Since 18th century and pre-Constitution America, libraries have been a public space, a central repository where books could be borrowed, read and returned—a long defended democratic ideal of the public library. But new challenges like book bans and lawsuits against libraries threaten that historic role. Join Brewster Kahle for a discussion about the future of libraries at The Commonwealth Club of California, October 6 @ 5:30pm PT.
Public Library Lending: An Endangered Core Value of American Democracy? October 6 @ 5:30pm PT The Commonwealth Club of California 110 The Embarcadero, Toni Rembe Rock Auditorium Register now for the in-person event (virtual attendance available)
“A beautifully illustrated journey through the history of computing, from the Antikythera mechanism to the iPhone and beyond—I loved it.”—Eben Upton, Founder and CEO of Raspberry Pi
From notched bones in the ancient world to self-driving cars powered by modern AI, for centuries humans have used computing systems to solve problems & enhance the way we live. But who are the people and stories behind these advancements? In THE HISTORY OF THE COMPUTER, author and illustrator Rachel Ignotofsky presents a fun-filled & beautifully illustrated journey through computing history, checking in on the notable personalities, organizations & technologies that have changed our world.
In our virtual event on September 15 @ 10am PT, Rachel will be joined by Alexis Rossi, Internet Archive’s director of media & access, and Jason Scott, free range archivist, for a discussion of the people, the inventions, the passions, and the controversies that have defined the history of the computer and its role in our daily lives.
Purchase your copy of The History of the Computer from The Booksmith, our local bookstore in the historic Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, or your own local bookshop.
September Book Talk: The History of the Computer Author & illustrator Rachel Ignotofsky in conversation with Alexis Rossi & Jason Scott from the Internet Archive. September 15 @ 10am PT Watch the recording from the virtual event
EDITORIAL NOTE: Updated 9/15/22 to remove registration links & include links to view the video.
“Josh Chin and Liza Lin have given us a truly groundbreaking investigation of China’s embrace of digital surveillance. The global scope and deep detail of their account retires the notion of an ‘all-seeing’ surveillance as some future scenario; it is happening already. They will open your eyes to the astonishing intersection of data, politics, and the human body. Anyone who cares about the future of technology, of China, or of free will cannot afford to miss this.” —Evan Osnos, The New Yorker
Join authors Josh Chin & Liza Lin for an in-person discussion on life in China’s burgeoning surveillance state. They will be joined in conversation by Xiao Qiang (Berkeley). September 14 @ Internet Archive, 300 Funston Avenue, San Francisco Doors open at 6:30pm, discussion starts at 7pm.
People living in democracies have for decades drawn comfort from the notion that their form of government, for all its flaws, is the best history has managed to produce. In SURVEILLANCE STATE: Inside China’s Quest to Launch a New Era of Social Control (St. Martin’s Press; September 6, 2022), award-winning journalists Josh Chin and Liza Lin (Wall Street Journal) document with startling detail how China’s Communist Party is striving for something new: a political model that shapes the will of the people not through the ballot box but through the sophisticated—and often brutal—harnessing of data.
Purchase a copy of Surveillance State at registration to be signed by the authors at the event. You can also purchase unsigned copies from The Booksmith, our local bookshop in the historic Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, to be delivered to you, or from your own local bookstore.
Book Talk: Surveillance State Authors Josh Chin and Liza Lin September 14 @ 7pm PT IN-PERSON @ the Internet Archive, 300 Funston Avenue, San Francisco Registration is required!Register now
Join experts from the library, copyright, and information policy fields for a series of conversations exploring issues related to digital ownership and the future of library collections. Learn more about the event on the Library Leaders Forum web site, or register below.
This year’s Library Leaders Forum will be organized on two separate dates to provide attendees with a flexible environment in which to reconnect with colleagues:
In our virtual session, hear from library leaders as they navigate the challenges of the ebook marketplace, and their concerns about the future of library collections as content moves digital.
October 19: In-Person
October 19 @ 9am – 3pm PT Internet Archive Headquarters @ 300 Funston, San Francisco
At our in-person session, we’ll gather together with the builders & dreamers to envision an equitable future for digital lending. Capacity for the in-person session, held at our headquarters in San Francisco, will be capped at 30 attendees.Interested in attending?
Empowering Libraries Through Controlled Digital Lending
October 11 @ 10am PT – REGISTER NOW The Internet Archive’s Open Libraries program empowers libraries to lend digital books to patrons using Controlled Digital Lending. Attendees will learn how CDL works, the benefits of the Open Libraries program, and the impact that the program is having for partner libraries and the communities they serve.
We’re fighting back by celebrating book ownership with the #OwnBooks campaign.
It’s very easy to take part. Choose a book that you’ve owned for a long time – ideally the oldest book you own! You can also choose another media piece, such as a record, CD, or DVD. Take a photo with the book and share it on social media. Tell us how long you’ve owned your book and use the #OwnBooks hashtag.
You could also tell us the story of your relationship with the book – what were the circumstances in which you acquired it? Does it spark any special memories for you? If you prefer, you could make a selfie video and record yourself telling the story of the book.
We’ll retweet your posts. Make sure to use the #OwnBooks hashtag and mention @internetarchive to help us find them.
Many items are added to the Internet Archive’s collections every month, by us and by our patrons. Here’s a round up of some of the new media you might want to check out. Logging in might be required to borrow certain items.
The audio archive contains recordings ranging from alternative news programming, to Grateful Dead concerts, to Old Time Radio shows, to book and poetry readings, to original music uploaded by our users. Explore.
The Live Music Archive is a community committed to providing the highest quality live concerts in a lossless, downloadable format, along with the convenience of on-demand streaming (all with artist permission). Explore.
From 1970 to 2004, Colgate University amassed as many as 1.5 million microfiche cards with documents from the U.S. federal government.
The small, private liberal arts institution housed the collection in a central location accessible to the former reference service point and the circulation desk in Hamilton, New York.
“Every single campus tour that goes through the library walks past this collection. Our well meaning student ambassadors would announce ‘Here’s our microfiche that no one uses,’” said Debbie Krahmer, accessible technology & government documents librarian at Colgate.
Since the popularity of the miniaturized thumbnails of pages waned several years ago, many libraries have struggled with what to do with their microfiche collections, as they contain important information but are difficult to use.
Krahmer was looking for ways to offload the materials and discovered the Internet Archive would accept microfiche donations for digitization. It was a way to preserve the content, make it easier for the public to access, and avoid putting the microfiche in a landfill.
“These government documents are meant to be available and accessible to the general public. For many there’s still a lot of good information in this collection,” said Courtney L. Young, the university librarian. “While the microfiche has been stored in large metal cabinets on the main level, many of our users do not see them. This project will improve that visibility and accessibility.”
About the donation
In July, the Internet Archive arranged for the twelve cabinets of microfiche, each in excess of 600 pounds, to be loaded onto pallets and shipped to the Internet Archive for preservation and digitization. Materials include Census data, documents from the Department of Education, Congressional testimony, CIA documents, and foreign news translated into English.
Colgate also gave indexes of the microfiche that will be “game changers” for other government libraries once they are digitized because the volumes are expensive and hard to acquire, Krahmer added.
Krahmer said the moving process with the Internet Archive was easy and would recommend the option to other librarians.
“This is a lot easier than trying to figure out how to get these materials recycled,” Krahmer said. “In addition to improving discovery and access, this supports the university’s sustainability plan. It’s going to get digitized, be made available online, and preserved. This is win-win no matter how you look at it.”
Public access to government publications
Government documents from microfiche are coming to archive.org based on the combined efforts of the Internet Archive and its Federal Depository Library Program library partners. The Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP), founded in 1813, provides designated libraries with copies of bills, laws, congressional hearings, regulations, and executive and judicial branch documents and reports to share with the public.
Colgate joins Claremont Colleges, Evergreen State College, University of Alberta, University of California San Francisco, and the University of South Carolina that have contributed over 70 million pages on over one million microfiche cards. Other libraries are welcome to join this project.
Featuring the book How We Give Now by Lucy Bernholz. Published by MIT Press.
What is dataraising and why should nonprofits care? For millennia humans have given time and money to each other and to causes they care about. A few hundred years ago we invented nonprofit organizations and they’ve become a key mechanism in the donation of private resources for public benefit. Now, we can also donate digital data. Organizations such as iNaturalist use donated digital photographs to build communities of nature lovers and inform climate scientists. Other organizations are using donated data to build cultural archives, advocate for fair labor laws, protect consumers, and for medical research.
Watch session recording:
Join Lucy Bernholz, author of How We Give Now, Scott Loarie of iNaturalist, and Dr. Jasmine McNealy from the University of Florida for a discussion of the promises and perils of donating digital data and the implications for individuals, communities, and civil society.
August Book Talk: Dataraising and Digital Civil Society Featuring Lucy Bernholz, author of How We Give Now, Scott Loarie of iNaturalist, and Dr. Jasmine McNealy from the University of Florida August 10, 2022 @ 11am PT Watch the session recording.
“A comprehensive and fascinating deep dive into the evolution of libraries… Bibliophiles should consider this a must-read.”—Publishers Weekly
Perfect for book lovers, this is a fascinating exploration of the history of libraries and the people who built them, from the ancient world to the digital age.
Join historian Abby Smith Rumsey for a book talk & conversation with Andrew Pettegree and Arthur der Weduwen, authors of The Library: A Fragile History.
Watch session recording:
Many have decried the perilous state of the library in the 21st century, a situation that was made only worse when public libraries across the world were forced to shut their doors in the face of a global pandemic. But across centuries of existence, libraries have faced ruin from war, fire, neglect, and dispersal—only to be reborn again.
In The Library, historians Andrew Pettegree and Arthur der Weduwen trace the extraordinary history of the institution, from the famed collections of the ancient world to the modern public resource of today. Along the way, they encounter the librarians, historians, readers, supporters and antagonists that have shaped the library and its offerings over centuries. Do libraries last? Register for our book talk to find out from the authors.
July Book Talk: The Library: A Fragile History Historian Abby Smith Rumsey in conversation with authors Andrew Pettegree and Arthur der Weduwen. July 20 @ 9am PT Watch the event recording
ABOUT THE SPEAKERS:
Abby Smith Rumsey is a writer and historian focusing on the creation, preservation, and use of the cultural record in all media. She writes and lectures widely on analog and digital preservation, online scholarship, the nature of evidence, the changing roles of libraries and archives, and the impact of new information technologies on perceptions of history, time, and identity. She is the author of When We Are No More: How Digital Memory is Shaping our Future (2016).
Andrew Pettegree is Professor of Modern History at St Andrews University, where he directs the Universal Short Title Catalogue, a database of information about all books published before 1650. A leading expert on the history of book and media transformations, Pettegree is the award-winning author of several books on the subject. He lives in Scotland.
Arthur der Weduwen is a historian and postdoctoral fellow at St. Andrews, where he serves as an associate editor of the Universal Short Title Catalogue. This is his fifth book. He lives in Scotland.
“Wilson-Lee’s pioneering study makes Hernando’s life every bit as compelling as his father’s. But that is not all: as we accompany Hernando on his various European journeys of compulsive acquisition, we are not only led through a richly evoked early modern world, but also prompted to reflect on our own data-saturated age.” —The Times Literary Supplement
The Internet Archive invites you to watch a book talk with Edward Wilson-Lee, author of The Catalogue of Shipwrecked Books: Christopher Columbus, His Son, and the Quest to Build the World’s Greatest Library, followed by a conversation with Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive.
In The Catalogue of Shipwrecked Books, Edward Wilson-Lee tells the compelling story of Hernando Colón, who sailed with his father Christopher Columbus on his final voyage to the New World, a journey that ended in disaster, bloody mutiny, and shipwreck. After Columbus’s death in 1506, eighteen-year-old Hernando sought to continue—and surpass—his father’s campaign to explore the boundaries of the known world by building a library that would collect everything ever printed: a vast holding organized by summaries and catalogues, the first database for the exploding diversity of written matter as the printing press proliferated across Europe.
Hernando held the groundbreaking conviction that a library of universal knowledge should include “all books, in all languages and on all subjects,” even material often dismissed: ballads, erotica, news pamphlets, almanacs, popular images, romances, fables. The loss of part of his collection to another maritime disaster in 1522, set off the final scramble to complete this sublime project, a race against time to realize a vision of near-impossible perfection.
Book Talk: The Catalogue of Shipwrecked Books Author Edward Wilson-Lee in conversation with Internet Archive’s Brewster Kahle. June 28 @ 10am PT Watch the recording from the virtual event
Edward Wilson-Lee is a Fellow in English at Sidney Sussex College, University of Cambridge, and a specialist in the literature and the history of the book in the early modern period. He is the author of The Catalogue of Shipwrecked Books, Shakespeare in Swahililand and Translation and the Book Trade in Early Modern Europe.