Category Archives: Announcements

Automatic Filtering: Back to the Future

Image of a Filter
Image From Bühler, Friedrich Adolf, Filtern und Pressen (Leipzig O. Spamer 1912)

The Government of Canada continues to consider fundamental changes to its copyright laws. In its latest proposal, what’s old is new again, as Canada once more considers automatic content filtering online. Internet Archive Canada strongly opposes these proposals, and submitted a formal response to the Government explaining why.

Image of a Filter

Unfortunately, these are not new ideas. For over a decade, website blocking, automatic content filtering, internet bans, and other draconian copyright measures have been urged on governments around the world. With political leaders looking at large technology companies with a new eye, both the United States and the European Union have expressed a new openness to these previously rejected ideas. Now styled as attempts to reign in “big tech,” what is really at stake is the free and open internet, which offers so much to the individual user and makes websites like archive.org possible.

Fortunately, while the Government has outlined a variety of potentially troubling changes to Canada’s Copyright Act, it has also stated that “[s]ignificant changes” to Canada’s copyright law are “not presently being contemplated.” In the circumstances, Internet Archive Canada is simply asking the Government to recognize the tremendous significance of these kinds of proposals and refrain from enacting them at this time. Many others have done the same; indeed, our friends at Open Media asked all Canadians to voice their concerns .

Internet Archive Canada is proud of its history in Canada, and we have often lauded Canada’s bright and positive approach to copyright. We are hopeful that reason will once again prevail in the Canadian copyright debates, and that the Government of Canada will work to ensure good copyright policy and strong libraries in the 21st century and beyond.

Community Webs Seeks Applicants from the US, Canada and Around the World

The Internet Archive is seeking applicants for its next cohort of Community Webs! We are thrilled to announce that the program is now open to additional cultural heritage organizations in the US, as well as any public library or local memory organization in Canada and internationally.

Community Webs provides infrastructure and services, training and education, and professional community cultivation for public libraries and cultural heritage organizations to document local history and the lives of their communities. Launched in the US in 2017 with kickoff funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), Community Webs began expanding nationally in 2020 with generous support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Building on the program’s success and continued growth, Internet Archive is now supporting expansion of the program into Canada and to the international community, and is accepting applications for our next cohort kicking off in late-Summer 2021. The deadline for applications is August 2, 2021.

The program offers a unique opportunity for participating organizations to build capacity in digital collecting. Community Webs participants work alongside peer organizations and with their local communities to document the lives of their citizens, marginalized voices, and groups often absent from the historical record. All Community Webs participants receive: 

  • A guaranteed multi-year free subscription to the Archive-It web archiving service, which includes perpetual storage and access provided by the Internet Archive.
  • Access to additional Internet Archive non-profit services, such as digitization and digital preservation, either for free (as funding allows) or at or below actual cost.
  • Training and educational resources related to digital collections, web archiving, digital preservation, and other topics, as well as access to a cohort community pursuing similar work and to networking spaces, events, and knowledge sharing platforms.
  • The option to leverage program partnerships and integrations to include community web archives in other aggregators or access platforms beyond Internet Archive.

The program currently includes over 100 public libraries from across the United States. These organizations have collectively archived over 70 terabytes of web-based community heritage materials. Some highlights include:

Archived web page: Reporte Hispano, April 6, 2021. New Brunswick Free Public Library. Spanish Newspapers collection.
Archived web page: KC Friends of Alvin Ailey, January 10, 2021. Kansas City Public Library, Arts & Culture collection.

The benefits of the program are wide-ranging and impactful for both participants and their communities. As Community Webs member Makiba J. Foster of the African American Research Library and Cultural Center in Broward County, Florida stated during a recent Community Webs event, Archiving the Black Diaspora, “Community Webs provided me with the training, they provided me with the cohort support, […] provided me with services, and particularly it helped to develop an expertise for me in terms of creating collections of historically significant web materials documenting our local communities.” The program “allowed me to start a project of recovery and documentation of digitally born content related to the Black experience.” More information about what Foster and other Community Webs members are up to can be found by viewing our recent program announcements.

Find out more about the program and keep up to date by visiting the Community Webs website. Apply online today and spread the word! 

“Hello (again), World!” SF Party Tuesday June 15 6p – 8:30p

Don’t know how to celebrate the end of your quarantine? Come join us in commemorating the Re-Opening of California with a small-scale outdoor BBQ at the Internet Archive featuring music from the consciousness-expanding San Francisco Airship. FREE!

Let’s dance into a Summer of Love.

The San Francisco Airship – Susan J Weiand

Tuesday June 15 

6p – 8:30p (weather permitting)

300 Funston Side Yard (at Clement)

  • Hot Dogs, Veggie Dogs, Chips 
  • Tours of the Internet Archive
  • The Amazing Kraynork will amaze with walk around magic tricks
  • Masks and hand sanitizer will be provided
  • CDC guidelines can be helpful on mask use (but keep the distance you are comfortable with)

RSVP HERE

Game Not Over! Fireside chat and panel with John Carmack

On Wednesday, June 23rd, please join us for the special virtual event Game Not Over with John Carmack. For decades, gaming has been one of the central driving forces behind technological progress in the digital age—from increased storage and memory needs to advancements in graphic capabilities, and even how we interact with and socialize around media and each other. How has this medium morphed and changed, and more importantly, how do we preserve this reflection of our culture into the future?

The virtual event will include a virtual fireside chat with John Carmack, independent AI researcher and Consulting CTO to Oculus/Facebook. A panel discussion will follow with Garry Kitchen, Industry Consultant and President/CEO of Audacity Games; Kelsey Lewin, Co-Director of the Video Game History Foundation; Kate Willært, Geek Culture Historian and Founder of A Critical Hit!; and Internet Archive’s Free-Range Archivist Jason Scott. Join us as they take a unique look at the past and present of the gaming industry, as well as why the Internet Archive is key to understanding its history.

This event is an Internet Archive fundraiser. Admission will go towards the long-term preservation of our software collection and our mission of providing universal access to all knowledge. Tickets will sell quickly, so reserve your spot today!

GET TICKETS

About the Speakers

John Carmack is an independent AI researcher and Consulting CTO to Oculus / Facebook. As a founder of Id Software in 1991, he built many of the pillars of today’s game industry—the first-person shooter genre, 3D accelerated rendering, network gaming, and user-generated content. In 2000, he founded Armadillo Aerospace, working part-time to design and build reusable rocket ships, both manned and unmanned.  In 2012, the modern era of virtual reality began with his demonstration of Doom 3 running on Palmer Lucky’s Rift prototype at E3.

John Carmack was inducted into the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences’ Hall of Fame in 2001, awarded two Emmy® awards for his work in graphics technology in 2006 and 2007, received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the GDC in 2010, and in 2016 was awarded the prestigious BAFTA Fellowship Award.

Garry Kitchen is a renowned entrepreneur and toy/video game designer. Kitchen’s hit games include Donkey Kong (Atari 2600), Keystone Kapers, Garry Kitchen’s GameMaker (1985), and Bart (Simpson) vs. the Space Mutants. Garry’s awards include Designer of the Year, Video Game of the Year, SPA Excellence in Software, and a Webby Award. His work is addressed in many documentaries, including World 1-1, Atari: Game Over, Batteries Not Included, The Artists, and Unlocked: The World of Games, Revealed. Kitchen serves on the Advisory Board of the National Video Game Museum (nvmusa.org).

Kelsey Lewin is a video game historian and the co-owner of retro game store chain Pink Gorilla Games in Seattle, Washington. She has been with The Video Game History Foundation since 2017, and currently serves as its co-director.

Kate Willært was born on the same day as the Famicom. Today she creates articles, infographics, and videos about geek culture history, with a focus on video games and comic books. She’s written for Polygon, VGHF, and Heidi MacDonald’s The Beat, but most of her work can be found on ACriticalHit.com.

Jason Scott is the Free-Range Archivist at the Internet Archive. Since 2011 he has assisted in the acquisitions of many different items into the Archive’s stacks, as well as being the Software Curator, in charge of the incoming vintage software items being added to the Archive. Besides his archiving work, Jason has also been a documentary filmmaker, interviewing hundreds of people across 15 years for three major documentaries (BBS, GET LAMP, DEFCON) and has also run a podcast of his own, Jason Scott Talks His Way Out of It, since 2018.

Behind the Curtain of the Hamilton Public Library Theater Book Donation

Ever wonder what it looked like inside the old concert halls of London? Curious to learn about the English folk tradition of mummering, where people dress up in disguise and perform in plays in their neighborhoods?

Soon readers all over the world will be able to dive in and learn more once nearly 1,000 books about theater history from the 18th and 19th centuries are online. The collection was recently donated by the Hamilton Public Library (HPL) in Ontario to the Internet Archive for digitization.

“Through our partnership, we are just so appreciative that the Internet Archive is able to make the collection available to the world 24/7,” said Lisa Weaver, director of collections and program development at HPL.

The rich array of books was given to HPL in 1984 by a local university drama professor who was interested in the cultural history of the theater. The collection includes books on the technical details of theater, such as lighting and staging, different actors and playwrights in the theatre community, as well as architecture of various types of British and American theaters.

Because some of the donated books were written by the donor, the availability of the entire collection allows interested researchers to follow the evolution of an author’s perspective on a subject. “The ability to trace the history of thought and ideas is a powerful tool,” said Ryan Johnston, archivist of local history and archives at HPL. “This helps achieve one of the original promises of the Internet, namely as a vehicle for democratizing thought—making knowledge as broadly accessible as possible by removing many of the geographical and physical barriers.”

“The pandemic has taught me that people are really looking for material to be as easily accessible as possible.”

Ryan Johnston, archivist, Hamilton Public Library

The Canadian library was doing a standard periodic review of its holdings, when it was determined the collection of American and British material did not fit within the public library’s mandate, which focuses primarily on works from the Hamilton area. The library contacted several university libraries and theater archives to find a new home for the collection, but ultimately decided the Internet Archive would provide access to the broadest audience.

“In the stewardship of collections, it’s a fine balance between what you can accept and what you can realistically store,” Johnston said. For HPL, it made more sense to donate to the Internet Archive, which could take a physical copy of a book, digitize it, and put it online for interested readers no matter their location. “This way we are doing both good collections management and also increasing accessibility,” he said.

HPL donated more than 70 boxes of books on two pallets, which were transported by the Internet Archive to its physical archive facilities. After the books are digitized, the print copies will be put in long-term storage out of circulation, and the digital books will be made available through controlled digital lending. The books cover a wide variety of topics including theater construction, history of traveling troupes, theater lighting in the age of gas, the art of scenic design and other aspects of the evolution of the theater. 

Johnston said he expects the books will appeal to anyone with an interest in the theater, including historians, researchers and the general public.  Although there was a time when physically holding everything was the way to ensure long term preservation, Johnston encourages others to look at the opportunity of partnering with the Internet Archive to digitize materials.

“It’s important that any institution—whether that’s a library, archive or museum—do a reappraisal of their collection and take a hard look at their options,” Johnston said. “If anything, the pandemic has taught me that people are really looking for material to be as easily accessible as possible. The more memory institutions can do that, the better.”

***

If you have a collection that you would like to make available to all, the Internet Archive would be happy to preserve and digitize your materials:

  • Check out our help center article for more information about donating physical items to the Internet Archive.
  • Register now for our upcoming webinar about our physical donations program – May 27, 2021 @ 1pm ET

Frequently Asked Questions About Controlled Digital Lending

Have questions about Controlled Digital Lending? Join us for a webinar on June 10!

Controlled Digital Lending (CDL) is a widely used library practice that supports digital lending for libraries of all sizes. Even though CDL is used at hundreds of libraries around the world, questions remain about this important innovation in digital library lending. In this session, we’ll be tackling the most commonly asked questions surrounding CDL and answering some of yours. Bring your thoughts and ideas – it’s the summer of CDL.

This session is co-sponsored by EveryLibrary, Internet Archive & Library Futures.

Register now:
Jun 10 @ 12:00 PM Eastern
https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_-pnmc73WRJKyTxAZLQO2ig

Note: The webinar will be recorded. Go ahead and register even if you can’t join the synchronous session. All registrants will receive an email after the event with a link to the recording, which will also be shared at archive.org and across social media.

Preserving Christmas: Family Donates Beloved Collection to the Internet Archive

Over the years, Dolly Jones collected every Christmas book she could find—children’s books, cookbooks, comic books, mysteries—anything related to the holiday. She kept a handwritten bibliography of every item, which eventually totaled 3,000 volumes and filled her attic in Illinois.

Dolly Jones, reading from one of her treasured Christmas books.

When it came time to downsize, the family was at a loss with what to do with the beloved books.  Jones, a librarian, music teacher and organist who is now 84, wanted to keep her collection intact.  Initially, the 50 cartons of books were put into storage as the family searched for a place where the books could continue to be enjoyed. They offered the collection to the university library where Jones had worked, the library of her alma mater, and the local public library where she lived, but none had the space to accommodate all the books.

Then, they found the Internet Archive. The Jones family donated the Christmas collection to the Archive and now the books are preserved physically and will have a new home online.

A selection of books from Dolly’s collection.

“We were so grateful that the Internet Archive was interested. It seems like a great way for the collection to be saved,” said Sam Jones, one of Dolly’s three sons. “I sent an email to the Archive thinking it was a shot in the dark, but within hours I heard back. I was just beside myself. We are all very excited.”

The collection includes Christmas classics, dime-store novels and valuable first editions, as well as numerous versions of The Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, such as A Cajun Christmas Carol.  Jones got many of the paperback and hardback books by combing thrift stores and antique shops.  She didn’t set out to amass such a large collection, but over time it just grew.

“My mother always loved Christmas and lived for it year around,” says Sam Jones, who has fond memories of his mother reading the books to him and his brothers Tim and Nick as children, and to her six grandchildren when they would gather for Christmas at the family home in DeKalb, Illinois.

The Jones family, celebrating Christmas with Dolly, center.

Dolly Jones, who now lives with her youngest son Nick, in Colorado, has a master’s in library science and worked as a reference librarian for years. She always had a book in her purse and enjoyed giving books as gifts. The Christmas book collection was dear to the family and they never considered breaking it up or selling it, says Sam Jones. The family repacked the boxes of books and the Internet Archive arranged for pick up. The books will soon be on their way to an Internet Archive digitization center where they will be scanned and made available for borrowing through archive.org.

“Mom will be thrilled to see this online,” says Sam Jones. “We are all very excited. It seems absolutely perfect and a way to be respectful of all the work she put into the collection.”

***

If you have a collection like Dolly’s that you would like to make available to all, the Internet Archive would be happy to preserve and digitize your materials:

  • Check out our help center article for more information about donating physical items to the Internet Archive.
  • Register now for our upcoming webinar about our physical donations program – May 27, 2021 @ 1pm ET

Challenges and Opportunities in Canadian Copyright Reform

Map of Canada

The Government of Canada recently agreed to extend its copyright term by twenty years. This is a great loss for the public domain; among other things, this term extension means that the public domain will not be refreshed in Canada for decades. Fortunately, the Government of Canada is exploring various ways to mitigate this loss. Internet Archive Canada was pleased to submit its views—based on its own experiences working with the public domain in Canada—on the best way to do so.

Internet Archive Canada has been working with Canadian libraries, patrons, and others for over fifteen years in support of the mission to provide Universal Access to all Knowledge. Over that time frame we’ve digitized more than 650,000 books, micro-reproductions, and a variety of other archival materials. Today, Internet Archive Canada has a substantial collection focused on Canadian cultural heritage and historical government publications. Along with our partners, we’ve made a significant investment in and contribution to the accessibility of Canadian digital heritage. 

For example, you may have heard of Canada’s Group of Seven, groundbreaking Canadian landscape painters that have also been known as the Algonquin School. The Group and related artists were active in the early part of the twentieth century, meaning that much of their work is already in the public domain. As a result, substantial efforts have been made by a number of institutions to digitize and make their work more broadly available. And there are a fair number of these kinds of materials in Internet Archive’s collections, such as works by and about Emily Carr and Lawren Harris. Many of these are either in the public domain or were expected to enter it soon. For example, as Lawren Harris died in 1970, under Canada’s current life+50 copyright term his works should be entering the public domain now. But under the new proposal to extend that term to life+70 years, we’d be another twenty years away. 

Emily Carr's Kitwancool

Emily Carr, Kitwancool, 1928

In order to mitigate the harm caused by this extension, the Government of Canada is considering allowing some use of older works that will be kept from the public domain—especially by libraries like us. And while the exact parameters are at this point uncertain, we applaud the Government’s careful attention to this matter and inquiry to stakeholders like us. 

As we emphasize in our letter, it is important that rules which allow for use of older works in theory make sense in practice. Oftentimes they do not, as the experience in the United States has shown. When the United States implemented its own copyright term extension, it allowed libraries and certain others to use works in the last twenty years of their copyright term—similar to what Canada is proposing—but only if they met certain onerous requirements. Internet Archive undertook substantial work to try to make use of these provisions—including a substantial amount of time with a professional researcher and several interns—but was only able to identify about sixty works that qualified. Subsequent work has raised that number to a few hundred, but the bottom line is that this is needlessly hard work. That is why, as we highlighted in our comments, we believe that it is important that Canada’s mitigating measures not impose onerous restrictions on use. 

That said, we are optimistic about the future in Canada. Canada has a long tradition of respect for library and user rights, with an engaged academic and library community, and the Government’s proposals include some very good ideas. We look forward to continuing to work with the Government of Canada and all our Canadian friends and neighbors to ensure good copyright policy and strong libraries in the 21st century and beyond.

Internet Archive Launches New Pilot Program for Interlibrary Loan

Photo by Alfons Morales on Unsplash

The pandemic has resulted in a renewed focus on resource sharing among libraries. In addition to joining resource sharing organizations like the Boston Library Consortium, the Internet Archive has started to participate in the longstanding library practice of interlibrary loan (ILL). 

Internet Archive is now making two million monographs and three thousand periodicals in its physical collections available for non-returnable fulfillment through a pilot program with RapidILL, a prominent ILL coordination service. To date, more than seventy libraries have added the Internet Archive to their reciprocal lending list, and Internet Archive staff are responding to, on average, twenty ILL requests a day. If your library would like to join our pilot in Rapid, please reach out to Mike Richins at Mike.Richins@exlibrisgroup.com and request that Internet Archive be added to your library’s reciprocal lending list.

If there are other resource sharing efforts that we should investigate as we pilot our ILL service, please reach out to Brewster Kahle at brewster@archive.org.

Introducing 50+ New Public Library Members of the Internet Archive’s Community Webs Program

The Internet Archive’s Community Webs Program provides training and education, infrastructure and services, and professional community cultivation for public librarians across the country to document their local history and the lives of their patrons. Following our recent announcement of the program’s national expansion, with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, we are excited to welcome the first class of 50+ new public libraries to the program. This brings the current number of new and returning Community Webs participants to 90+ libraries from 33 states and 3 US territories. This diverse group of organizations includes multiple state libraries representing their regions, as well as a mix of large metropolitan library systems, small libraries in rural areas, and libraries like the Feleti Barstow Public Library in American Samoa. All will be working to document their communities, with a particular focus on archiving materials from traditionally underrepresented groups.

The new cohort class kicked off with virtual introductory events in mid-March, where participants met one another and shared stories about their communities and their goals for preserving and providing access to local history materials. Member libraries are currently receiving training in topics such as collection development and starting to build digital collections that reflect local diversity, events, and culture.

Program participant Kathleen Pickering, Director of the Belen Public Library and Harvey House Museum in Belen, New Mexico notes that their library “is committed to free and open-source electronic resources for our patrons, especially given the low-income status of many of our residents” and Community Webs will help further that goal. Similarly, new cohort member Aaron Ramirez of Pueblo City-County Library District (PCCLD) found Community Webs to be a great fit for existing institutional goals and initiatives. “PCCLD’s five-year strategic plan directs us to embrace local cultures, to include individuals of all skill levels and physical abilities, and to enrich established partnerships and collaborations. The groups that have not seen themselves in our archives will find through this project PCCLD’s intention and means to listen and go forward as allies and as a resource of support, rather than an institution serving only the affluent.”

Makiba J. Foster

Makiba J. Foster, Manager of The African American Research Library and Cultural Center of Broward County, Florida pointed out that “as content becomes increasingly digital, we need this opportunity to document the digital life and content of our community which includes a diverse representation of the Black Diaspora.”  Makiba was a member of the original Community Webs cohort in a previous position at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at New York Public Library, and recently presented on her work archiving the black diaspora to a group of more than 200 attendees.

The Community Webs Program is continuing to grow towards the milestone of over 150 participating libraries across the United States and will soon announce another call for applicants for a U.S. cohort starting in late summer. The program also is beginning to expand internationally, starting in Canada, exploring the addition of other types of libraries and cultural heritage organizations, and expanding its suite of training and services available to participants. Expect more news on these initiatives soon. 

Welcome to our new cohort of Community Webs libraries! The full list of new members: 

  • Alamogordo Public Library (New Mexico)
  • Amelia Island Museum of History (Florida)
  • ART | library deco (Texas)
  • Asbury Park Public Library (New Jersey)
  • Atlanta History Center (Georgia)
  • Bartholomew County Public Library (Indiana)
  • Bedford Public Library System (Virginia)
  • Belen Public Library and Harvey House Museum (New Mexico)
  • Bensenville Community Public Library (Illinois)
  • Biblioteca Municipal Aurea M. Pérez (Puerto Rico)
  • Carbondale Public Library (Illinois)
  • Cedar Mill & Bethany Community Libraries (Oregon)
  • Charlotte Mecklenburg Library (North Carolina)
  • Chicago Public Library (Illinois)
  • City Archives & Special Collections, New Orleans Public Library (Louisiana)
  • Dayton Metro Library (Ohio)
  • Elba Public Library (Alabama)
  • Essex Library Association (Connecticut)
  • Everett Public Library (Washington)
  • Feleti Barstow Public Library (American Samoa)
  • Forsyth County Public Library (North Carolina)
  • Hartford History Center, Hartford Public Library (Connecticut)
  • Heritage Public Library (Virginia)
  • Huntsville-Madison County Public Library (Alabama)
  • James Blackstone Memorial Library (Connecticut)
  • Jefferson Parish Library (Louisiana)
  • Jefferson-Madison Regional Library (Virginia)
  • Laramie County Library System (Wyoming)
  • Lawrence Public Library (Massachusetts)
  • Los Angeles Public Library (California)
  • Mill Valley Public Library, Lucretia Little History Room (California)
  • Missoula Public Library (Montana)
  • Niagara Falls Public Library (New York)
  • Pueblo City-County Library District (Colorado)
  • Rochester Public Library (New York)
  • Santa Cruz Public Libraries (California)
  • South Pasadena Public Library (California)
  • State Library of Pennsylvania (Pennsylvania)
  • Tangipahoa Parish Library (Louisiana)
  • The African American Research Library and Cultural Center (Florida)
  • The Ferguson Library (Connecticut)
  • Three Rivers Public Library District (Illinois)
  • Virginia Beach Public Library (Virginia)
  • Waltham Public Library (Massachusetts)
  • Watsonville Public Library (California)
  • West Virginia Library Commission (West Virginia)
  • William B Harlan Memorial Library (Kentucky)
  • Worcester Public Library (Massachusetts)
  • Your Heritage Matters (North Carolina)