Category Archives: Announcements

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

Today the United States commemorates the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr—one of history’s most influential advocates for peace, equality, and civil rights. As a free digital library, the Internet Archive is home to thousands of books, texts, videos, images, and other materials on his work and impact. Here are a few ways you can use our materials to celebrate the life of Dr. King!

Watch

Dr. King was a major participant in the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, one of the largest rallies for human rights in American history—watch original newsreel footage of the March here! You can also listen to part of a commencement speech Dr. King gave at Hofstra University in 1965 and see contemporary reporting on his receipt of the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize.

Read

The Internet Archive’s collection of texts contains thousands of works both by and about Martin Luther King Jr., ranging from books for children to collections of his speeches. Our new Marygrove College Library collection includes several books on Dr. King, as well as the Civil Rights Movement and social justice.

If you’re interested in reading more on the African-American experience, you can also check out the #1000BlackGirlBooks collection and the Zora Canon. We’ve created some handy resource guides that include Antiracist & Racial Equality Reading Lists and Racial Equality Books for Kids. Finally, through the Community Webs program, our partners at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture created the #HashtagSyllabusMovement web archive collection, which contains crowdsourced reading lists highlighting social justice issues within the Black community—a great place to start if you’re looking for antiracist reading material!

Contribute

The Internet Archive contains millions of items that have been uploaded, donated, or submitted by our users; your contributions make up a crucial part of our library. If you own any civil rights books, records, or physical media that you would like to see added to the archive, feel free to donate them! If you already have digital media—such as video, images, or audio of Martin Luther King Day celebrations or multimedia tributes—then feel free to upload it to the Internet Archive. And as always, if you see something online that you think should be added to our historical record, you can use the Wayback Machine’s Save Page Now feature to preserve it for posterity.

We hope you have a safe and happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Enjoy the archive!

-The Internet Archive Team


If you enjoyed this blog post and want to help support the Internet Archive, you can make a tax-deductible donation here. Thank you for helping us provide Universal Access To All Knowledge. 

Public Domain Day Short Film Contest Highlights Works of 1925

A still from the winning submission Danse des Aliénés (Dance of the Insane), featuring actress Greta Garbo.

Filmmakers responded with enthusiasm and creativity to a call from the Internet Archive to make short films using newly available content from 1925 in celebration of Public Domain Day. They discovered a new freedom in being able to remix film clips with Greta Garbo, magazine covers with flappers, and sheet music from standards like “Sweet Georgia Brown” – all downloadable for free and reusable without restriction.

For the contest, vintage images and sounds were woven into films of 2-3 minutes that conveyed a sense of whimsy, nostalgia, and humor. While some were abstract and others educational, they all showcased ingenuity and possibility when materials are openly available to the public.

 “The Internet Archive has spent  24 years collecting and archiving content from around the world…now is the time to see what people can do with it,” said Amir Saber Esfahani, director of special arts projects at the Internet Archive. He was a judge in the December short-film contest along with Carey Hott, professor of art and design at the University of San Francisco, and Brewster Kahle, digital librarian and founder of the Internet Archive.

The judges reviewed 23 entries and chose a winner based on creativity, variety of 1925 content (including lists of all sources), and fit for the event (fun, interesting and captivating). These new creative works may also be available for reuse, as indicated by the license term selected by the creator.

First place: Danse des Aliénés

Joshua Curry, a digital artist from San Jose, won first place for his submission, Danse des Aliénés (Dance of the Insane), in which he layers pieces of film on three panes with images rising and falling music to “Dance Macabre” (Dance of Death) performed by the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra. The format was inspired by the poem dramatized in triptych in the short film In Youth, Beside the Lonely Sea.  His creation included flashes of Greta Garbo, ghosts from Koko Sees Spooks and colorful designs flowing in and out of the frames.

Curry, who has been making experimental videos since the 1980s, says the project was a perfect fit for his artist techniques, where he likes to stress and transform film in new ways. His film had a glitchy, broken feel that is in line with the aesthetic he often uses (See his other work at lucidbeaming.com.)

“I wanted it to be evocative and for people to appreciate it as a stand-alone piece of art,” says Curry, 49. “My visual goal was to produce something challenging that a wide variety of people could connect to – despite being mostly abstract and sourced from 95-year-old content.”

Filmmaker Joshua Curry.

While Curry’s studio is modern and full of electronic equipment, working with the 1925 content and hearing music with cartoonish voices making novelty, popping sounds their cheeks was a welcome break. “One day when I was choosing the music, I was driving around the city listening to songs and felt like I was transported back in time,” Curry says.

He says it was also a pleasure to have easy access to the public domain content without commercial gatekeeping or legal obstacles, which he often encounters with digital material he wants to remix. As it happens, Curry just completed a class in multimedia copyright. He says he works hard to operate within the rules because he wants his video creations to survive online and not be taken down because of copyright infringement allegations.

Having the works for this project in the public domain meant less time trying to get the content and more time to focus on the creative process. “It was like being a little kid who was told he couldn’t have cake and then one day saying: ‘Dive in!’,” Curry said of the access to the 1925 material in the Internet Archive.

Receiving the contest’s top honors was particularly meaningful, says Curry, because he works in Silicon Valley where the Internet Archive has “great nerd cred” and is a library that people revere.

“I was proud to win with weirdness,” Curry says. “My piece was abstract, without narration or titles, and an authentic tribute to the pioneering work of the experimental films I made use of.”

To learn more about Curry’s inspirations and to hear from him directly, watch the director’s commentary that was captured during the Public Domain Day event.

Second place: Vanishing Ink

Second place went to Alaro Brandon for Vanishing Ink, a film with a montage of clips from 16 movies including The Last Laugh and Hold My Baby and four songs: “Norwegian Dances,” “Song of the Vagabonds,” “I Want to be Happy” and “Hawaiian Ripples.”

Third place: Fashion of the 1920s

Arden Spivack-Teather, 12, and Sissel Ramierz, 13, both of San Francisco, won third place for their short film, Fashion of the 1920s. It traces the evolution of women’s clothing from tight-fitting styles that required corsets to drop-waisted, loose dresses popularized by flappers. “Women could finally be chic and comfortable at the same time,” the film notes. “Every time you notice a fabulous flowing frock, thank the 20s.”

Watch Fashion of the 1920s.

Arden found out about the contest through her mom, Cari Spivack, a staff member at the Internet Archive, and decided to partner with her friend, Sissel, a classmate since kindergarten who she had collaborated with for a winning science fair project in fifth grade. On Zoom and FaceTime, the girls looked through old McCalls magazines and decided to focus on the changing style of women’s clothing.

From left, filmmakers Arden Spivack-Teather and Sissel Ramirez.

“It was really fun to use our creativity and find things that would look good together,” said Arden, who had never before made a film. Although the research, script and editing were a challenge, she says she hopes to do it again.

Spivack said she enjoyed seeing her daughter explore the material in the Archive, giggling and musing at the kitchen table about the tonics and ads she discovered. “It was exactly what I was hoping would happen — that they would be gripped by fascination of a time period that was long gone. They could travel back and learn on their own, paging through a magazine just like someone their age would have in 1925.”

The diversity of approaches people had with the films was impressive, added Spivack.

“It’s a good introduction to what can be done with old materials. You can use them to learn and to educate others. Or you can reuse them to make something that’s completely unexpected or never seen before,” Spivack said. “As archivists everything is important. But you don’t know why until you see what it can turn into or what it informs in the future.”

Honorable mentions

  • Yo Hey Look! by Adam Dziesinski, which pieced together film clips where something caught an actor’s eye, from a baby in a wicker stroller to a woman with a bob haircut dancing to a man in a Bowler hat laughing.
  • Michaela Giles made a time-lapse film of her using oil pastels, pencils, paints, and pens to draw a profile of a woman gracing the front of a vintage publication in 1925 Magazine Cover Recreation.
  • Public Domain Day by Subhashish Panigrahi explained the basics of how copyright works with text interspersed with cartoon clips, colorful paintings, and magazine covers.
  • 25 Dad Jokes from 1925 by Anirvan Chatterjee was a compilation of jokes gathered from vintage middle school and high school yearbooks from Iowa, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Oregon, California.  Among the corny humor: “Why is the ocean so angry? It’s been crossed too many times,” and “What are the three most often words used in school? I don’t know.”

The films were shown at the December 17 Public Domain Day virtual party, where the creators were asked to discuss their projects in breakout room discussions. You can view a livestream of the event here.

Radio Ngrams Dataset Allows New Research into Public Health Messaging

Guest post by Dr. Kalev Leetaru

Radio remains one of the most-consumed forms of traditional media today, with 89% of Americans listening to radio at least once a week as of 2018, a number that is actually increasing during the pandemic. News is the most popular radio format and 60% of Americans trust radio news to “deliver timely information about the current COVID-19 outbreak.”

Local talk radio is home to a diverse assortment of personality-driven programming that offers unique insights into the concerns and interests of citizens across the nation. Yet radio has remained stubbornly inaccessible to scholars due to the technical challenges of monitoring and transcribing broadcast speech at scale.

Debuting this past July, the Internet Archive’s Radio Archive uses automatic speech recognition technology to transcribe this vast collection of daily news and talk radio programming into searchable text dating back to 2016, and continues to archive and transcribe a selection of stations through present, making them browsable and keyword searchable.

Ngrams data set

Building on this incredible archive, the GDELT Project and I have transformed this massive archive into a research dataset of radio news ngrams spanning 26 billion English language words across portions of 550 stations, from 2016 to the present.

You can keyword search all 3 million shows, but for researchers interested in diving into the deeper linguistic patterns of radio news, the new ngrams dataset includes 1-5grams at 10 minute resolution covering all four years and updated every 30 minutes. For those less familiar with the concept of “ngrams,” they are word frequency tables in which the transcript of each broadcast is broken into words and for each 10 minute block of airtime a list is compiled of all of the words spoken in those 10 minutes for each station and how many times each word was mentioned.

Some initial research using these ngrams

How can researchers use this kind of data to understand new insights into radio news?

The graph below looks at pronoun usage on BBC Radio 4 FM, comparing the percentage of words spoken each day that were either (“we”, “us”, “our”, “ours”, “ourselves”) or (“i”, “me”, “i’m”). “Me” words are used more than twice as often as “we” words but look closely at February of 2020 as the pandemic began sweeping the world and “we” words start increasing as governments began adopting language to emphasize togetherness.

“We” (orange) vs. “Me” (blue) words on BBC Radio 4 FM, showing increase of “we” words beginning in February 2020 as Covid-19 progresses

TV vs. Radio

Combined with the television news ngrams that I previously created, it is possible to compare how topics are being covered across television and radio.

The graph below compares the percentage of spoken words that mentioned Covid-19 since the start of this year across BBC News London (television) versus radio programming on BBC World Service (international focus) and BBC Radio 4 FM (domestic focus).

All three show double surges at the start of the year as the pandemic swept across the world, a peak in early April and then a decrease since. Yet BBC Radio 4 appears to have mentioned the pandemic far less than the internationally-focused BBC World Service, though the two are now roughly equal even as the pandemic has continued to spread. Over all, television news has emphasized Covid-19 more than radio.  

Covid-19 mentions on Television vs. Radio. The chart compares BBC News London (TV) in blue, versus BBC World Service (Radio) in orange and BBC Radio 4 FM (Radio) in grey.

For now, you can download the entire dataset to explore on your own computer but there will also be an interactive visualization and analysis interface available sometime in mid-Spring.

It is important to remember that these transcripts are generated through computer speech recognition, so are imperfect transcriptions that do not properly recognize all words or names, especially rare or novel terms like “Covid-19,” so experimentation may be required to yield the best results.

The graphs above just barely scratch the surface of the kinds of questions that can now be explored through the new radio news ngrams, especially when coupled with television news and 152-language online news ngrams.

From transcribing 3 million radio broadcasts into ngrams to describing a decade of television news frame by frame, cataloging the objects and activities of half a billion online news images, to inventorying the tens of billions of entities and relationships in half a decade of online journalism, it is becoming increasingly possible to perform multimodal analysis at the scale of entire archives.

Researchers can ask questions that for the first time simultaneously look across audio, video, imagery and text to understand how ideas, narratives, beliefs and emotions diffuse across mediums and through the global news ecosystem. Helping to seed the future of such at-scale research, the Internet Archive and GDELT are collaborating with a growing number of media archives and researchers through the newly formed Media Data Research Consortium to better understand how critical public health messaging is meeting the challenges of our current global pandemic.

About Kalev Leetaru

For more than 25 years, GDELT’s creator, Dr. Kalev H. Leetaru, has been studying the web and building systems to interact with and understand the way it is reshaping our global society. One of Foreign Policy Magazine’s Top 100 Global Thinkers of 2013, his work has been featured in the presses of over 100 nations and fundamentally changed how we think about information at scale and how the “big data” revolution is changing our ability to understand our global collective consciousness.

No Book/Music/Movie (All Media) Donation Too Big or Small: Please Donate

Looking around your home in the new year and wondering what to do with all the stuff you’ve accumulated? You’re not alone — turns out 54% of Americans are overwhelmed by the amount of clutter around them. As people move or downsize, they are often in a dilemma about what to do with their beloved books and records. The same goes for colleges and libraries when they close or relocate. So what’s a preservation-minded person or organization supposed to do with their extra books, records, or other media?

The Internet Archive is here to help! We welcome donations with open arms — from single books to entire libraries. The Internet Archive seeks to preserve and digitize one copy of every book, record, CD, film, and microfilm in support of our mission to provide “Universal Access to All Knowledge.”

Liz Rosenberg, donation manager at Internet Archive, helping digitize a donation of 78 rpm records.

“Increasingly, people are turning to the Internet Archive to preserve materials and give them new life online,” said Liz Rosenberg, donation manager. “Staff members can even help to arrange for a convenient pick up of larger donations.” 

 “We are always looking for items that we don’t have already or ones that are in better shape,” said Rosenberg, who encourages people to check online, if convenient, if a copy is needed. For large collections or donations with special circumstances, Internet Archive will go onsite to pack and ship items at no expense to the donor. “Our goal is to make this process easy for donors.”

Internet Archive receives a variety of materials from individuals and organizations. Boxes can be mailed to facilities in Richmond, California, or brought to drop off locations in the U.S. and England. The Archive tries to digitize materials and make them available publicly, as funding allows. 

Recent personal donations have included a collection of railroad maps and atlases from the 1800s. Also, a large collection of fragile 78rpm records was donated by a person in Washington, D.C., and 18,000 LP, 45, and 78 records were donated from a home in Arkansas.

Some recent institutional donations include 80,000 books from the Evangelical Seminary, 191 boxes of journals and periodicals from Hope International University, and 70,000 books, journals and microfilm from Marygrove College. These larger gifts are made into special collections to help Internet Archive users find the materials and celebrate the donor.

We are happy to give donors a receipt for tax purposes and celebrate the donation on the archive.org site if appropriate. 

“We would love to provide a forever home for your media wherever you are located, however much you have,” said Rosenberg. “I love doing this role. It restores my faith in the goodness of the world every day.”

For more information about contributing, please visit the Internet Archive help center.

Microfilm to the Rescue: Over a Century of Guernsey Breeders’ Journal Now on the Internet Archive

Since 1970, America has lost over 90% of its dairy farms. Preserving the rich cultural history of our nation’s dairy farmers has gone from important to mission critical. As one small step on a challenging path, the Internet Archive is honored to partner with the American Guernsey Association, the official breed registry organization for Guernsey dairy cattle in the United States. For over a century, AGA has published the Guernsey Breeders’ Journal, the official publication of the AGA and the longest-running publication of any American dairy breed organization. Working with staff on two continents, the Archive has been able to digitize and make available to the public AGA’s entire collection of Journal issues, dating back to 1910.

Guernsey Breeders’ Journal, 1952

The Internet Archive is thrilled to partner with the AGA by making back issues of Guernsey Breeders’ Journal available for public access. The partnership offers something for everyone – farmers, industry, historians, and Guernsey-lovers alike. By digitizing the issues at no cost to AGA, and hosting them on the Archive’s own servers, AGA is free to distribute the entirety of its magazine collection by pointing its website users to the collection on the Internet Archive, or even embedding links to the issues on its own website.

According to Robin Alden, Executive Director for American Guernsey, the partnership has been a long time coming. “This is something we have wanted to do for a long time, and I think it will be a huge benefit to our readers and to Guernsey fans.”

“By working together, the Internet Archive has made all of the digitized issues available to the public, to search engines, and back to American Guernsey for their use and preservation,” said Marina Lewis, the Collections Manager of the Internet Archive. “We hope all publishers will work with us to make back issues publicly available.”

According to Alden, the Journal is a critically important tool to reach out to AGA’s members and constituents. With almost 2,000 issues dating back to 1910, the Journal is an opportunity to provide plenty of great content to readers. In fact, a recent survey by AGA indicates that its members and constituents received critical industry information from the Journal, beyond just membership in the AGA. The survey results showed that over 90% of Guernsey enthusiasts surveyed rely on the Journal for their primary source of news on the breed and the industry. 

This is something we have wanted to do for a long time, and I think it will be a huge benefit to our readers and to Guernsey fans.

Robin Alden, AGA Executive Director

In addition to industry news, the Journal is also an invaluable research tool. Alden says she receives phone calls every year from students and members of animal husbandry organizations such as 4H with requests for research materials and data. Alden is able to direct students to the online collection at the Internet Archive (and soon the AGA website) so students can have free access to historical data and images for their projects.

Most importantly, the Journal supports AGA’s mission to expand the demand for Guernsey differentiated consumer products and deliver premium returns for producers and breeder members, with the goal of providing leadership, promoting programs, services, and technologies to ensure the integrity of the breed – while enhancing the value for its members, owners, and the industry. AGA also offers a variety of products and services, in addition to its breed registry. Among these are Golden Guernsey, a consumer-facing site that offers premium dairy goods from AGA’s network of Guernsey farmers throughout the United States and Canada.

For many readers, though, having such access to the Journal provides more than just facts and data; for many, having online access to the Journal offers a window to their past. According to Alden, many readers may have grown up on a farm or may now live internationally, and having this resource and being able to provide online access is huge. “We have a lot of members who want to be able to take a walk down memory lane, and they otherwise wouldn’t be able to do so.”

Computerworld Archives: Back From Vintage Microfilm

Years ago, the Internet Archive was honored to work with the Patrick J McGovern Foundation to bring some of the important publications of International Data Corporation onto the Internet for free public access. Today we are excited to bring a better looking version of the ComputerWorld archives to the Internet based on newly digitized microfilm.

The McGovern Foundation had many issues on paper, which were digitized and made searchable, but getting further back required finding microfilm. Some microfilm was found at the time and was digitized, but frankly it did not look very good.   

Microfilm, now out-of-print and obsolete, was an important format for providing access — a microfilm pioneer, Robert C Binkley saw it as a democratizing force to educate everyone, not just those near libraries in large cities and top universities.

Fortunately, old microfilm collections have been acquired and also have been donated so that they can be preserved as film and preserved through digitization by the Internet Archive. Which brings us Computerworld.

This collection of Computerworld microfilm represents nearly half a century of reporting on major technology trends, from mainframes and minicomputers to iPhones, tablets and Artificial Intelligence. Now, this higher quality version of Computerworld 1967-2014 is available, searchable, and downloadable for research purposes.

This comes as the Internet Archive has been working with open source communities and with NextScan to make these and other works look as good as we can. While microfilm was almost all just grayscale, the photography, film quality, and preservation of some collections have been exceptional. By adjusting for faded film, straightening the pages, performing optical character recognition, keying dates, and detecting page numbers, the Internet Archive hopes to make our history easily accessible to everyone and for free. These works are also available to be read aloud for the print disabled.

(Full text search is available, but is in the process of being integrated.)

What if you could wander the library stacks…online?

Open Library Explorer is an experimental new interface that allows patrons to search our shelves of 4+ million books.

Introducing the new Open Library Explorer

As a student at the University of Waterloo, whenever Drini Cami felt stressed, he’d head to the library. Wandering through the stacks, flipping through 600-page volumes about quantum mechanics or the properties of prime numbers never failed to calm him down. And the best thing? “I would always leave the library having discovered something new—usually a variety of new things,” Cami explained.  “This is something I haven’t been able to replicate at a digital library like Open Library.” What Drini longed for was the ability to discover new books serendipitously, browsing bookshelves organized by a century of librarians. But unlike most readers, Drini Cami wields a superpower: he is a designer and software developer at the Internet Archive.

Enter the Open Library Explorer, Cami’s new experiment for browsing more than 4 million books in the Internet Archive’s Open Library. Still in beta, Open Library Explorer is able to harness the Dewey Decimal or Library of Congress classification systems to recreate virtually the experience of browsing the bookshelves at a physical library. Open Library Explorer enables readers to scan bookshelves left to right by subject, up and down for subclassifications. Switch a filter and suddenly the bookshelves are full of juvenile books. Type in “subject: biography” and you see nothing but biographies arranged by subject matter.

Why recreate a physical library experience in your browser?

Now that classrooms and libraries are once again shuttered, families are turning online for their educational and entertainment needs. With demand for digital books at an all-time high, the Open Library team was inspired to give readers something closer to what they enjoy in the physical world. Something that puts the power of discovery back into the hands of patrons.

Escaping the Algorithmic Bubble

One problem with online platforms is the way they guide you to new content. For music, movies, or books, Spotify, Netflix and Amazon use complicated recommendation algorithms to suggest what you should encounter next. But those algorithms are driven by the media you have already consumed. They put you into a “filter bubble” where you only see books similar to those you’ve already read. Cami and his team devised the Open Library Explorer as an alternative to recommendation engines. With the Open Library Explorer, you are free to dive deeper and deeper into the stacks. Where you go is driven by you, not by an algorithm..

Zoom out to get an ever expanding view of your library
Change the setting to make your books 3D, so you can see just how thick each volume is.

Cool New Features

By clicking on the Settings gear, you can customize the look and feel of your shelves. Hit the 3D options and you can pick out the 600-page books immediately, just by the thickness of the spine. When a title catches your eye, click on the book to see whether Open Library has an edition you can preview or borrow. For more than 4 million books, borrowing a copy in your browser is just a few clicks away.

Ready to enter the library? Click here, and be sure to share feedback so the Open Library team can make it even better. 

Looking Back on 2020

2020 has been a year to remember—and as we approach the new year, we’re taking some time to reflect. In the spirit of giving, the Internet Archive has worked hard to give back to those who need our services most, and we’re incredibly grateful for those who have lent us a hand. Thanks to the support of our community, patrons, partners, and donors, we’ve been able to accomplish some significant achievements in the past twelve months. Here are a few highlights from a year nobody can forget.

Unprecedented Growth

In 2020 we grew from 40 million to 65 million public media items, including texts, images, videos, and audio files. Right now, we’re storing over 70 petabytes of data (equivalent to the contents of 186 million filing cabinets) and serve more than 1.5 million visitors daily. The Wayback Machine has grown rapidly, too; right now there are 475 billion web pages archived inside it, and we’re capturing another 750 million pages every single day! We made a number of improvements to our systems to handle this growth—this fall, we installed a fiber optic connection at our headquarters in San Francisco, allowing us to drastically expand our bandwidth in response to increased demand.

Some Literary Love

As a  library, we pay special attention to books, and this was a year to remember. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we launched the temporary National Emergency Library this spring. In the middle of a massive public health crisis, we provided digital access to essential books for students, teachers, library patrons, and quarantined citizens who were cut off from their libraries and schools. Educational professionals everywhere relied on us for access to digital materials, and the National Library of Aruba utilized our resources to provide study resources for thousands of students preparing to take high school graduation exams while their island was shut down.

New Collections

This year we also added to and expanded our collections with some fascinating new finds. In August, the Tytell Typewriter Company donated thousands of manuals, records, books, and even historic machines to be preserved for future generations. Marygrove College, a social-justice oriented liberal arts college that was forced to close this year, donated its entire library to be digitized and shared on the Internet Archive, reopening the stacks in October. And although support for Flash is ending in just a few weeks, this November we launched browser emulation for hundreds of games, animations, and other cultural artifacts—letting anyone take a trip back in time to the early 2000s.

Building a Better Web

In 2020, we also took steps to make the web a better, more reliable place. Through a partnership with Cloudflare, we made it possible in September for website creators to provide archived versions of their pages when the current site is down. A new integration in February allowed us to bring the Wayback Machine natively into the Brave web browser. And when alarms were raised about open access journals disappearing, we took steps to preserve crucial scientific knowledge for future use.

Paying It Forward

Finally, we had a record-breaking year when it came to philanthropy. Although the challenges we faced were greater than ever before, our donors stepped up in a big way. More than 73,000 people donated to the Internet Archive this year, making contributions big and small—from the thousands of patrons who gave a few dollars apiece, to a $250,000 gift from Fiona and Toby Lütke, founder of Shopify. We’ve been hard at work making sure that all donations are put to good use; when an anonymous donor this season asked that we invest a portion of his gift in our staff, we chose to pay it forward to promote diversity and equity. This year we also implemented new ways to donate, and came up with new ways our supporters can lend a hand without leaving the house. We’re so incredibly grateful for everybody who chose to help us out!


2020 has brought unprecedented challenges—but this year as in every year, the Internet Archive has been hard at work ensuring that trustworthy information is available to anybody who wants it. Thank you for supporting our preservation efforts.

Be safe, have a happy holiday season, and enjoy the archive!

On Preserving Memory

When we talk about the Internet Archive, it’s so easy to throw massive numbers around: 70 petabytes stored and counting, 1.5 million daily active users, 750 million webpages captured per day. What’s harder to quantify is the human element that underlies all those numbers.

As I reflect back on 2020, I can’t help but think about the importance of memory. It’s hard to believe that in the same year of the nightmarish Australian fires, we experienced a sheer medical miracle in the form of Coronavirus vaccines. How much has happened in such a short time? How many stories, tragedies, triumphs in just 11 months?

These memories — the personal stories, collections, family histories — are our threads to the past, and our roadmaps going forward. Both precious and fragile, it’s on us to keep them safe.

Here’s one memory I’ll always treasure. I come from a sports family—all sports, really, but baseball in particular. My dad grew up playing little league, eventually making his way to the Softball World Series in the 1950s. His friend Bob went on to play for the San Francisco Giants. I grew up hearing about the time my dad was invited down to the dugout to meet the Yankees: Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Yogi Berra. I’ve probably listened to these stories a thousand times. 

When my dad’s dementia started to get really bad, we’d retell these old stories to cheer him up. So much of his frustration had to do with the inability to create new memories. But these old ones were still vivid, very much intact—something we could all still share and remember together. 

Finding the Classic Baseball Radio Broadcasts on the Internet Archive was such a godsend. When he listened, his anxiety would dissipate: Sandy Koufax’s 3-hit shutout, or Game 7 of the 1960 World Series. The audio calmed him. I liked to think it shook loose a ton of old memories — hanging out with his own dad, listening to the radio broadcasts of the games. 

Sometimes if I want to feel close to him, I’ll throw on one of these classic games. The 1951 Giants v Dodgers NL Championship, the ‘shot heard ‘round the world.’ My dad would have been 11 years old, listening to that same broadcast. Or cheering on Willie Mays and Willie McCovey in the 1962 Yankees v Giants World Series. He would’ve been 22, with his friend pitching for the team that year. 

When talking about the Internet Archive, we often use the term ‘memory institution.’ On a macro level, we’re talking about over 70 petabytes of data stored in hard drives inside massive buildings. But personally? We’re talking about some of the last threads between me and my dad. On a macro level, we’re talking about millions of texts and images and videos and webpages—but on a personal level, we’re talking about genealogists striking gold as they uncover the past. We’re talking about grandparents reading digital books to their grandchildren over video calls. We’re talking about the nostalgia of tracing a loved one’s online footprints, about the legacy of a unique family business, about the thrill of rediscovering yesteryear’s pop culture phenomena.

The personal stories, family histories, and threads to the past—are precious. And fragile. That’s why it’s on us, all of us, to protect and keep them safe. That’s why I work at the Internet Archive, and why its mission is more critical than ever.

Right now, we’re in the middle of our yearly donations drive. The end of the year is a time both to look back and to give back, and the Internet Archive is hard at work on both. So if you’ve found something in the archive that’s meaningful to you, or that brought back memories, or that you think should be preserved, we’d love it if you could chip in.

We hope you have a healthy and safe holiday season—and that this year, you’ll make some memories that will never be lost.

Katie Barrett is the Development Manager at the Internet Archive. When she’s not listening to old baseball broadcasts or raising support for causes she loves, she’s phone banking for the sake of democracy or dressing her dog up in costumes.

Bob Schwartz Quartet to Debut Medley From Songs Published in 1925 at Thursday’s Public Domain Day Celebration

By day, he’s a D.C.-based intellectual property lawyer. By night, he’s the leader of a jazz quartet with numerous private event gigs and plum spots on the D.C. jazz club and brunch circuits. At least that was the story until COVID hit earlier this year and almost all the live sessions vanished. Since March, Bob Schwartz has been more focused on his legal career, and sessions with his band, the Bob Schwartz Quartet, have been few and far between. “It’s been hard going from 70 gigs a year to just a few outdoor events and rehearsals,” he says, adding, ”Of course it’s been far harder on those who rely on music for a living — please find and support their virtual concerts.”

The Bob Schwartz Quartet, with Bob at left.

This Thursday, however, the Bob Schwartz Quartet (BSQ) will be together again—albeit masked and socially distanced with open windows and space heaters—as they play a mini concert during our Public Domain Day celebration, a free, virtual event highlighting the works that will be moving into the public domain in 2021.

Starting at 2:45pm PST, a full 15 minutes before the remarks start, Bob and his bandmates will be welcoming guests to the party with a selection of tunes from the public domain—those works that have passed out of copyright and are free for creators to remix, reuse, and redistribute at will.

In addition to the mini concert at the start of the celebration, BSQ will also be debuting a medley of portions of ten of the many great songs that will enter the public domain in 2021.  “I knew that David Berger and Chuck Israels, the creators of the Music Library Association’s Public Domain Song Anthology, are nearing completion of a 1924-1925 supplement,” Bob recounts. “They sent me their progress sheets on dozens of these wonderful songs. We chose segments from ten to join together into a 6-minute medley.” 

To send our guests off with toes tapping, BSQ will play another selection of public domain songs to close out our show. BSQ’s planned setlist includes:

Entrance Music
Annie Laurie – Lady Alicia Scott ~1834 to fit a William Douglas (~1682 – 1748) poem.
My Melancholy Baby – Ernie Burnett / George A. Norton 1911 / 1912
Look For The Silver Lining – Jerome Kern / B.G. (Buddy) DeSylva 1919

Medley (Mashup) of Songs Published in 1925
If You Knew SusieJoseph Myer & Buddy DeSylva
I’m Sitting On Top of the WorldRay Henderson / Sam M. Lewis
AlwaysIrving Berlin
DinahHarry Akst / Sam M. Lewis & Joseph Young
Five Foot Two Ray Henderson / Sam M. Lewis & Joseph Young
Yes Sir, That’s My BabyWalter Donaldson / Gus Kahn
Clap Hands, Here Comes CharlieBilly Rose, Ballard MacDonald, Joseph Meyer
Bye Bye Blues – Fred Hamm, Dave Bennett, Bert Lown, Chauncey Gray
ManhattanRodgers & Hart
Sweet Georgia BrownBen Bernie & Maceo Pinkard / Kenneth Casey

Exit Music
Who’s Sorry Now? – Ted Snyder / Bert Kalmar & Harry Ruby 1923
All By MyselfIrving Berlin 1921
Ja-Da – Bob Carleton 1918 / Jerome Avenue – Bob Schwartz original largely on Jada chord progression. (A note from Bob: Chord progressions are PD—I actually based my tune on Sonny Rollins’ 1954 Doxy, now a jazz standard. A reason why these PD anthologies are so vital for music education.)

Reflecting on the music in the medley, Bob notes that unlike the Anthology, which took years to prefund and is distributed free of charge under the terms of the CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication license, there is no prefunding for the 1924-1925 Supplement. If you are interested in helping support its production, you can sign up for notifications about the project. Viewers might also be interested in learning more about Berger’s massive archival project on Duke Ellington’s music.

Tickets are still available for the Public Domain Day celebration, which is being cohosted by Creative Commons, the Center for the Study of the Public Domain, Internet Archive, SPARC, and Wikimedia Foundation. Registration for the virtual event is free and open to the public. The session will be recorded for those who cannot attend synchronously.

BSQ (Bob Schwartz Quartet) is:
Bob Schwartz (Constantine Cannon LLP) tenor sax & flutes
Ralph Cornwell (JHU Applied Physics Lab) vibraphone
Herb Nachmann (BAE Systems, Inc., ret.) acoustic bass
Alan Kirschenbaum (Hyman, Phelps & McNamara, P.C.) drums
Nina Schwartz (Impulse Graphics LLC) vocals
Learn more & connect with BSQ