Category Archives: Books Archive

Eyeing the Future: Harkness Eye Institute’s Ophthalmology Journals Preserved at Internet Archive

When the decision was made to move the Harkness Eye Institute in New York City from its home of nearly 90 years, no one knew what to do with its vast collection of academic journals. Dr. Daniel Casper, Columbia University professor emeritus of ophthalmology, found himself tasked with the job.

Dr. Daniel Casper, Columbia University professor emeritus of ophthalmology

The Columbia University Irving Medical Center’s Department of Ophthalmology had operated the Institute on Manhattan’s 165th Street in Washington Heights since 1933. Its stately brick building was possible thanks to a $5 million gift from philanthropist Edward Harkness. In 1922, NY-Presbyterian Hospital announced that the current location would be demolished to create a new cancer center, and the Eye Institute would be relocated to other locations on the Medical Center campus.

The move meant emptying the 9-floor Institute, including the John M. Wheeler Library. The collection consisted of a rare book collection; more than 160 ophthalmology journals (7,000 volumes) published in English, French, Japanese, German, and Spanish, dating back to the 1800s; ophthalmic textbooks; and a collection of ophthalmic and medical memorabilia. For many years, the library maintained a small museum with antique ophthalmic instruments and other memorabilia on the first floor of the Eye Institute. In the 1950s the space was converted to clinical use so most of the museum artifacts were placed in storage. With its recent move, the department could accommodate the rare books and memorabilia, but not the large collection of journals and some textbooks—leaving the fate of the remaining items in the air.  

E. S. Harkness Eye Institute, circa 1933.

It was the end of an era for Casper, who has worked at the Institute since 1986 and was a frequent user of the library’s resources. He said he felt somewhat responsible for saving as much of the library contents as possible. “The Wheeler Collection really was on the brink of a landfill,” said Casper. 

He spent his first year of retirement looking for a suitable home for the library contents. Recognizing the unique historic value of many of the journals, he approached the National Library of Medicine, the National Eye Institute, and the American Academy of Ophthalmology Museum, among others, all of whom replied in a similar manner—they had neither the space nor the resources to maintain the collection. 

Casper had no luck finding a place to rehouse the sizable donation, until he reached out to the Internet Archive. Soon after making contact, an Archive staffer in New York came to take measurements to ship the remaining Wheeler Collection to the Archive. A few days later, a truck arrived and 23 pallets of journals and books were loaded. The items will be safely stored in a physical archive and scanned so the public can have digital access online.   

“The preservation and electronic dissemination of this collection is truly a dream come true,” Casper said, who appreciates that the donation process was seamless, with no charge to the university, and the journals will live on for future generations in a more accessible format.

“I did not realize the Internet Archive would take a collection like this. People spent huge amounts of effort putting these works together. It would have been unfortunate to just throw it all away.”
Dr. Daniel Casper,
Columbia University professor emeritus

Tracking older print articles that have never been digitized can be time consuming for researchers, and many previous studies are overlooked because they can be difficult to identify and locate, Casper said. With digital access to journals, researchers can avoid reinventing the wheel in their research and build on past scholarly evidence more easily, he said.

“I did not realize the Internet Archive would take a collection like this,” Casper said. “People spent huge amounts of effort putting these works together. It would have been unfortunate to just throw it all away. That would imply the collection is worthless, but it has value.”

Casper hopes the digitization of the Wheeler Collection leads to an acceleration of advances in science as researchers will eventually have free, online access to this invaluable collection of knowledge.

“I’ve become an Internet Archive booster. It saved us,” he said. “The Internet Archive is an incredible resource.”

New Audiobook Anthology Highlights Public Domain Folktales from 1928

After Laura Gibbs retired from teaching mythology and folklore at the University of Oklahoma, she wanted to continue sharing her love of storytelling with digital learners everywhere. Following her own passion for making folk stories as accessible to all as possible, she began volunteering with a nonprofit that produces free audio books for the public.

Gibbs, who now lives in Austin, devotes one to two hours each day to recording and reviewing audio for LibriVox, a volunteer community of readers who record free public domain audiobooks. Her most recent project involved finding folktales, fairy tales and mythology in the Internet Archive that were recently released into the public domain to compile an anthology, “Tales from 1928,” available to read at Internet Archive or listen via LibriVox.

Tales of 1928: Listen | Read

Gibbs selected short stories from 20 books that were published in 1928, as those works are now in the public domain in the U.S. and can be shared, remixed and reused without copyright restrictions. In curating her collection, she was thoughtful about how to remix the creative works in a package that would appeal to listeners. 

“The variety of folktales and fairy tales in the world is just enormous. So many think it begins and ends with the Brothers Grimm,” said Gibbs, of the German folklorists. “My number one goal was to have worldwide coverage—stories not just from Europe, but also from Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, East Asia, and the Americas.”

Overall, Gibbs has recorded nine books of African folktales with more than 200 stories available for listening here.

Gibbs also wanted stories with accessible language—not too many old fashioned “thee” or “thou” references. Once she decided on the line up, she invited people to record each story, and was pleased with the response from new and experienced readers to volunteer for the project.

In addition to producing the anthology, Gibbs “proof listens” to book chapters by other readers before they are shared with the LibriVox community. The work involves careful attention to detail—listening for background noise (a car honking, phone ringing, etc.) or misspoken words. Gibbs flags the noise by marking the exact time, which she then reports back to the readers for re-recording.

Gibbs said she’s enjoyed the range of materials she gets to review. “It’s fun discovering weird, random stuff in the public domain,” she said. Her proof listening projects are listed here.

Bambi: A Life in the Woods: Listen

Recently, Gibbs proof listened to the English translation of the 1928 classic, “Bambi: A Life in the Woods,” by Felix Salton, translated by Whittaker Chambers. “The book is fantastic, and the reader is the best…she performed all the different voices of the animals and even the individual fawns,” she said. “If anybody wants something beautiful and inspiring to listen to, it’s now available at LibriVox and also at the Internet Archive, where LibriVox hosts all its audio files.” 

Gibbs plans to continue creating audio folktale anthologies by year. She’s already started on works from 1927. She added: “For the rest of my life, we are going to have new content entering the public domain, year by year, so I’ll keep going.”

For more on Gibbs’s curation of African folk tales see: Library as Laboratory Recap: Curating the African Folktales in the Internet Archive’s Collection | Internet Archive Blogs

For more on the public domain works from 1928, see: Public Domain Day Celebrates Creative Works from 1928 | Internet Archive Blogs

Internet Archive Stands Firm on Library Digital Rights in Final Brief of Hachette v. Internet Archive Lawsuit

Today, the Internet Archive has taken a decisive final step in our ongoing battle for libraries’ digital rights by submitting the final appellate reply brief [PDF] in Hachette v. Internet Archive, the publishers’ lawsuit against our library. This move reaffirms Internet Archive’s unwavering commitment to fulfilling our mission of providing universal access to all knowledge, even in the face of steep legal challenges.

READ THE FINAL APPELLATE REPLY BRIEF

Statement from Brewster Kahle, founder and digital librarian of the Internet Archive:
“Resolving this should be easy—just sell ebooks to libraries so we can own, preserve and lend them to one person at a time. This is a battle for the soul of libraries in the digital age.”

This process has taken nearly four years to work through the legal system, and in that time we’ve often fielded the question, “Why should I care about this lawsuit?” By restricting libraries’ ability to lend the books they own digitally, the publishers’ license-only business model and litigation strategies perpetuate inequality in access to knowledge.

Throughout this legal battle, Internet Archive has remained steadfast in our mission to defend the core values of libraries—preservation, access, and education. This fight is not just about protecting the Internet Archive’s digital lending program; it’s about standing up for the digital rights of all libraries and ensuring that future generations have equal access to the wealth of knowledge contained within them.

Aruba’s Bold Support of Library Digital Rights, by Brewster Kahle

Aruba’s Prime Minister, Evelyn Wever-Croes: “Give them the opportunity to search for the truth.”

Last week Aruba launched the island nation’s digital heritage portal online: Coleccion Aruba. As trumpeted in Wired:  “The Internet Archive Just Backed Up an Entire Caribbean Island,” but really the credit goes to Aruba. Digitizing their national cultural heritage (100k items) and putting it online for free public access is a huge achievement.

I met with the Prime Minister (pictured above), the Minister of Culture, and the Minister of Education who backed the efforts made by the National Librarian, National Archivist, and their digital strategist. Never have I seen such unified support for cultural preservation and access. They brought together people from the Dutch islands and the Internet Archive to share the news and to inspire and to lead.

Aruba was the first to sign onto the Four Digital Rights of Memory Institutions: right to Collect, Preserve, provide Access, and interlibrary Collaboration. These are bad times when we have to reclaim these rights that are being taken from all libraries, but Aruba is making a stand. Go Aruba!

Aruba’s National Librarian, Astrid Britten, signs the Four Rights, as the National Archivist, Raymond Hernandez, and Brewster Kahle look on.

If libraries are reduced to only subscribing to commercial database products rather than owning and curating collections, we will be beholden to external corporations and subject to their whims over what’s in licensed collections, and how patrons can access them. The “Spotify for Books” model is not the way we want our libraries to go. 

To top it off, the Prime Minister, Evelyn Wever-Croes, inspired us when she told us that for the next generation, we need to “Give them the opportunity to search for the truth.” Yes.

Inspiring to see a country lead so well. I hope we have the honor of working with other nations that will also assert Digital Rights for Libraries, and live by those principles.

– Brewster Kahle

Aruba Becomes First Country to Endorse Statement Protecting Digital Rights of Memory Institutions

From left: Aruba’s National Librarian, Astrid Britten (Director, Biblioteca Nacional Aruba), signs the statement protecting memory organizations online as Raymond Hernandez (Director, Archivo Nacional Aruba) and Brewster Kahle (Founder, Internet Archive) look on.

This was a week of firsts in Aruba. The small island nation in the southern Caribbean launched its new heritage portal, the Aruba Collection (Coleccion Aruba), and it became the first country to sign a statement to protect the digital rights of libraries & other memory institutions.

Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle and Chris Freeland, director of library services at the Archive, attended the signing ceremony in Aruba, a country in the Kingdom of the Netherlands located 18 miles north of Venezuela.

Support for the statement, Four Digital Rights For Protecting Memory Institutions Online, was spearheaded by Peter Scholing, information scientist and researcher at the country’s national library, Biblioteca Nacional Aruba (BNA). Last fall, he learned about the need for library digital rights to be championed during a conference at the Internet Archive in San Francisco. While much of that discussion was based on the 2022 report, “Securing Digital Rights for Libraries: Towards an Affirmative Policy Agenda for a Better Internet,” authored by Lila Bailey and Michael Menna, and focused on protecting library access to e-books, Scholing was interested in Aruba making a broader statement—one encompassing all memory institutions and the diverse types of materials they house.

“Over the last few months we’ve brainstormed about these digital rights and how to broaden the statement to make it relevant to not only libraries, but also for memory institutions and GLAMs in general,” said Scholing, using the acronym for galleries, libraries, archives & museums. “In that sense, it has become a near universal declaration for open access to information, in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UN 2030 Agenda/Sustainable Development Goals, #16.10) or other statements on open access to documentary, cultural or digital heritage. This aligns almost perfectly with what we aim to achieve here on Aruba—universal access to “our” information.”

Many memory institutions on the island have long worked together to digitize collections including books, government documents, photos and videos. The statement reinforces the importance of libraries, archives, museums and other memory institutions being able to fulfill their mission by preserving knowledge for the public to access.

Initial Signing Organizations

  • Archivo Nacional Aruba (ANA)
  • Aruban National Committee for UNESCO’s Memory of the World Programme
  • Biblioteca Nacional Aruba (BNA)
  • Coleccion Aruba
  • Museo Arkeologico Nacional Aruba (MANA)
  • Stichting Monumentenfonds Aruba
  • Union di Organisacionnan Cultural Arubano (UNOCA)

The statement asserts that the rights and responsibilities that memory institutions have always enjoyed offline must also be protected online. To accomplish this goal, libraries, archives and museums must have the legal rights and practical ability to:

  • Collect digital materials, including those made available only via streaming and other restricted means, through purchase on the open market or any other legal means, no matter the underlying file format;
  • Preserve those materials, and where necessary repair or reformat them, to ensure their long-term existence and availability;
  • Provide controlled access to digital materials for advanced research techniques and to patrons where they are—online;
  • Cooperate with other memory institutions, by sharing or transferring digital collections, so as to provide more equitable access for communities in remote and less well-funded areas.

DOWNLOAD THE STATEMENT

In Aruba, Scholing said library and archive leaders believed strongly that these rights should be upheld with a public endorsement. Michael Menna, co-author of the statement and the 2022 report, saw this as a key first step in building a coalition of memory institutions.

“Aruba has been brave to make such a clear and unequivocal statement about the many challenges facing libraries, archives, and museums,” said Menna. “Simply put, these essential institutions need better protections to adapt their services to today’s media environment. Hopefully, after hearing Aruba speak out, others can follow suit.”

Report co-author Lila Bailey, senior policy counsel at the Internet Archive, said that seeing the statement embraced and endorsed by memory institutions is rewarding.

“It is a thrill to see Aruba leading the way towards a better digital future for memory institutions worldwide,” said Bailey. “These institutions must meet the needs of a modern public using the best tools available. It is good public policy and basic common sense that libraries, archives and museums should be not only permitted but encouraged to leverage digital technologies to serve their essential public functions.”

The statement can be endorsed by governments, organizations, and individuals following a verification process. If you are interested in signing the statement, or would like to learn more, please complete the initial online inquiry, or e-mail Chris Freeland, Internet Archive’s director of library services, at chrisfreeland@archive.org.

Aruba Launches Digital Heritage Portal, Preserving Its History and Culture for Global Access

Many know Aruba as a popular tourist destination with beautiful beaches. The small island nation just north of Venezuela is also home to 110,000 inhabitants with a rich history—that many are working to preserve.

Aruba’s memory institutions have been digitizing materials for years. Initially, residents and international scholars could only view the items at the library on the island. But now with the help of Internet Archive, the Aruba Collection (Coleccion Aruba) is available to anyone for free from anywhere.

EXPLORE THE COLECCION ARUBA

A celebration of the heritage portal’s launch is being held via livestream on April 8.

COLLABORATION IS KEY

Digitizing the island’s historic materials was a collaborative effort. After Aruba became a country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1986, the national library (Biblioteca Nacional Aruba; Aruba National Library – BNA) and the national archives (Archivo Nacional Aruba; National Archives of Aruba – ANA) were established. Leaders from the two institutions worked together to curate and scan artifacts including newspapers, government reports, and cultural items.

“Aruba has a challenging past due to migration, colonization, and slavery,” said Peter Scholing, information specialist/researcher at BNA, the national library. “That means there has been a diaspora of people coming in and spreading out throughout the world—the same goes for our collection and documents.”

Locating materials to digitize involved several local institutions on the island. Because the materials are scattered, Aruba has branched out to collaborate with others in the Caribbean, Venezuela, Netherlands and the United States. The local leaders established protocols and standards for the collection, but didn’t have enough resources to make the materials available in a robust digital library.

Kaart van het Eiland Aruba (1825) / Map of the Island of Aruba (1825)

Connecting with the Internet Archive to host the digital collection provided the missing piece of the puzzle, according to leaders in Aruba. “Because of the reality of our small island state, we don’t have much funding for big company servers,” said Raymond Hernandez, head of the Aruba National Archives (ANA). “If you have a limited budget, it’s not possible. The dream has come true, thanks to the Internet Archive. We are very grateful.”

The new portal on the Internet Archive devoted to Aruba includes links to the several other institutions such as UNOCA (Union di Organisacionnan Cultural Arubano (UNOCA),  Museo Arkeologico Nacional Aruba (MANA); National Archaeological Museum Aruba; Stichting Monumentenfonds Aruba (SMFA); Monuments Fund of Aruba), Departamento di Cultura Aruba, University of Aruba, TeleAruba and UNESCO Aruba.

EXPLORE THE COLECCION ARUBA

The collection has more than 100,000 items to date — nearly a one-to-one ratio for the island’s population. This includes about 40,000 documents, 60,000 images, 900 videos, 45 audio files and seven 3D objects for a total of 67 thematic and/or institutional (sub)collections.

As an additional layer of protection, the materials are being uploaded to the Filecoin  decentralized storage network, thanks to a longstanding relationship between the Internet Archive and Filecoin Foundation for the Decentralized Web (FFDW).

[See paper on the Aruba Model – Coleccion Aruba: Intersectoral Collaboration on Aruba as a Model for the (Dutch) Caribbean : A collaborative approach for preservation and access of collections in small island states]

RESEARCH USE OF THE COLLECTION

Chelsea Schields, University of California, Irvine

For Chelsea Schields, associate professor of history at the University of California, Irvine, the materials were so compelling and easy to use that she integrated them into her undergraduate course, “Oil and Capitalism.” Students learn about the global history of petroleum and develop research skills to build an argument based on evidence. “Students use the Aruba Collection to write research papers related to the culture of oil towns,” Schields said. “It is often their favorite part of the course because they get to dig into the sources themselves and identify the themes that resonate across those materials.”

Unlike other primary source collections, which are often cumbersome and hidden behind a costly paywall, the diverse sources found enabled students to write papers on topics ranging from migrant domestic workers in Aruba to the spatial organization of oil towns. 

In her own research for a book on the social histories of oil refineries on Aruba and Curaçao, Schields said the Aruba heritage portal was extremely useful when the COVID-19 pandemic restricted travel in the summer of 2020. “The Aruba Collection provided such an indispensable, bottom-up portrait of the history of the island’s Lago Refinery, which at its peak was among the largest plants in the world,” she said. “From photographs of refinery workers and their families to digitized copies of employee publications, these sources allowed me to see the labor required to transform oil into the commodities we rely upon today.”

Adi Martis, Utrecht University (emeritus)

Since the launch of Coleccion Aruba, Adi Martis said he uses the website almost every day. The emeritus associate professor at Utrecht University in The Netherlands appreciates how easy it is to access a variety of materials in national archives and the national library collections.  For example, by combining data from digitized historical maps and land ownership register books from the Aruban Land Registry, users can gain an insight into the history of land ownership on the island, he said. 

By applying AI-based, Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR) algorithms, the digitized, difficult-to-read handwritten texts are made accessible to the public and transformed into searchable data. Martis said in some cases, digitized archives from Aruba, Curaçao and the Netherlands are combined and search results are sometimes surprising—in particular with data about the history of slavery. Users can search using different keywords and the site can even create family trees, which normally can be difficult because the slaves had no surnames.

“For the past 50 years I have been doing archival research and I must admit that I am proud of my small island that was able to achieve such incredible results in such a short time with the help of Internet Archive,” Martis said.

Jan Bant, a doctoral student in history from Aruba who lives in The Netherlands, relied heavily on the Coleccion Aruba when doing research for  his master’s thesis in 2020 during the COVID-19 lockdown. Although he was unable to return to the island, he accessed journals and newspaper articles from Europe to examine Aruba’s political climate between in the 1970s and 80s. Being able to enter key words and dates in the search function was particularly helpful in locating sources. Bant was able to uncover documents about protests, revealing the country’s somewhat radical traditions of commenting on world affairs despite its image as a calm player in the Caribbean, he said.

As Bant continues his PhD research on the role of sports in Dutch Caribbean communities, he is tapping into the Coleccion Aruba, including materials about the oil refinery and laborers who brought baseball to the island.  

Bant contributed back to the portal by uploading his completed master’s thesis, which was completed in 2021. “There is a lot of research about Aruba that gets written but it’s never really used—often because people don’t know where to find it,” Bant said. “The Aruba Collection can also serve well as a repository to store research that has been done about Aruba. That’s what I think is very valuable.”

SERVING PATRONS

Aruba’s UNOCA Managing Director Ray-Anne Hernandez said the heritage portal allows users to easily search her foundation’s work of arts and culture. Researchers now can go to one place to locate digitized images and documents. 

“We have collections that we want to share and have accessible to the public, so this was a logical step to be part of this collaboration,” Hernadez said. “In the collection, we have history. We have art, music, and education. It’s so much more than we initially thought it would be and that fills us with great pride and great joy. It’s not just that we made a website. It’s something that’s continually growing and everybody is using it.”

The Dutch Caribbean Digital Heritage Week will be held on Aruba April 8-12. For the first day, April 8, a day-long symposium is planned, titled “Connecting our Shared Heritage: Linking (Dutch) Caribbean Heritage Institutions and Collections”, with keynote speeches from Brewster Kahle (Internet Archive), Eppo van Nispen (Dutch Network for Digital Heritage NDE and Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision), and contributions from a wide range of heritage professionals from across the Dutch Caribbean, and the world. It will be livestreamed via https://coleccion.aw/stream.

[Editorial note: For another take on the Coleccion Aruba, see, “The Internet Archive Just Backed Up an Entire Caribbean Island” from Wired.]

Book Talk: Big Fiction

“Sinykin’s Big Fiction is a book of major ambition and many satisfactions. Come for the comprehensive reframing of a key phase in U.S. literary history, stay for the parade of interesting people, the fascinating backstories of bestsellers, the electrically entertaining prose. The story of literary publishing in the postwar period has never been told with such verve.” – Mark McGurl, author of Everything and Less: The Novel in the Age of Amazon

Book Talk: Big Fiction
Thursday, May 9 @ 10am PT / 1pm ET
Register now for the virtual event!

In the late 1950s, Random House editor Jason Epstein would talk jazz with Ralph Ellison or chat with Andy Warhol while pouring drinks in his office. By the 1970s, editors were poring over profit-and-loss statements. The electronics company RCA bought Random House in 1965, and then other large corporations purchased other formerly independent publishers. As multinational conglomerates consolidated the industry, the business of literature—and literature itself—transformed.

Dan Sinykin explores how changes in the publishing industry have affected fiction, literary form, and what it means to be an author. Giving an inside look at the industry’s daily routines, personal dramas, and institutional crises, he reveals how conglomeration has shaped what kinds of books and writers are published. Sinykin examines four different sectors of the publishing industry: mass-market books by brand-name authors like Danielle Steel; trade publishers that encouraged genre elements in literary fiction; nonprofits such as Graywolf that aspired to protect literature from market pressures; and the distinctive niche of employee-owned W. W. Norton. He emphasizes how women and people of color navigated shifts in publishing, arguing that writers such as Toni Morrison allegorized their experiences in their fiction.

Big Fiction features dazzling readings of a vast range of novelists—including E. L. Doctorow, Judith Krantz, Renata Adler, Stephen King, Joan Didion, Cormac McCarthy, Chuck Palahniuk, Patrick O’Brian, and Walter Mosley—as well as vivid portraits of industry figures. Written in gripping and lively prose, this deeply original book recasts the past six decades of American fiction.

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ABOUT OUR SPEAKERS

DAN SINYKIN is an assistant professor of English at Emory University with a courtesy appointment in quantitative theory and methods. He is the author of American Literature and the Long Downturn: Neoliberal Apocalypse (2020). His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Review of BooksThe RumpusDissent, and other publications.

TED UNDERWOOD is a professor in the School of Information Sciences and also holds an appointment with the Department of English in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. After writing two books that describe eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literature using familiar critical methods, he turned to new opportunities created by large digital libraries, using machine learning to explore patterns of literary change that become visible across centuries and thousands of books. His most recent project moves in the opposite direction, using theories of historical interpretation to guide the development of large language models.

He has authored three books about literary history, Distant Horizons (The University of Chicago Press Books, 2019), Why Literary Periods Mattered: Historical Contrast and the Prestige of English Studies (Stanford University Press, 2013), and The Work of the Sun: Literature, Science and Political Economy 1760-1860 (New York: Palgrave, 2005).

Book Talk: Big Fiction
Thursday, May 9 @ 10am PT / 1pm ET
Register now for the virtual event!

Book Talk: Unlocking the Digital Age

Join us for a book talk with ANDREA I. COPLAND & KATHLEEN DeLAURENTI about UNLOCKING THE DIGITAL AGE, a crucial resource for early career musicians navigating the complexities of the digital era.

View the Recording

“[Musicians,] Use this book as a tool to enhance your understanding, protect your creations, and confidently step into the world of digital music. Embrace the journey with the same fervor you bring to your music and let this guide be a catalyst in shaping a fulfilling and sustainable musical career.”
– Dean Fred Bronstein, THE PEABODY INSTITUTE OF THE JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY

Based on coursework developed at the Peabody Conservatory, Unlocking the Digital Age: The Musician’s Guide to Research, Copyright, and Publishing by Andrea I. Copland and Kathleen DeLaurenti [READ NOW] serves as a crucial resource for early career musicians navigating the complexities of the digital era. This guide bridges the gap between creative practice and scholarly research, empowering musicians to confidently share and protect their work as they expand their performing lives beyond the concert stage as citizen artists. It offers a plain language resource that helps early career musicians see where creative practice and creative research intersect and how to traverse information systems to share their work. As professional musicians and researchers, the authors’ experiences on stage and in academia makes this guide an indispensable tool for musicians aiming to thrive in the digital landscape.

Copland and DeLaurenti will be in conversation with musician and educator, Kyoko Kitamura. Music librarian Matthew Vest will facilitate our discussion.

Unlocking the Digital Age: The Musician’s Guide to Research, Copyright, and Publishing is available to read & download.

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About our speakers

ANDREA I. COPLAND is an oboist, music historian, and librarian based in Baltimore, MD. Andrea has dual master’s of music degrees in oboe performance and music history from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University and is currently Research Coordinator at the Répertoire International de la Presse Musicale (RIPM) database. She is also a teaching artist with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s OrchKids program and writes a public musicology blog, Outward Sound, on substack.

KATHLEEN DeLAURENTI is the Director of the Arthur Friedheim Library at the Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University where she also teaches Foundations of Music Research in the graduate program. Previously, she served as scholarly communication librarian at the College of William and Mary where she participated in establishing state-wide open educational resources (OER) initiatives. She is co-chair of the Music Library Association (MLA) Legislation Committee as well as a member of the Copyright Education sub-committee of the American Library Association (ALA) and is past winner of the ALA Robert Oakley Memorial Scholarship for copyright research. DeLaurenti is passionate about copyright education, especially for musicians. She is active in communities of practice working on music copyright education, sustainable economic models for artists and musicians, and policy for a balanced copyright system. DeLaurenti served as the inaugural Open Access Editor of MLA and continues to serve on the MLA Open Access Editorial Board. She holds an MLIS from the University of Washington and a BFA in vocal performance from Carnegie Mellon University.

KYOKO KITAMURA is a Brookyn-based vocal improviser, bandleader, composer and educator, currently co-leading the quartet Geometry (with cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum, guitarist Joe Morris and cellist Tomeka Reid) and the trio Siren Xypher (with violist Melanie Dyer and pianist Mara Rosenbloom). A long-time collaborator of legendary composer Anthony Braxton, Kitamura appears on many of his releases and is the creator of the acclaimed 2023 documentary Introduction to Syntactical Ghost Trance Music which DownBeat Magazine calls “an invaluable resource for Braxton-philes.” Active in interdisciplinary performances, Kitamura recently provided vocals for, and appeared in, artist Matthew Barney’s 2023 five-channel installation Secondary.

MATTHEW VEST is the Music Inquiry and Research Librarian at UCLA. His research interests include change leadership in higher education, digital projects and publishing for music and the humanities, and composers working at the margins of the second Viennese School. He has also worked in the music libraries at the University of Virginia, Davidson College, and Indiana University and is the Open Access Editor for the Music Library Association.

Book Talk: UNLOCKING THE DIGITAL AGE
April 3 @ 10am PT / 1pm ET
VIRTUAL
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The Book Collector’s Legacy: Preserving the Personal Library of Rabbi Simon Noveck

Growing up in New Jersey, Beth Noveck says she was surrounded by so many books in her home that it felt like a library.

Simon and Doris Noveck. Image credit: Reiner Leist, American Portraits
Prestel Publishing, 1999

Her father, Simon Noveck, was a voracious reader. A rabbi with a Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University, Simon collected books about Jewish philosophy, history, and sociology. Her mother, Doris, was interested in books about the arts and cooking. Together, they traveled around the world and often brought home souvenirs in the form of books, including a Turkish dictionary and a guidebook from a Jewish cemetery in Prague.

Over the years, the Novecks amassed a collection of more than 10,000 volumes. After they died (Simon in 2005; Doris in 2022), the family had to decide what to do with all the books.

“My parents had always talked about the idea of building a lending library, creating a home for the collection that people could access,” said Beth, a professor at Northeastern University in Boston.

While storing the items in a physical library was not feasible, Beth said the Internet Archive provided the perfect solution: Digitizing the collection.

Donating the collection

The donation process started by completing the Internet Archive’s physical item donation form. She then got in touch with the Internet Archive team who helped answer questions about the deduplication, packing and shipping process.

“We work with prospective donors to make sure that the valuable information in their collections will be unique to our library,” said Liz Rosenberg, Internet Archive’s donations manager. “Once we determine the collection will help add new resources to our library we help coordinate the logistics of getting the collection to the physical archives. There can be all sorts of logistics puzzles involved in physical item donations, especially for sizable donations like this one, like how to box books for efficient storage and transport. It’s always meaningful to work with families to help honor the legacy of their loved ones by preserving the materials they curated over time.”

Boxing and moving the collection.

In November, the family donated approximately 5,000 books in 200 boxes—every book from the collection that the Archive did not already have online. Staff from the Internet Archive provided the boxes, staff and two trucks to move the items from New Jersey to the physical archives. The items will eventually be scanned, cataloged and available for free to the public online.

“I can think of no better way to honor my father’s memory and all the work that he did to create this collection,” Beth said. “This way his legacy continues, and other people get to benefit from the work that he did. I’m so thrilled and grateful for this opportunity.”

Download for iPhone / Android

To decide what to donate, Beth and her son, Amedeo Bettauer, 14, used the Donate Books app (iPhone / Android) from the Internet Archive to review each book to see if it would be new to the collection or a duplicate. The books had been moved to a family member’s house in New Jersey, where Beth and Amedeo went over the course of five weekends last fall (by plane, car or train) to sort out the collection.

“It was an occasion for a lot of reminiscence, wonderful stories and exchange of memories,” Beth said.

Understanding the collection

Born in 1914, Simon had served congregations in New York City and Hartford, Connecticut; was the head of adult education for B’Nai Brith; and wrote several books about Jewish history, sociology and philosophy. Living far from a research library in rural New Jersey, Beth said her parents frequently bought books and remained in touch with the wider world through their reading.

Sample book from the donation.

For Amedeo, who never met his grandfather, the process was a chance to learn more about his family’s history.

“Books really do reflect a person,” Amedeo said. “Getting to see my grandfather’s entire collection gave me a window into who he was, as a man, which was very interesting. There were some moments where I thought, ‘Wait, that’s a book that I might have gotten or that I even have.’ It was very enlightening to see.”

Amedeo and Beth said they were amazed at the breadth of the collection, including papers from U.S. presidents, and rare books on a variety of topics. The process was both sentimental and enjoyable, Beth said, knowing that her father had read every book they sorted. A long-time fan and supporter of the Internet Archive, she said it was very satisfying for the family to know that so much of the collection will be preserved.

“A lot of my grandfather’s books were very esoteric, so he might have been the only person left that had a physical copy of a certain book,” Amedeo said. “To have that be lost or destroyed would be a catastrophic loss of knowledge. This way the collection is digitized and forever available to everyone for free. I think it’s what my grandparents would have wanted.”

Fair Use in Action at the Internet Archive

As we celebrate Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week, we are reminded of all the ways these flexible copyright exceptions enable libraries to preserve materials and meet the needs of the communities they serve. Indeed, fair use is essential to the functioning of libraries, and underlies many of the ordinary library practices that we all take for granted. In this blog post, we wanted to describe a few of the ways the fair use doctrine has helped us build our library.

Fair use in action: Web Archives and the Wayback Machine

The Internet Archive has been archiving the web since the mid-1990’s. Our web collection now includes more than 850 billion web pages, with hundreds of millions added each day. The Wayback Machine is a free service that lets people visit these archived websites. Users can type in a URL, select a date range, and then begin surfing on an archived version of the web. 

Web archives are used for a variety of important purposes, many of which are themselves fair uses. News reporting and investigative journalism is one such use of the Wayback Machine. Indeed, thousands of news articles have relied upon historical versions of the web from the Wayback Machine. Just last week, 13 links to the Wayback Machine were used in a CNN story about an Ohio GOP Senate candidate’s previous statements that were critical of former President Trump. Our web archive also becomes an urgent backup for media sites that are shut down suddenly, whether by authoritarian governments or for other reasons, often becoming the only accessible source both for the authors of these stories and for the public. Another important purpose web archives can serve is as evidence in legal disputes. Attorneys use the Wayback Machine in their daily practice for evidentiary and research purposes. In 2023 alone, the Internet Archive attested to 450 affidavits in cases where Wayback Machine captures were used as evidence in court. 

The Wayback Machine also makes other parts of the web, such as Wikipedia, more useful and reliable. To date, the Internet Archive has been able to repair over 19 million broken links, URLs, that had returned a 404 (Page Not Found) error message, from 320 different Wikipedia language editions. There are many reasons, including bit rot and content drift, why links stop working. Restoring links ensures that Wikipedia remains an accurate and verifiable source of information for the public good. And we hope to build new tools and partnerships to help create a more dependable knowledge ecosystem as more and more content on the web is created by generative AI.

The Fair Use doctrine is broadly considered to be what makes web archiving possible. Without it, much of our knowledge and cultural heritage–huge amounts of which are now artifacts in digital form–would be at risk. In today’s chaotic information ecosystem, safeguarding this material in an open, accessible, and transparent way is vital for history and vital for democracy. 

Fair use in action: Manuals collection

Whether you are an individual who has rendered an appliance useless because you lost the instructions, or a professional mechanic looking to fix an old vehicle, owners’ manuals are invaluable. As the right to repair movement has amply demonstrated, copyright should not stand as an obstacle to using machines you’ve bought and paid for. This is a place where fair use can shine.

Over the years, the Internet Archive has received manuals, instruction sheets and informational pamphlets of all kinds. The Manuals collection has well over a million items—or users to access 24/7 at no cost. This resource gives people the right to repair and extend the life of their products. Whether you are a rocket scientist needing to operate your space shuttle, a mechanic who needs to repair a vintage VW Bug, or a curious kid trying to fix up your mom’s old computer, having free online access to the technical documentation you need is essential. And in many cases, there would appear to be no other way to get access to this crucial information.

Some preserved manuals are a single printed page with poorly constructed diagrams. Others are multi-volume tomes that give exacting details on operation of a complex piece of machinery. These materials are more than instructions or a list of components. They reflect the priorities and approaches that companies and individuals take with products, as well as the artistic and visual efforts to make an item clear to the reader.

This collection is a cool example of how fair use provides a framework for the Internet Archive to share critical knowledge with consumers. At the same time, it provides a historical timeline of sorts for innovation and the development of technology.

From preserving our digital history to providing access to manuals of obsolete devices, fair use helps libraries like ours serve our community. And while there are no doubt a variety of commercial projects that properly rely on fair use, fair use is at heart about the public good. As we celebrate Fair Use week, we should remember the crucial role it plays, and ensure that we preserve and protect fair use for the good of future generations. For more on events and news on Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week, visit FairUseWeek.org.