Seeking Authors & Books to Feature in Our Book Talk Series with Authors Alliance

AUTHORS & PUBLISHERS: We are looking for books (both new & classic titles) to feature in our popular book talk series.

Starting in 2023, Authors Alliance and Internet Archive have partnered on a series of virtual book talks highlighting issues of importance to the library and information communities. Last year, more than 2,000 people attended our virtual and in-person talks. You can watch those talks now at https://archive.org/details/booktalks.

Themes

We are particularly interested in highlighting books that touch on one (or more!) of the following themes:

  1. Libraries & Literacy
  2. Book Culture & the History of the Book
  3. Internet Policy
  4. Copyright & Intellectual Property Rights
  5. Artificial Intelligence & its impact
  6. Computing & Internet History
  7. Supporting Democracies

Contact

If you are an author or publisher with a book (either new or backlist) that would be a good fit for our series, please reach out to Chris Freeland, director of library services, at chrisfreeland@archive.org today!

Saving Modernist Houses with the Help of the Internet Archive

George Smart is on a mission to save mid-century modern houses. He believes the structures are works of art that people should respect—if they only realized their significance and knew how to preserve them.

George Smart, founder and chief executive officer of USModernist

Smart relies on the Internet Archive to maintain his open digital collection of modernist residential homes along with back issues of architectural magazines. He uses the Wayback Machine to find architectural firm websites and search for vintage publications.

“I find the Internet Archive is great…curated in a certain way and very organized,” Smart said. “They are trying to innovate all the time and figure out ways to archive different kinds of materials.”

About 10 years ago, Smart launched USModernist Archives, a nonprofit dedicated to chronicling the work of notable architects and educating the public about their masterpieces built roughly from 1945 to 1969. Its Architect and House Archives includes the life work of 150 architects, such as Frank Lloyd Wright and John Lautner, and details of 21,000 houses, including photos, address and renovation histories.  

1954 Catalano House, Raleigh NC.  Designed by Eduardo Catalano.

The USModernist’s Architecture Magazine Library features nearly 5 million scanned, searchable, and downloadable pages from Architectural Forum, Progressive Architecture, and others. Smart said digital access to these legacy publications is critical for those researching how to preserve Modernist houses. Beyond the articles, the ads for doors, windows, tile and even door knobs provide clues for homeowners trying to renovate.

To get the word out, Smart also has a podcast, USModernist Radio, that has featured 650 guests from all over the world on more than 350 shows.

Smart, who is founder and chief executive officer of USModernist, said he uses Internet Archive several times a week in his research. He said he appreciates the ease of access and marvels at the wide range of information available.

“The internet is vast and the Internet Archive is archiving it frequently over the course of a year,” he said. “That’s pretty impressive.”

Because the Internet Archive has been so useful to building USModernist, Smart said he wanted to support the library as a donor. Joining the Monthly Giving Circle, he said, is convenient and ensures his continued support.

The Bunker House, Concord MA. Designed by Walter Gropius.

By combining his organization’s resources and those of the Internet Archive, Smart said he’s able to discover and document materials useful for historic preservation. “For me, it’s a thrill. We’re finding houses that have been off the radar for sometimes as many as 70 years,” he said. “The Internet Archive is helping us find the missing pieces.”

Smart’s vision? “To have a complete record of the mid-century modernist movement with profiles of the houses and architects—and everything that was ever published about these houses.” 


The Monthly Giving Circle reflects our commitment and collective drive to defend Universal Access to All Knowledge. In addition to sustaining our work, Monthly Giving Circle members enjoy exclusive events, benefits, and discounts! Join George Smart and over 16,000 members by making a recurring monthly donation to the Internet Archive today.

New Ways to Search Archived Music News

First crawl of CMT News on January 10, 2002.

When MTVNews.com went offline in late June, Internet users were quick to discover that some (but sadly, not all) of the site had been archived in the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. While you can no longer browse MTV News directly on the web, the archived pages are available via the Wayback Machine, starting with the first crawl of the site on July 5, 1997.

The same is true for CMT (Country Music Television) News, which was first crawled by the Internet Archive on January 10, 2002.

In response to patron requests, our engineers have created new search indexes for each site:

Why provide search indexes to music news? Because, as Michael Alex, founding editor of MTV News Digital, wrote in an op-ed for Variety, “the archives of MTV News and countless other news and entertainment organizations have a similar value: They’re a living record of entertainment history as it happened.”

It’s important to remember that these collections were captured as a routine part of the daily work conducted by more than one thousand libraries and archives collaborating with the Internet Archive to archive the web. For centuries, libraries have been the trusted repositories of culture and knowledge. As our news and information sources move increasingly digital, the role of libraries like the Internet Archive and our partners has changed to meet these new demands. This is why libraries like ours exist, and why web archiving is critical for preserving our shared digital culture.

Using DLARC, Amateur Radio Operators are Resurrecting Technical Ideas from the Past, Using 21st Century Tech

A Thank You to Internet Archive’s Digital Library of Amateur Radio & Communications
by Steve Stroh N8GNJ

In 2021, I was a member of the committee that recommended approval of a significant grant from Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC) to Internet Archive to create the Digital Library of Amateur Radio & Communications (DLARC). I could foresee the potential of DLARC then… but I couldn’t then imagine the scale of what DLARC would become, nor how useful DLARC would prove to be for the entirety of the Amateur (Ham) Radio community worldwide.

In my newsletter Zero Retries, I write about interesting developments in Ham Radio to folks like me whose primary interest in Ham Radio is experimenting with the more advanced technological possibilities of Ham Radio. Such developments include communicating with data modes locally and worldwide (Packet Radio), using Ham Radio satellites and communicating with Ham Radio astronauts on the International Space Station, and developing M17, a new two way radio technology based entirely on open source (to mention just a few).

One of my favorite ways to use the DLARC (nearly 120,000 items now, and still growing) is to re-explore ideas that were proposed or attempted in Ham Radio, but for various reasons, didn’t quite become mainstream. Typically, the technology of earlier eras simply wasn’t up to some proposed ideas. But, with the technology of the 2020s such as cheap, powerful computers and software defined radio technology, many old ideas can be reexamined with perhaps succeed in becoming mainstream now. The problem has been that much of the source material for such “reimagining” has been languishing in file cabinets or bookcases of Ham Radio Operators like me, with nowhere to go. With the grant, IA could hire a dedicated archivist and began receiving, scanning, hosting, and aggregating electronic versions of old Ham Radio material.

One of my favorite examples of maybe we should try this again? is a one page flyer for a radio unit designed for data – the  NW Digital Radio UDRX-440. That radio was a leading-edge idea in 2013, but didn’t become a product. One reason for that fate was that it required a small but powerful computer that NW Digital Radio was forced to develop itself, which was expensive. More than a decade later, the computer that NW Digital Radio required, with a quad-core, 1.8 GHZ processor and 1 GB of RAM is available off-the-shelf – for $35. Perhaps it’s time for an innovative Ham Radio manufacturer to try creating something like the UDRX-440 again. Being able to provide a link to illustrate such a concept, and prove that one manufacturer got as far as the design stage, can be inspirational.

Another example maybe we should try this again? is the PACSAT system, a data-communications protocol and hardware specification for Ham Radio satellites that combined multiple receivers with a single high speed transmitter for more efficient throughput of data. In the 1990s, PACSAT was proposed and several satellites were actually built and put into orbit. But then, PACSAT required dedicated, expensive, specialized hardware suitable only for a satellite. In the 2020s, a PACSAT system could replace a Ham Radio repeater with a software defined receiver (can now listen to multiple frequencies) and a few other off-the-shelf parts. The difference that DLARC makes is that all the original reference material for PACSAT can easily be found in DLARC. If some graduate student were to email me looking for a project, I can suggest that they create a “PACSAT 2025” – and point them to all of the PACSAT material in DLARC.

Many new Ham Radio Operators live in “restricted” living arrangements such as apartments, condominiums, or communities that don’t allow external antennas. Thus, to operate on the Ham Radio “High Frequency – HF” bands (shortwave) bands, some “creativity” is required – a stealthy antenna. One of my favorite collections within DLARC is 73 Magazine which was published monthly for 43 years, with many, many antenna construction articles such as the “compressed W3EDP” HF antenna that would fit into an attic. Unlike current Ham Radio magazines, all 516 issues of 73 Magazine can be browsed, and downloaded, and because Internet Archive does optical character recognition (OCR), every word of every issue is keyword searchable.That, is powerful and ample “food for the imagination” of Ham Radio Operators looking to the past for some interesting projects to tackle.

Those are just a few examples of the utility of DLARC from my perspective. Ham Radio has existed for more than a century, but prior to DLARC, there was no comprehensive online archive of Ham Radio material. There were some personal archives, some Ham Radio clubs and organizations had their newsletters online, but there was no comprehensive online archive of Ham Radio material. DLARC is now the archive that Ham Radio has been missing. Most significantly, unlike some Ham Radio organizations, material in DLARC is free for public access (though some material is subject to Controlled Digital Lending). DLARC includes club newsletters (from all over the world), Ham Radio books and magazines (some from very early in the 20th century), audio recordings, video recordings, conference proceedings… literally a treasure trove of knowledge and ideas and inspiration.

Thank you Internet Archive and Archivist Kay Savetz K6KJN for all the hard work in creating and growing Digital Library of Amateur Radio & Communications – we really appreciate it (and I use it nearly every day).

Steve Stroh
Amateur Radio Operator N8GNJ
Bellingham, Washington, USA

LISTEN: The End of Libraries as We Know Them?

Why Is This Happening? The Chris Hayes Podcast
"We're now having the judiciary starting to judge against libraries in ways that we haven't seen in 100 years." - Brewster Kahle

The publishers’ lawsuit against our library is featured in the latest episode of “Why Is This Happening? The Chris Hayes Podcast.

Listen in as Brewster Kahle, Internet Archive’s digital librarian, talks with Chris Hayes about the future of libraries, and what the publishers’ lawsuit means for libraries & their patrons in the digital age. Chris & Brewster are joined by librarian and lawyer, Kyle K. Courtney.

Streaming now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, & TuneIn.

What happened last Friday in Hachette v. Internet Archive?

Last Friday, the Internet Archive was in court, fighting for the digital rights of libraries. Our appeal in Hachette v. Internet Archive, the publishers’ lawsuit against our library, was heard in the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Here are some resources to help you understand what happened in court:

🔊 Listen to the oral argument. The full 90+ minute proceedings are available to listen to online.

🗞️ Read the analysis of the oral argument from Authors Alliance. Executive Director Dave Hansen offered a rapid analysis of the oral argument in a thorough Substack post.

📚 Read coverage of the post-argument discussion at the American Library Association Annual Conference. Following oral argument, the legal team representing the Internet Archive and Brewster Kahle, digital librarian of the Internet Archive, remotely joined the eBook Interest Group discussion during ALA’s Annual Conference in San Diego. The conversation offered Brewster and the legal team a chance to explain what happened in the courtroom, and to answer questions from librarians and members of the press who gathered for the session. Ars Technica covered the discussion in an excellent post, “Appeals court seems lost on how Internet Archive harms publishers.”

Take action

Rafael studying

Tell the publishers: Let Readers Read! We have an open letter to the publishers, asking them to restore access to the 500,000+ books they’ve removed from our lending library as a result of their lawsuit. Sign the open letter today!

Author Explores ‘The Secret Lives of Elizabethans’ with Help from Internet Archive

After 34 years as a successful commercial real estate attorney, Dorothea Dickerman is spending her second act writing about the Elizabethan era. She’s long been fascinated with the English literary renaissance—the politics of the time and the whole cast of characters, including William Shakespeare.

Author Dorothea Dickerman

As she works from her home office, Dickerman often relies on the Internet Archive. While she enjoys paging through rare books at the Folger Shakespeare Library or Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., Dickerman said it’s more convenient to go online. Also, the digitized materials allow her to enter keywords to refine her search and save time.

“I regard Internet Archive as an ever ready and highly patient librarian who is there for me,” Dickerman said. “I can go back as many times as I want, and it is open 24 hours a day.’

Many of the books she wants are out-of-print and hard to find in their original version. When text has been updated through the lens of an editor, she said, the language is sometimes changed to be more relevant to contemporary readers. Dickerman is often searching for historical primary sources – sometimes materials from the 1500s (letters, court records, diplomatic reports) that have been preserved by the Archive. “For that purpose, the Internet Archive is amazing,” she said.

Since retiring in 2017, Dickerman has been immersing herself in the Elizabethan era and sharing what she’s learned. She recently created a website (Dorothea Dickerman.com), writes a blog, Secret Lives of Elizabethans, and is active on Instagram. Dickerman is a guest lecturer, sometimes giving talks about places where Shakespeare set a play, such as Italy. She also speaks at conferences as a Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship. On the monthly podcast, the Blue Boar Tavern, she is a panelist discussing all things Shakespeare, which appears on YouTube. 

Her long-term project is a series of historical novels looking at the lives of women at the time, without whom there would be no Shakespeare. Dickerman said she likes examining the layers of Shakespeare’s stories, including the political satire and underlying messages that she finds through details such as pseudonyms and book dedications. Dickerman said she searches for lost and hidden stories of the era to weave into her novels. Rather than inventing tales about the Elizabethan court, she wants her stories to be firmly grounded in fact.

“I regard Internet Archive as an ever ready and highly patient librarian who is there for me. I can go back as many times as I want, and it is open 24 hours a day.”

Author Dorothea Dickerman

Although she is not a trained scholar, Dickerman said she uses her legal research skills and curiosity to look for direct or circumstantial evidence to confirm information. When she makes a discovery or identifies a pattern in a document: “It’s a thrill!” Reading an historical account of a feast in 1575, for instance, provides her with rich details for her to write an accurate scene in her novel. Many of those ah-ha moments are thanks to the Internet Archive.

 “Almost anything I am looking for is there [in the collection]. That’s what’s so terrific about the Internet Archive,” Dickerman said. “The world has gone on to the web and everyone from children to serious scholars need to be able to find the material and read it for themselves to make their own decisions.”

Disabled Patron Asks Publishers: ‘Let us read, let us learn.’

Editorial note: The following message came into our patron services team this week. We are posting here in full with the patron’s permission as it explains the full scope of the challenges our readers are facing following the publishers’ decision to remove more than 500,000 books from our lending library.

Here is Maureen, in her own words:

“I use the Internet Archive for many reasons and the book removals have impacted my ability to do so! Despite my good fortune to live in a community which provides a great library with plenty of physical books and a decent digital selection via Libby, the Archive still meets needs which my local library cannot fulfill.

I’m disabled: it causes fatigue, executive dysfunction, and more. I also am at high risk for Long Covid complications, so I try to limit my time in crowded public areas.

Additionally I live in an area with extreme weather that runs the gamut from whiteout blizzards, river floods making roads impassable, tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, extreme heat, wildfire smoke, and on and on!

This means that actually GETTING to the library can be a challenge at times, especially as I work, which further reduces the hours available.

While I do have a decent selection of typical contemporary ebooks via my community library’s Libby app, many topics of importance to me aren’t represented well or at all.

These include:

* LGBT, feminist, and disability studies books (many of which are long out of print, had small print runs or cost exorbitant academic prices, and were published long before ebooks existed or only in other areas of the world).

* retro/vintage/historical children’s picture books as well as vintage scifi and fantasy books, for many of the reasons listed above.

* Niche topics in anthropology, archaeology, and world religions. (Again for the aforementioned reasons).

It also really infuriates me that the lawsuit claims that use of the Archive’s library is just “recreational”.

* Just because I’m no longer in college or grad school doesn’t mean I’ve stopped learning, or privately researching, or somehow lost my desire for knowledge!

* (Plus, full-time and part-time independent scholars EXIST OUTSIDE OF THE ACADEMY and it’s so disheartening to see their contributions ignored/denied.)

* All children’s books are BY DEFINITION educational! They’re teaching kids to read!!!!!

* So are all nonfiction & biography books! They convey important information that help people make sense of the world.

* Vintage/retro genre books (romance, mystery, scifi etc) are in fact subjects of scholarship, through Fandom Studies, Leisure Studies, History, Literature etc. The Browne Popular Culture Library at Bowling Green State University is a perfect example!

* And yes, contemporary genre books are subjects of scholarship too. And while many non-academics read vintage and/or contemporary genre books for solely for fun, many of us also like to chart changes in genre over time.

* For example, I am a Trekkie (Star Trek fan) and comparing very early Trek novels with recent ones is illuminating on a fandom history level AND a sociological level.

***Education and scholarship also mean private self-study. Publishers need to stop locking knowledge in the academic ivory tower!!!!!!!!***

In short- the Internet Archive is very important to me and millions of other readers. The books need to be restored to circulation. Let us read, let us learn.”

Maureen L., Iowa City, Iowa

We’re Fighting for Library Rights in Court This Friday – Join Us!

Friday is our day in court. After four long years of legal action, we will be in New York for the appellate oral argument in Hachette v. Internet Archive, the publishers’ lawsuit against our library.

Show Your Support!

Throughout this four-year process, our patrons and supporters have asked how to help in this fight. Here are actions you can take to stand with the Internet Archive:

1. Watch the oral argument on Friday, June 28.
The proceedings will be livestreamed starting at 10am ET. Join via https://ww2.ca2.uscourts.gov/court.html, Courtroom 1505.


2. Tell the publishers: Let readers read!
We’ve created an open letter to the publishers, asking them to restore access to the 500,000 books they’ve removed from our library. Add your signature today!


3. Stay connected.
Sign up for the Empowering Libraries newsletter for ongoing updates about the lawsuit and our library.

A quick recap

After the lower court sided with the publishers last March, we committed to appeal the decision. The appeal process kicked off last fall, with our opening brief filed in December, followed by amicus briefs in support of our library and library lending two weeks later. On Friday, we’ll appear in the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, continuing our fight for library digital rights.

What’s at stake?

The lawsuit is about the longstanding and widespread library practice of controlled digital lending, which is how we lend the books we own to our patrons. As a result of the publishers’ lawsuit, more than 500,000 books have been removed from our lending library. The impacts on our patrons have been devastating:

From Brewster Kahle—I Set Out to Build the Next Library of Alexandria. Now I Wonder: Will There Be Libraries in 25 Years?

Editorial note: This op-ed first ran in Time Magazine in 2021. We are reposting it here with permission as we head into oral argument for our appeal in the publishers’ lawsuit against our library, scheduled for next Friday, June 28, 2024.

When I started the Internet Archive 25 years ago, I focused our non-profit library on digital collections: preserving web pages, archiving television news, and digitizing books. The Internet Archive was seen as innovative and unusual. Now all libraries are increasingly electronic, and necessarily so. To fight disinformation, to serve readers during the pandemic, and to be relevant to 21st-century learners, libraries must become digital.

But just as the Web increased people’s access to information exponentially, an opposite trend has evolved. Global media corporations—emboldened by the expansive copyright laws they helped craft and the emerging technology that reaches right into our reading devices—are exerting absolute control over digital information. These two conflicting forces—towards unfettered availability and completely walled access to information—have defined the last 25 years of the Internet. How we handle this ongoing clash will define our civic discourse in the next 25 years. If we fail to forge the right path, publishers’ business models could eliminate one of the great tools for democratizing society: our independent libraries.

These are not small mom-and-pop publishers: a handful of publishers dominate all books sales and distribution including trade books, ebooks, and text books. Right now, these corporate publishers are squeezing libraries in ways that may render it impossible for any library to own digital texts in five years, let alone 25. Soon, librarians will be reduced to customer service reps for a Netflix-like rental catalog of bestsellers. If that comes to pass, you might as well replace your library card with a credit card. That’s what these billion-dollar-publishers are pushing.

The libraries I grew up with would buy books, preserve them, and lend them for free to their patrons. If my library did not have a particular book, then it would borrow a copy from another library for me. In the shift from print to digital, many commercial publishers are declaring each of these activities illegal: they refuse libraries the right to buy ebooks, preserve ebooks, or lend ebooks. They demand that libraries license ebooks for a limited time or for limited uses at exorbitant prices, and some publishers refuse to license audiobooks or ebooks to libraries at all, making those digital works unavailable to hundreds of millions of library patrons.

Although we’re best known for the Wayback Machine, a historical archive of the World Wide Web, the Internet Archive also buys ebooks from the few independent publishers that will sell, really sell, ebooks to us. With these ebooks, we lend them to one reader at a time, protected with the same technologies that publishers use to protect their ebooks. The Internet Archive also digitizes print books that were purchased or donated. Similarly, we lend them to one reader at a time, following a practice employed by hundreds of libraries over the last decade called “controlled digital lending.”

Last year,* four of the biggest commercial publishers in the world sued the Internet Archive to stop this longstanding library practice of controlled lending of scanned books. The publishers filed their lawsuit early in the pandemic, when public and school libraries were closed. In March 2020, more than one hundred shuttered libraries signed a statement of support asking that the Internet Archive do something to meet the extraordinary circumstances of the moment. We responded as any library would: making our digitized books available, without waitlists, to help teachers, parents, and students stranded without books. This emergency measure ended two weeks before the intended 14-week period.

The lawsuit demands that the Internet Archive destroy 1.4 million digitized books, books we legally acquired and scanned in cooperation with dozens of library partners. If the publishers win this lawsuit, then every instance of online reading would require the permission and license of a publisher. It would give publishers unprecedented control over what we can read and when, as well as troves of data about our reading habits.

Publishers’ bullying tactics have stirred lawmakers in Maryland, New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island to draft laws requiring that publishers treat libraries fairly. Maryland’s legislature passed the law unanimously. In those states, if an ebook is licensed to consumers, publishers will be required by law to license it to libraries on reasonable terms. But lobbyists for the publishing industry claim even these laws are unconstitutional. This is a dangerous state of affairs. Libraries should be free to buy, preserve, and lend all books regardless of the format.

Suing libraries is not a new tactic for these billion-dollar corporations and their surrogates: Georgia State University’s law library battled a copyright lawsuit for 12 years; HathiTrust Digital Library battled the Author’s Guild for five years. In each case, the library organization won, but it took millions of dollars that libraries can ill-afford.

Libraries spend billions of dollars on publishers’ products, supporting authors, illustrators, and designers. If libraries become mere customer service departments for publisher’s pre-packaged product lines, the role that librarians play in highlighting marginalized voices, providing information to the disadvantaged, and preserving cultural memory independent of those in power will be lost.

As we shift from print to digital, we can and must support institutions and practices that were refined over hundreds of years starting with selling ebooks to readers and libraries.

So if we all handle this next phase of the Internet well, I believe the answer is, yes, there will be libraries in 25 years, many libraries—and many publishers, many booksellers, millions of compensated authors, and a society in which everyone will read good books.

*Editorial note: This op-ed was first published in 2021.