In the news

  • When the war in Ukraine started, volunteers began using the Wayback Machine and other online tools to preserve Ukrainian websites and digital collections. The effort, Saving Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Online (SUCHO), now has more than 1,500 volunteers working to preserve more than 5,000 web sites and 50TB of data. 
    • Watch a compelling story about SUCHO from CBS News featuring Quinn Dombrowski, one of the project leaders from Stanford University, and Mark Graham, director of the Wayback Machine.
    • In May, we partnered with Better World Books on a book drive supporting Ukrainian scholars. BWB customers were able to donate $1 at checkout to acquire books cited in the Ukrainian-language Wikipedia for the Internet Archive to preserve, digitize, and link to citations in Wikipedia.
  • In October, we introduced Democracy’s Library, a free, open, online compendium of government research and publications from around the world. We hosted an in-person celebration that highlighted the critical importance of free and open access to government publications, and have continued framing out what Democracy’s Library is and why it’s necessary.
  • Internet Archive Canada opened its new headquarters in Vancouver, BC, alongside the Association of Canadian Archivists 2022 Conference.
  • More than 1,000 authors have spoken out on behalf of libraries, demanding that publishers and trade associations put the digital rights of librarians, readers, and authors ahead of shareholder profits. 
  • In a tumultuous year on social media, Internet Archive has added a Mastodon server. Why? We need a game with many winners, not just a few powerful players.
  • In an OpEd for TIME, Brewster Kahle, founder and digital librarian of the Internet Archive, warned, “the instability occasioned by Twitter’s change in ownership has revealed an underlying instability in our digital information ecosystem.”

The internet reacts to the lawsuit against our library

  • On July 7, 2022, the Internet Archive filed a motion for summary judgment, asking a federal judge to rule in our favor and end a radical lawsuit, filed by four major publishing companies, that aims to criminalize library lending. Check out the Hachette v. Internet Archive page at EFF for all filings and resources.
  • We hosted a press conference on July 8 about the lawsuit featuring statements from Brewster Kahle (Internet Archive) and Corynne McSherry (EFF), plus powerful impact statements from medical school librarian Benjamin Saracco and author and editor Tom Scocca.
  • Interest in the lawsuit crossed over into mainstream channels following a viral tweet about the filing, which kicked off a lengthy online conversation about library rights, digital lending and digital ownership.
  • After a series of standard filings across the summer and early fall, on October 8, Internet Archive filed the final brief in support of our motion for summary judgment, asking the Court to dismiss the lawsuit because our lending program is a fair use.
  • What does the lawsuit mean for the future of libraries? Internet Archive’s policy counsel, Peter Routhier, considers how the publishers view libraries based on their filings.
  • Check out the Hachette v. Internet Archive page at EFF for all filings and resources.
  • One message really resonated online—people were surprised to learn that the Internet Archive has a physical archive that preserves all the physical books we’ve acquired and digitized. 

eBooks, #OwnBooks & digital ownership

  • 2022 might go down as the year that people started to really understand what it means when libraries & individuals can no longer own content, like when streaming-only content vanishes from media platforms.
  • Musician Max Collins wrote in Popula how “owning media is now an act of countercultural defiance,” walking readers through his first-hand example of how the streaming model doesn’t work for artists, only corporations.
  • Brewster Kahle published, “Digital Books wear out faster than Physical Books,” countering the notion put forward by publishers that ebooks don’t wear out. In fact, Brewster notes that ebooks require “constant maintenance—reprocessing, reformatting, re-invigorating or they will not be readable or read.”
  • Brewster’s post sparked the interest of LA Times business columnist Michael Hiltzik, who expanded on the issues around digital ownership in “Here’s why you can’t ‘own’ your ebooks.”
  • To celebrate why it’s important to own books, and to help bring visibility to issues around digital ownership, we launched the participatory #OwnBooks campaign, which invited people to share photos with the oldest book, or most treasured volume, from their personal collection, like this signed copy of The Phantom Tollbooth.
  • Author Glyn Moody published his latest book, Walled Culture, as a free ebook that you can download and own, or as a physical book that you can purchase in print.
  • More publishers joined the movement to sell—not license—ebooks to libraries, including independent publisher 11:11 Press.

The future of libraries

  • In February, we launched Library as Laboratory, a new series exploring the computational use of Internet Archive collections. The series included segments from digital humanities scholars, computational scientists, web archiving professionals and other researchers.
  • To help librarians and other information professionals better understand the decentralized web, Internet Archive partnered with the Metropolitan New York Library Council, DWeb, and Library Futures for a six-part series, Imagining a Better Online World: Exploring the Decentralized Web
  • During this year’s National Library Week, we invited readers to Meet the Librarians who work at the Internet Archive, highlighting the new roles our librarians lead in support of our mission, “Universal Access to All Knowledge.”
  • Internet Archive joined with Creative Commons, Wikimedia Foundation and others in the Movement for a Better Internet, a collaborative effort to ensure that the internet’s evolution is guided by public interest values.
  • Lila Bailey, Internet Archive’s senior policy fellow, and Michael Menna, policy fellow from Stanford University, released their report,”Securing Digital Rights for Libraries: Towards an Affirmative Policy Agenda for a Better Internet,” regarding libraries’ role in shaping the next iteration of the internet

Milestones

  • Dave Hansen, one of the authors of the white paper on controlled digital lending, was named the new executive director of Authors Alliance.
  • Carl Malamud received this year’s Internet Archive Hero Award for his lifelong mission to make public information freely available to the public.
  • We hosted the first in-person Library Leaders Forum in three years, preceded by a virtual Forum that brought together hundreds of digital library enthusiasts to explore issues related to digital ownership and the future of library collections.
  • We hosted a joint webinar with OCLC about our resource sharing pilots, including how to request articles from the Internet Archive via interlibrary loan.
  • The Music Library Association made its publications openly available at Internet Archive.
  • We began gathering content to support the newly announced Digital Library of Amateur Radio and Communications (DLARC), and then quickly surpassed 25,000 items in the collection.
  • DISCMASTER, a new software tool, allows users to search across the contents of the tens of thousands of archived CD-ROMs at the Internet Archive.
  • In August we celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Live Music Archive with a historical tour of the effort, which has resulted in hundreds of thousands of live sets available for listening at archive.org.

Donations

  • Colgate University donated more than 1.5 million microfiche cards for preservation and digitization, covering topics including Census data, documents from the Department of Education, Congressional testimony, CIA documents, and foreign news translated into English.
  • Facing an uncertain future, Hong Kong bookstore owner Albert Wan closed his pro-democracy, independent bookstore and donated the books to the Internet Archive for preservation and digitization.
  • Do you have physical collections you’d like to donate to the Internet Archive? Check out our help document.

Book talks

Preserving Memory by Moonlight, Ensuring Access by Daylight

I made my first digital archive on a Windows PC in my parents’ bedroom.

I was a young fan of the Japanese anime Sailor Moon. My introduction to the show was through the English dubbed version that aired on Cartoon Network and an elementary school friend who supplied me with her copies of the translated manga. When I learned there was a dedicated online community with an extensive network of fan-made websites, filled with page after page of images, gifs and content I had never seen, my life changed.

I’d spend hours after school scouring fan-made Sailor Moon websites – not because there were that many I actually knew of, but because the image-heavy pages took several minutes to load. I quickly learned how to save files to my parent’s computer and began pasting downloaded images into a Microsoft Paint file. I didn’t know anything about building or publishing a website, and my computer skills were limited as a kid experiencing computers and the internet for the first time. All I knew was Internet Explorer, MS Paint, and Solitaire.

I’m not really sure why I felt compelled to download anything I found on the internet instead of just revisiting websites when I wanted to. Perhaps I didn’t want to spend another ten minutes waiting for the pages to load again. But in my child mind, I probably also saw saving an image as making it more tangible, that the files somehow belonged to me now. And, in a way, they did – I could edit, cut, paste, and print them out as much as my parents’ printer ink budget would allow. As long as I remembered to save the images, I didn’t have to worry about them disappearing one day.

As an adult, I place more importance on preserving digital media and memories. I admit I’ve always had a hard time letting things go—I’ve saved almost every handwritten letter and birthday card I’ve been given in my life. But what about the life and memories we make online? What about old computers, hard drives, cell phones, and social media accounts filled with personal photos and messages from lost and distant loved ones? These are memories that aren’t easily or obviously preserved.

Though my childhood computer is probably long gone, along with my digital collection of saved Sailor Scouts, I realize some 20 years later how vital, and fragile, digital memory is. With the eventual closure of websites like GeoCities, Angelfire, MySpace, and so many more, most of my earliest memories of the internet would be erased if it weren’t for the Internet Archive. Even as a child, I realized that digital memory is even more ephemeral than the physical media of previous generations.

As a member of a generation that grew up online, I am thankful that a large part of my digital memory doesn’t have to disappear forever. This is what drew me to the Internet Archive, and compelled me to support fundraising efforts to ensure a sustainable future for projects like the Wayback Machine, GifCities, and so much more. If you also find value in preserving digital memory and making it accessible for future generations, I hope you’ll consider donating to support our work before our year-end fundraising campaign comes to a close. Your matched donation will go a long way toward keeping our collections online for years to come.

Christina Humphreys joined the philanthropy team at the Internet Archive in 2021. Her interest in early internet art and aesthetics brought her to the Internet Archive, where many now defunct websites have been saved through the Wayback Machine. Along with reliving the internet of her childhood, she loves exploring the various collections of art, film, and books preserved on archive.org. She views the Internet Archive as a vital cultural resource, creating an accessible future for information and materials that would otherwise be locked away in a vault or lost to history.

GIFs sourced from: https://web.archive.org/web/20090831182622/http://geocities.com/Tokyo/Club/1029/scoutatt.html

Internet Archive Welcomes Digital Humanists and Cultural Heritage Professionals to “Humanities and the Web: Introduction to Web Archive Data Analysis”

By The Community Programs Team

On November 14, 2022, the Internet Archive hosted Humanities and the Web: Introduction to Web Archive Data Analysis, a one-day introductory workshop for humanities scholars and cultural heritage professionals. The group included disciplinary scholars and information professionals with research interests ranging from Chinese feminist movements, to Indigenous language revitalization, to the effects of digital platforms on discourses of sexuality and more. The workshop was held at the Central Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library and coincided with the National Humanities Conference.

Attendees and Facilitators at Humanities and the Web: Introduction to Web Archive Data Analysis, November 14, 2022, Los Angeles Public Library

The goals of the workshop were to introduce web archives as primary sources and to provide a sampling of tools and methodologies that could support computational analysis of web archive collections. Internet Archive staff shared web archive research use cases and provided participants with hands-on experience building web archives and analyzing web archive collections as data.

Senior Program Manager, Lori Donovan, guiding attendees in using Voyant to analyze text datasets extracted from an Archive-It collection using ARCH.

The workshop’s central feature was an introduction to ARCH (Archives Research Compute Hub). ARCH transforms web archives into datasets tuned for computational research, allowing researchers to, for example, extract all text, spreadsheets, PDFs, images, audio, named entities and more from collections. During the workshop, participants worked directly with text, network, and image file datasets generated from web archive collections. With access to datasets derived from these collections, the group explored a range of analyses using Palladio, RAWGraphs, and Voyant

Visualization of the image files contained in the Chicago Architecture Biennial collection, created using Palladio based on an Image File dataset extracted from the collection using ARCH.

The high level of interest and participation in this event is indicative of the appetite within the Humanities for workshops on computational research. Participants described how the workshop gave them concrete language to express the challenges of working with large-scale data, while also expressing how the event offered strategies they could apply to their own research or could use to support their research communities. For those who were not able to make it to Humanities and the Web, we will be hosting a series of virtual and in-person workshops in 2023. Keep your eye on this space for upcoming announcements.

What Do Libraries Have To Do With Building a Better Internet?

When thinking about how to build a better internet—one that is focused on the public interest and promoting meaningful participation for everyone—libraries are key players. And to fulfill that role, libraries need to have policies that allow them to thrive online. 

Just how to achieve that was the focus of a webinar sponsored by the Internet Archive and the Movement for a Better Internet on December 8, moderated by Chris Lewis, president and CEO of Public Knowledge. 

Watch session recording:

At the event, library and internet policy experts discussed the recently released report, “Securing Digital Rights for Libraries: Towards an Affirmative Policy Agenda for a Better Internet.” Lila Bailey, senior policy counsel at the Internet Archive, and Michael Menna, policy fellow at the Internet Archive from Stanford University, coauthored the paper after consulting with thought leaders from libraries, academia, and civil society organizations.

“Libraries and the internet are both all about access and culture,” Bailey said. “They serve as democratizing forces in society, getting information to people and promoting robust and diverse participation in society.”

But libraries enjoy far higher societal trust in terms of providing access to reliable information, and the internet—and all who use it—could benefit from updated policies that support libraries operating more effectively in the digital space. Bailey said the library community and digital rights groups are worried about mandatory filtering proposals and publisher tactics that limit access to digital materials and lawful library functions like lending. “The seismic shift in the ecosystem is that publishers don’t sell ebooks to libraries, they only rent them on limited terms,” Bailey added.

To address these challenges, the report concludes that libraries must maintain four rights: to collect digital materials, preserve them over time, lend them to users, and cooperate with other libraries to share digital materials through standard library practices. Learn more about the report & findings in our previous post.

“The rights that libraries have always enjoyed offline, which align with the functions that they have played, need to be translated, protected, and clearly delineated online,” Bailey said.


Here’s how you can help libraries build a better information ecosystem in the 21st century:

  1. READ & SHARE the report, “Securing Digital Rights for Libraries: Towards an Affirmative Policy Agenda for a Better Internet.”
  2. JOIN the Movement for a Better Internet.
  3. SIGN UP for the Library Week of Action in 2023.

Katherine Klosek, director of information policy for the Association of Research Libraries, said the library community is deeply concerned about the potential impact of mandatory filtering on removal of content, censoring, and erosion of fair use. There is clear alignment with the new report and the ARL advocacy agenda, particularly in regard to copyright, said Klosek, highlighting her association’s Know Your Copyrights resource for library leaders.

“A lot of the challenges that libraries and cultural heritage institutions face today is due to the fact that copyright laws haven’t kept pace with the evolution of how people like to share on the internet,” said panelist Brigitte Vézina of Creative Commons. “They’re outdated. They’re unfit for the internet and sometimes they are just unclear.”

If copyright laws are not balanced and don’t contain enough exceptions, the repercussions go beyond the walls of the library, Vézina said. Limiting educational use of content impacts the public’s ability to access their fundamental right to cultural heritage, partake in creative endeavors, and infringes free expression. Indeed, solving the world’s biggest problems such as climate change and health issues, requires access to knowledge and fostering collaboration, Vézina added. Equitable access is key to ensuring that everyone can participate in solving these grand challenges.

As to how library rights affect the rights of authors and creators, the panelists were clear that balance was needed. “Author rights and library rights are not oppositional…they have worked together for centuries,” Bailey said. Libraries buy books, whether they are popular or not, which supports authors and allows future authors access to the resources they need to become readers and then writers. The key is finding compensation strategies and policies that actually benefit artists, rather than just enriching the platforms that control access.

“Building a better internet that is focused on public interest values is going to require making sure libraries function and thrive online,” said Bailey. To move the positive rights agenda for libraries forward, Bailey encouraged anyone interested to download, read and share the free, openly-licensed report here; get involved in the  Library Week of Action planned in early 2023 and join the Movement for a Better Internet.