A Love Letter to the People Who Build the Internet Archive

canvas-1-done When you visit a public library, you get to meet the librarians and others who build and care for those collections. You know there are people who empty the garbage cans, who put back the borrowed books, who maintain the computers, and who determine what ends up on the shelf.

A digital library, on the other hand, is “just” a web site.  You don’t really see the people who build it – we are often anonymous. But the Internet Archive wasn’t built by computers and algorithms.

From its inception, the Internet Archive has been built by thousands of people who understand that we have an opportunity to use the Internet to give everyone access to canvas-2-doneknowledge. Every person on the planet should have the opportunity to learn and to make a contribution.

This goal – Universal Access to All Knowledge – inspires the people who have built the Internet Archive over the past 23 years.  

People clean and repair the buildings that we occupy. People do payroll, choose our health plans, answer the phones, plan our events, reply to user emails, clean up spam, and pay our bills. People design and build the computers that hold the collections. People construct the network that carries data to every corner of the world. People write software that processes, backs up, and delivers files. People design and test and build interfaces. People digitize analog media and type in metadata. People curate collections, establish collaborations, and manage projects.


There’s no way I can mention all of these people by name. Even if I listed every employee from the past 23 years, I would still be missing the volunteers, the people from other organizations who worked on joint projects with us, the pro bono lawyers, the delightfully compulsive collectors, the funding organizations, the idea generators, our sounding boards for crazy ideas, the individuals who have donated money or materials, and the hundreds of thousands of people who have uploaded media into the archive.


Libraries are built by people, for people.  Thank you so much to all of the people who have contributed to building the Internet Archive, whether they were employees or our huge group friends and family.  We would not be here without you, and we hope you will continue to help bring universal access to all knowledge in the future.

Happy Valentine’s Day!


23 thoughts on “A Love Letter to the People Who Build the Internet Archive

  1. Mark Middleton

    This is wonderful. I have fond memories of many of you and former colleagues. Thank you all for your work and dedication… Gordon, Michele, Christine, Kris, Brewster, Molly, and many more … 🙂 much love and thank you to you all xxx

  2. Rory

    Thank you to everyone involved with the Internet Archive and to all the volunteers that help support specific collections to keep the IA one of the most vibrant sites on the web. Content the fills and enhances our lives. Bravo!

  3. Julie Becke

    Andy B and co-workers, we all are proud of the work you all do. It is important, and you are all appreciated for your hard work!

  4. Nedeea

    You give me a lot of happiness in this period when I’m too poor to buy books. And books are even my life.Thank you all wholeheartedly!

  5. Kristin Dunlap

    Thank you for the faces:) Thank you thank you thank you thank you all for what you do. I’ve lived in the woods in Alaska and now as an expat in Amsterdam- never with enough money for all the books I want to read, and the library a long drive to town away or mostly in another language. You’ve become my favorite library! Keep up the great work, please! Librarians are next to godlians.

  6. Bruce Rawles

    Thanks to all for preserving our digital heritage! I’ve also found the Wayback Machine invaluable numerous times when sites that shouldn’t have gone away need to be resurrected! In gratitude! 🙂

  7. Katya Oddio

    Thank you for all you do! You are a collection of exceptional minds, and we are deeply grateful for your work. We love you, Internet Archive! (Great photo of Aaron and Jason.)

  8. Kent

    Can’t resist the opportunity to send a little love letter you y’all at the Internet Archive. Keep up the great work!

  9. Tina J Ulrich

    I used the Internet Archive this semester to link students to the relevant passages of the Official Records of the Civil War for their projects. While I was doing it, I felt so grateful to the anonymous librarians who scanned, cataloged, and posted those thousands of pages of our shared history. Thank you all and thank you for sharing some of their names and faces with us!

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