“The Apple II Age is a joy to read and an extraordinary achievement in computer history. A rigorous thinker and a bright and witty writer, Nooney offers a compelling account of the initial attempts to make computers inviting to the public. The Apple II Age, like the old microcomputer itself, is bound to intrigue both experts and newcomers to the subject.” ―JOANNE MCNEIL, author of ‘Lurking: How a Person Became a User’
Join us for an engrossing origin story for the personal computer—showing how the Apple II’s software helped a machine transcend from hobbyists’ plaything to essential home appliance.
6:00 PM — Reception 6:30 PM — Book Talk: The Apple II Age 7:30 PM — Book Signing
Please note that this event will be held in person at the Internet Archive.
If you want to understand how Apple Inc. became an industry behemoth, look no further than the 1977 Apple II. It was a versatile piece of hardware, but its most compelling story isn’t found in the feat of its engineering, the personalities of Apple’s founders, or the way it set the stage for the company’s multibillion-dollar future. Instead, historian Laine Nooney shows, what made the Apple II iconic was its software. The story of personal computing in the United States is not about the evolution of hackers—it’s about the rise of everyday users.
Recounting a constellation of software creation stories, Nooney offers a new understanding of how the hobbyists’ microcomputers of the 1970s became the personal computer we know today. From iconic software products like VisiCalc and The Print Shop to historic games like Mystery House and Snooper Troops to long-forgotten disk-cracking utilities, The Apple II Age offers an unprecedented look at the people, the industry, and the money that built the microcomputing milieu—and why so much of it converged around the pioneering Apple II.
Laine Nooney is assistant professor of media and information industries at New York University. Their research has been featured by outlets such as The Atlantic, Motherboard, and NPR. They live in New York City, where their hobbies include motorcycles, tugboats, and Texas hold ’em.
Book Talk: The Apple II Age May 11 @ 6pm IN-PERSON @ 300 Funston Ave., San Francisco Register now for the free, in-person event
To celebrate National Library Week 2023, we are introducing readers to four staff members who work behind the scenes at the Internet Archive, helping connect patrons with our collections, services and programs.
Working from his home office in Wellington, New Zealand, Charles Horn is a metadata wrangler for the Internet Archive. He feels lucky to live near the Pacific Ocean, where he can kayak through the local marine reserve in his spare time — while also working with others internationally to improve access to information.
Horn is responsible for managing, matching and sharing bibliographic data at scale. He works with software tools and formatting to make sense of often obscure bibliographic data when opportunities present themselves through donations and patron requests. Call him a digital librarian or data scientist, his goal is to improve discoverability of materials for users online.
In New Zealand, Horn earned a double degree in classical studies and information systems at the University of Canterbury. His interest in ancient Greek language and literature meant he spent a lot of time in libraries. He worked as a software developer at various companies before joining the Internet Archive five years ago.
“It’s nice to work for a nonprofit that is having an impact around the world,” said Horn, who works closely with the Open Libraries project and is currently working on standard formatting for public domain audiobook recordings, like those available through Librivox.
Preserving older materials with modern information practices is challenging, he said, as well as fun and entertaining.
“A lot of digital content is potentially quite ephemeral—and that’s where a lot of culture is happening,” he said. “Being a digital archivist or librarian, you need to think about how you’d want it preserved or cataloged for the future.”
Horn said he disagrees with people outside of libraries who think the institution is no longer relevant because everything’s online. It’s the transition to digital that makes libraries all the more relevant today. “There are researchers who need to work with increasing quantities of information,” he said. “Libraries and librarianship are incredibly relevant today, especially in the digital realm.”
Tell us something about your role at the Internet Archive that most people wouldn’t know about. I work on the metadata of about 5 million books for which we have full scans, and frequently process tens of millions more as we work with partners. I enjoy the fact that for any arbitrary book there is a good chance I have made a small addition, improvement, or added a link on a bibliographic record hosted on archive.org or openlibrary.org, making that information slightly more connected, more relevant, and more accessible.
What’s your secret talent no one knows about? I have been teaching myself Quantum computing and Information science, using online resources and physical books. For a library related task, I designed and implemented a quantum circuit to validate ISBNs using a single qubit.
What has been your greatest achievement (so far) at the Internet Archive? Working with library partners to make practical controlled digital lending a reality and enabling access to hard to locate works for an audience that would be otherwise unable to access them.
Currently reading: The Bridge, by Iain Banks, and From Counterculture to Cyberculture, by Fred Turner. Looking forward to Breakable Things, by Cassandra Khaw when it arrives from Better World Books.
Libraries are full of stories in a variety of formats from picture books to large print, audiobooks to ebooks, and more. But there’s so much more to the story. To celebrate the American Library Association’s National Library Week 2023, we are introducing readers to four staff members who work behind the scenes at the Internet Archive, helping connect patrons with our collections, services and programs.
Charles, metadata What does it take to manage, match & share bibliographic metadata at scale? Check in with our “metadata wrangler,” Charles.
Liz, donations For our donations manager, Liz, preserving books, records, films & other media helps “connect people to lost stories and help memories live on.” Learn more about Liz and her work helping to preserve media & stories for generations to come.
Caitlin, events If there’s an event at the Internet Archive, chances are Caitlin has had a hand in making it happen. Find out how Caitlin helps “soothe the organization” and keeps things running on schedule.
Brenton, user experience Fighting for users and making archive.org better for the public is all in a day’s work for Brenton & the UX team he leads. Learn how Brenton makes the idea of “small team, long term” work for the Internet Archive and our patrons.
In a stunning show of support for libraries, late yesterday afternoon the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to support a resolution backing the Internet Archive and the digital rights of all libraries.
Supervisor Connie Chan, whose district includes the Internet Archive, authored the legislation and brought the resolution before the Board. “At a time when we are seeing an increase in censorship and book bans across the country, we must move to preserve free access to information,” said Supervisor Chan. “I am proud to stand with the Internet Archive, our Richmond District neighbor, and digital libraries throughout the United States.”
WATCH Supervisor Chan introduce the resolution:
What’s in the resolution?
The resolution is a powerful statement in support of libraries, beginning:
Resolution recognizing the irreplaceable public value of libraries, including online libraries like the Internet Archive, and the essential rights of all libraries to own, preserve, and lend both digital and print books to the residents of San Francisco and the wider public; supporting the Internet Archive and its public service mission; and urging the California State Legislature and the United States Congress to support digital rights for libraries, including controlled digital lending and the option for libraries to own their digital collections.
Before the vote, supporters rallied outside on the steps of City Hall. Joining Supervisor Chan on the steps were Brewster Kahle, Internet Archive; Cindy Cohn, Electronic Frontier Foundation; Chuck Roslof, Wikimedia Foundation; and author and activist Liz Henry.
“It’s a sad day that we have to be here to talk about the importance of maintaining access to information through libraries,” said Brewster Kahle, Digital Librarian of the Internet Archive. “We must stand firm in our commitment to providing Universal Access to All Knowledge.”
“The Internet Archive and its goal of universal access to all human knowledge represents the best of Technology.” said Cindy Cohn, Executive Director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “We must stand up for the privacy of our reading, the digital lending strategies that publishers want to promote violates our privacy and our ability to investigate freely.”
“The work of the Wikimedia Foundation centers around providing access to knowledge for all people, around the world.” said Chuck Roslof, Lead Counsel at the Wikimedia Foundation. “In this mission, Wikipedia doesn’t stand alone. Libraries and archives play a critical role as part of our ecosystem of free knowledge, to ensure that all of us have access to reliable, accurate information about the world around us. The Internet Archive is the internet’s library, and it is an invaluable resource to Wikipedia editors and readers…”
Author and disability justice activist Liz Henry spoke about the importance of digital libraries from their experience as a wheelchair user. “Access to digital lending from libraries and the Internet Archive is a critical lifeline for disabled people and seniors.” said Henry, going on to explain how they used the Internet Archive to research a brick that they found under their house during construction. Using materials from the web, as well as digital books from the Internet Archive and San Francisco Public Library, Henry was able to determine that the brick, stamped C H for City Hall, was manufactured in the 1870s, and was part of the original City Hall structure, which burned down in the 1906 earthquake. Henry completed their research while they were having mobility issues and limited to the house, underscoring the importance of digital access to library materials. You can read more about this fascinating discovery on Henry’s blog.
Many thanks to Supervisor Chan for being a strong advocate for libraries, and for making San Francisco the first municipality to codify the importance of digital libraries and controlled digital lending in a resolution. Many thanks as well to all the supporters who joined us on the steps and who submitted letters in support of the resolution.
After spending years researching the history of U.S. copyright law, Jessica Litman says she wants to make it easy for others to find her work.
The law professor’s book, Digital Copyright, first published in 2001 by Prometheus Books, is available free online (read now). After it went out of print in 2015, University of Michigan Press agreed to publish an open access edition of the book. Litman updated all the footnotes (some of which were broken links to web pages only available through preservation on Internet Archive) and made the updated book available under a CC-BY-ND license in 2017.
“I wanted the book to continue to be useful,” Litman said. “Free copies on the web make it easy to read.”
Geared for a general audience, the book chronicles how copyright laws were drafted, written, lobbied and enacted in Congress over time. Litman researched the legislative history of copyright law, including development of the 1976 Copyright Act, and spent two years in Washington, D.C., observing Congress leading up to the passage of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in 1998.
“Copyright is very complicated. It can take years to agree on the text,” Litman said. “The laws that result from that process are predictable in disadvantaging the public interest because readers, listeners and viewers don’t sit at the bargaining table — or the people who create new technology because they don’t exist yet.”
Indeed, it’s in the interest of people crafting laws to erect entry barriers to anything new, Litman adds.
Initial response to her book was positive, said Litman, the John F. Nickoll Professor of Law at the University of Michigan. In 2006, she added an afterward with the release of a paperback edition of the book. As sales dwindled, the book went out of print. Still, Litman said there was demand and she wanted to make it broadly available to the public.
Taking advantage of the book contract’s termination clause, she wrote to the publisher to recapture rights to the book. Litman said she persuaded the University of Michigan Press to publish a revised online and print-on-demand edition with a new postscript under a Creative Commons CC-BY-ND license.
Many authors are not aware of this option and the nonprofit Authors Alliance, of which Litman was a founding member, helps provide resources to assist authors in the process of regaining their copyright.
Typically, publishers require authors to sign contracts giving up their copyright so the company can publish, distribute and make a return on the investment of the book. One of the challenges over time, explains Dave Hansen, Executive Director of the Alliance, is that a publisher may stop printing a book when sales drop below a certain threshold. Yet, there may be potential readers that the author still wants to reach, if he or she could reclaim the copyright.
Once the author has the rights back, there are low- or no-cost options to make it freely available. A copy can be donated to a collection at a library, such as the Internet Archive, for scanning and posting. Additionally, academic libraries are increasingly offering open access publishing services to reformat and post works online.
The Promise of Open
Today, Digital Copyright is being downloaded hundreds of times every month. Free copies of the book had been available on the web from the mid-2000, in a variety of open access archives including Michigan’s Deep Blue Repository. The book is also available for hard copy purchase from online booksellers as a print-on-demand book through University of Michigan Press’s Maize Books series.
Litman is among a growing number of academics who advocate for more open sharing of their research. On the University of Michigan Senate task force, Litman helped revise the university’s copyright policy to give the institution the right to archive all faculty scholarly work as a condition of transferring the copyright in the work to the faculty member who creates it. She also worked with the law school library to help its law journals rewrite their standard form contracts to allow open access publication.
Her advice to fellow authors: “Behave as if the law were more sensible than it is. Live in the world as you would like it to be, in hopes that the world will come around.”
Litman is an adviser for the American Law Institute’s Restatement of Copyright, a past trustee of the Copyright Society of the USA, a past chair of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Intellectual Property, and past member of the Future of Music Coalition’s advisory council.
She will discuss her open access publishing experience and her take on copyright law with Brewster Kahle at a free online book talk April 20. Register here.
More than one hundred supporters gathered on the steps of the Internet Archive last Saturday to rally support for our library in the face of a judgment that threatens the digital future of all libraries.
Digital rights advocate Lia Holland of Fight for the Future read from the letter signed by Neil Gaiman, Naomi A. Klein, Chuck Wendig, Karen Joy Fowler, Cory Doctorow and more than 1,000 additional authors who are speaking out on behalf of libraries, demanding that publishers and trade associations put the digital rights of librarians, readers, and authors ahead of shareholder profits.
Cindy Cohn, the Executive Director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), who are representing Internet Archive in our lawsuit, underscored the valuable role that libraries play in protecting reader privacy; values that are not shared by the corporations and platforms that have become intertwined around ebooks. “When libraries can’t own ebooks, how private will your reading be?” Cohn asked. “Everyone deserves the right to read without someone looking over their shoulder.”
The Internet Law & Policy Foundry’s Lili Siri Spiraspoke from her perspective as a “Gen-Z-Millennial cusper growing up on the Internet” about the importance of access to quality information in the face of book bannings and attacks on libraries. “As a former open-source investigator, I know first-hand how important open and free access to knowledge is in order to address the world’s injustices…As a former misinfo analyst, I know what information is out there to replace these burned books and it’s not good,” she said.
Brewster Kahle, the founder and digital librarian of the Internet Archive, gave an impassioned plea about why the lawsuit against the Internet Archive is harmful to libraries and the entire publishing ecosystem. “[The lawsuit] doesn’t make any sense for authors, it doesn’t make any sense for readers, it doesn’t make any sense for libraries, and it doesn’t make any sense for publishers. The library system…has always bought lots of books. But now, [the publishers] are saying you cannot buy an ebook. This makes no sense!”
The rally wrapped with cheers for continued action in support of libraries’ digital rights. As EFF’s Cindy Cohn shouted to roars from the crowd, “On to the court of appeals!”
The nonprofit Internet Archive is appealing a judgment that threatens the future of all libraries. Big publishers are suing to cut off libraries’ ownership and control of digital books, opening new paths for censorship and surveillance. If this ruling is allowed to stand, it will result in:
— Increased censorship or even deletion of books, decided only by big publishing shareholders — Big Tech growing its overreach into library patron’s data, making people unsafe by monitizing intimate personal information on what they read or research — Even more predatory licensing fees from Big Media monopolies, who are gobbling up public and school library budgets — Reduced access to books for people from every community — Losing libraries as preservers of vast swaths of history and culture, because they will never be allowed to own and preserve digital books
More information is available at BattleForLibraries.com. The organizers of that website are holding a rally at the Internet Archive on Funston St in San Francisco on Saturday, April 8, 2023 at 11 am.
All are welcome. Bring signs (we’ll also have some to share!) and join us to stand up for the rights of libraries to own and preserve books—whether they’re digital or print.
Can’t make it to the rally?
You can still participate & show your support for the digital rights of libraries in the following ways:
Today’s lower court decision in Hachette v. Internet Archive is a blow to all libraries and the communities we serve. This decision impacts libraries across the US who rely on controlled digital lending to connect their patrons with books online. It hurts authors by saying that unfair licensing models are the only way their books can be read online. And it holds back access to information in the digital age, harming all readers, everywhere.
But it’s not over—we will keep fighting for the traditional right of libraries to own, lend, and preserve books. We will be appealing the judgment and encourage everyone to come together as a community to support libraries against this attack by corporate publishers.
We will continue our work as a library. This case does not challenge many of the services we provide with digitized books including interlibrary loan, citation linking, access for the print-disabled, text and data mining, purchasing ebooks, and ongoing donation and preservation of books.
Statement from Internet Archive founder, Brewster Kahle: “Libraries are more than the customer service departments for corporate database products. For democracy to thrive at global scale, libraries must be able to sustain their historic role in society—owning, preserving, and lending books.
This ruling is a blow for libraries, readers, and authors and we plan to appeal it.”
We stood up for the digital rights of all libraries today in court! The Southern District of New York heard oral argument in Hachette v. Internet Archive, the lawsuit against our library and the longstanding library practice of controlled digital lending, brought by 4 of the world’s largest publishers.
We fought hard for libraries today, and we’re proud of how well we were able to represent the value of controlled digital lending to the communities we serve.
While we wait for the judge’s decision, here’s how you can show your support:
Join the Battle for Libraries ✊ The internet advocacy group Fight for the Future has launched the Battle for Libraries, an online rally in support of the Internet Archive and digital lending. Visit the action hub to engage with other supporters & share messages with your followers across social media to spread awareness about our fight. Get started now!
Read a book! 📕 Check out a book from Open Library and read it online using the library practice of controlled digital lending.
Brewster Kahle is the founder and digital librarian of the Internet Archive. Brewster spoke at the press conference hosted by Internet Archive ahead of oral argument in Hachette v. Internet Archive.
The Internet is failing us. The Internet Archive has tried, along with hundreds of other libraries, to do something about it.
A ruling in this case ironically can help all libraries, or it can hurt.
The Internet Archive is a library I founded 26 years ago. This library has brought hundreds of years of books to the wikipedia generation, and now 4 massive publishers are suing to stop us.
As the world now looks to their screens for answers, what they find is often not good. People are struggling to figure out what is true and it is getting harder.
Digital learners need access to a library of books, a library at least as deep as the libraries we older people had the privilege to grow up with.
The Internet Archive has worked with hundreds of libraries for decades to provide such a library of books. A library where each of those books can be read by one reader at a time. This is what libraries have always done.
We also work with libraries that are under threat. We work with many libraries that have closed their doors completely– libraries with unique collections: Claremont School of Theology, Marygrove College of Detroit, cooking school of Johnson & Wales Denver, Concordia College of Bronxville NY, Drug Policy Alliance’s library of NYC, the Evangelical Seminary of Pennsylvania. I have looked these librarians in the eye and told them that we are there for them.
They entrust their books to us, as a peer library, to carry forward their mission. Most of the books are not available from the publishers in digital form, and never will be. And as we have seen, students, researchers and the print-disabled continue to use these books for quotations and fact checking. And I think we can all agree we need to be able to do fact checking.
Here’s what’s at stake in this case: hundreds of libraries contributed millions of books to the Internet Archive for preservation in addition to those books we have purchased. Thousands of donors provided the funds to digitize them.
The publishers are now demanding that those millions of digitized books, not only be made inaccessible, but be destroyed.
This is horrendous. Let me say it again– the publishers are demanding that millions of digitized books be destroyed.
And if they succeed in destroying our books or even making many of them inaccessible, there will be a chilling effect on the hundreds of other libraries that lend digitized books as we do.
This could be the burning of the Library of Alexandria moment– millions of books from our community’s libraries – gone.
The dream of the Internet was to democratize access to knowledge, but if the big publishers have their way, excessive corporate control will be the nightmare of the Internet.
That is what is at stake. Will libraries even own and preserve collections that are digital? Will libraries serve our patrons with books as we have done for millennia?
A positive ruling that affirms every library’s right to lend the books they own, would build a better Internet and a better society.