Tech Award to the Internet Archive

The Internet Archive is honored to receive the Microsoft Education Award from the San Jose Tech Museum’s Tech Award program.

We will put the monetary award to work to support broad public access to digital works.

Here is Rick Prelinger’s acceptance speech (don’t worry, it is 6 paragraphs):

We’re tremendously honored to accept this award, and honored to be on the company of the other laureates. Our grateful thanks to the Tech Awards for recognizing us. I’d also especially like to thank Microsoft, the sponsor of our category. Microsoft has generously supported our bookscanning efforts and is helping us to work with our partners to build an open library. We also thank our other supporters: Yahoo, the Hewlett Foundation and the Sloan Foundation.

Universal access to knowledge is a lofty goal and a fiendishly difficult project. But it’s now within our grasp.

Can we do it? Certainly. The technology to digitize the world’s legacy of cultural materials exists. The infrastructure to make it accessible is propagating throughout the world.

Will we do it? Well, that’s up to all of us. In order for everyone to have access to the world’s great libraries and archives at home, in their school, at a library, a community center or an Internet café, we need to think carefully about the barriers that separate knowledge from those who desperately need it. In many parts of the world, access to knowledge can mean the difference between health and sickness, between education and ignorance, and between stability and a precarious existence.

Openness and interoperability made the Net work. They made it possible for machines and networks to talk with one another and freely exchange bits. Openness and interoperability will make it possible for the world to enjoy universal access to information. We need to make sure that openness is at the core of all of our efforts. We hope that cultural material will be shared and distributed as freely as the law allows.

This is the great opportunity of our era. It’s a bigger task than any single organization or company can or should achieve by themselves. Through partnerships with public and private entities, with for-profits and non-profits, we hope to do our part. Please join us.

Thank you.

Rick Prelinger
Board President, Internet Archive