Democracies need an educated citizenry to thrive. In the 21st century, that means easy access to reliable information online for all.
To meet that need, the Internet Archive is building Democracy’s Library—a free, open, online compendium of government research and publications from around the world.
“Governments have created an abundance of information and put it in the public domain, but it turns out the public can’t easily access it,” said Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle, who is spearheading the effort to collect materials for the digital library.
By having a wealth of public documents curated and searchable through a single interface, citizens will be able to leverage useful research, learn about the workings of their government, hold officials accountable, and be more informed voters.
Too often, the best information on the internet is locked behind paywalls, said Kahle, who has helped create the world’s largest digital library.
“It’s time to turn that scarcity model upside down and build an internet based on abundance,” Kahle said. There is a need for equitable access to objective, historical information to balance the onslaught of misinformation online.
Libraries have long played a vital role in collecting and preserving materials that can educate the public. This mission continues, but the collections need to include digital items to meet the needs of patrons of the internet generation today.
Over the next decade, the Internet Archive is committing to work with libraries, universities, and agencies everywhere to bring the government’s historical information online. It is inviting citizens, libraries, colleges, companies, and the Wikipedians of the world to unlock good information and weave it back into the Internet.
Democracy’s Library will be celebrated at the October 19 event, Building Democracy’s Library, in San Francisco and online.
Watch the livestream of Building Democracy’s Library:
The project is part of Kahle’s vision to build a better Internet—one that keeps the public interest above private profit. It is based on an abundance model, in which data can be uncovered, unlocked and reused in new and different ways.
“We know there’s an information flood, but it’s not necessarily all that good,” Kahle said. “It turns out the information on the Internet is not very deep. If you know a subject well, you find that the best information is buried or not even online.”
Democracy’s Library is a move to make governments’ massive investment in research and publications open to all.
Kahle added: “Democracy’s Library is a stepping stone toward citizens who are more empowered and more engaged.“
The first steps of Democracy’s Library are available online at https://archive.org/details/democracys-library.
Can you please tell me if there any other events IA has planned between now and the end of the year that will take place at IA?
Are there any plans to expand the library outside of the US?
Hello there, after seeing the project of the Democracy’s Library. I just had another idea that maybe you guys will like. The idea of the People’s Library; Science’s Library; and Religion’s Library.
The People’s Library would be basically the Democracy’s Library but about socialism, communism, Marxism, leftism and all its authors and related. It would basically be like marxists-org, but being more focused on democratic socialism and on left-unity instead of pure marxism-leninism and/or pure revisionism.
The Science’s Library would be basically the Democracy’s Library but focused on science, technology and everything related to them. Not just about natural and hard sciences; but also human sciences, soft sciences, economic sciences, legal sciences, exact sciences, art sciences, body sciences (education physics sciences), and so on. It would basically be a huge free University in form of a library like Democracy’s Library.
The Religion’s Library would basically be the Democracy’s Library, but focused on religion and spirituality. Focused on everything related to religion and spirituality, since from normal religion/spirituality, to hard atheism and hard theism.
I have even focused in some other projects like the Language’s Library, that would basically be the Democracy’s Library but focused on language learning and on preserve language.
And even a project named World Federation’s Library, that would be a project focused on archive everything about anything from this world. All the cultural heritage and everything related to Earth and humanity.
And even, why not, a project about AI and technology and everything related to them. It would be the Democracy’s Library but about AI.
And also, I would like to ask you guys to fix YouTube Archive problems. There are already so many people asking for fix that. I hope the archived YouTube videos aren’t forever lost. Try to find a way to fix that ASAP before people find it is necessary to create an archive only for videos and such.
The Internet Archive should become more democratic and fight for democracy, like listening to its customers/users and such. The Democracy’s Library already showed that btw.
Anyway, that’s it for now.
And good luck.
Just a “thank you” to IA for making a livestream of this event available.
I am under the impression that a great many people would love to attend IA events, but are unable to do so for one reason or another. IA putting up a livestream is greatly appreciated as it allows those of us who cannot be there to get an idea of what things are like.