The Internet Archive opens its doors and drives towards a goal of Universal Access to Knowledge, and encourages contributions and uploads from our audience on a global scale. In some cases, like our Netlabels section, the contributors are often the creators as well, publishing open-licensed music at the Archive. Others, however, are doing their part to make sure near-forgotten works find a new life online.
Shining among these contributing curators is one Nick Hodson of Athelstane e-books, who over the course of years uploaded hundreds (more that 400, in fact) of late 19th century stories of adventure. These books, created by a wide range of authors and publishing houses, contain all manner of plot, drama and intrigue, as well as some top-quality illustration work of the time.
With titles like Twice Lost (1876), The Island Home or The Adventures of Six Young Crusoes (1851), The Voyages of the Ranger and Crusader and What Befell Their Passengers and Crews (1872) and Cutlass and Cudgel (1890), these writings range from epic stories to tales for young readers, a gamut worth traveling in itself.
Additionally, historical work has been done to give context to the books, including biographies of the authors and publishing houses. Explanations of the process of converting the items have been included as well, revealing that Hodson and his colleagues would set up voice synthesizers reading the text, to catch any errors not found other ways.
It’s good enough to bring to the spotlight this collection of literature, and to point out that as a library, it’s a handsome snapshot of a writing style of the past. But beyond that is the fact that the Archive’s digital storehouses are most welcoming to contributors who accompany the files with the descriptions and reasons behind their being added to the collections.
When a reader finds these stories, now over a century and a half in the past, they do so looking for the descriptions, titles and other information attached to them by the uploader. The reward comes in the view counts and reviews from a happy audience stumbling on a trove of writing that references lives long past.
The Internet Archive’s upload facility awaits quality contributions of culture and history from throughout the world, and continual improvements in search, browsing and on-line reading mean the reward for your efforts will be an ever-growing and grateful audience.
Here’s to the adventures on the high seas, and the adventures of contributors to the Internet Archive, past and future!