Libraries have historically been trusted hubs to equalize access to credible information, a crucial role that they should continue to fill in the digital age. However, as more information is born-digital, digitized, or digital-first, libraries must build new policy, legal and public understandings about how advances in technology impact our preservation, community, and collection development practices.
This panel will bring together legal scholars Ariel Katz (University of Toronto) and Argyri Panezi (IE University Madrid/Stanford University) to discuss their work on library digital exhaustion and public service roles for digital libraries. They will be joined by Lisa Radha Weaver, Director of Collections and Program Development at Hamilton Public Library, who will discuss how library services have been transformed by digital delivery and innovation and Kyle Courtney of Library Futures/Harvard University, a lawyer/librarian who wrote the influential Statement on Controlled Digital Lending, signed by over 50 institutions. The panel will be moderated by Lila Bailey of Internet Archive.
Panezi, Argyri, A Public Service Role For Digital Libraries: The Unequal Battle Against (Online) Misinformation Through Copyright Law Reform And The Emergency Electronic Access To Library Material (March 26, 2021). Forthcoming, 31 CORNELL J.L. & PUB. POL’Y _ _ (2021), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3813320
In an effort to help more people understand how Controlled Digital Lending works, the Internet Archive is helping coordinate two sessions in July. Both sessions are free, virtual, and open to the public.
Empowering Libraries Through Controlled Digital Lending – July 13
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.
Implementation & Integration: CDL for All Libraries – July 14
For the second event in a summer series about the innovative library practice of Controlled Digital Lending, we’ll hear from libraries, consortia, and librarians who are exploring CDL implementations at their institutions and communities with hands on learning around potential and existing solutions. Learn about building institutional CDL policies, user experience for patrons and staff, technological platforms, and how you can get involved with the CDL community. Bring your questions, ideas, and be prepared to dig in!
Co-hosted by Library Futures, Internet Archive, Project Reshare, Open Library Foundation, and CDL Implementers
Don’t know how to celebrate the end of your quarantine? Come join us in commemorating the Re-Opening of California with a small-scale outdoor BBQ at the Internet Archive featuring music from the consciousness-expanding San Francisco Airship. FREE!
Please join us on June 14th at 11am PT for a virtual book talk with Richard Ovenden, about his book Burning the Books: A History of the Deliberate Destruction of Knowledge, which has been shortlisted for the Wolfson History Prize.
Richard Ovenden is Bodley’s Librarian at the University of Oxford, the senior executive officer of the Bodleian Libraries, a position he has held since 2014. His previous positions include Deputy Head of Rare Books at the National Library of Scotland, the Head of Special Collections and Director of Collections at the University of Edinburgh, and he held the Keepership of Special Collections at the Bodleian from 2003 to 2011, when he was made Deputy Librarian. He has been active in both the worlds of rare books and the history of photography, serving as Chairman of the Rare Books and Special Collections Group of CILIP, and Secretary of the Scottish Society for the History of Photography. He is currently a Trustee of the Kraszna Kraus Foundation, and of Chawton House Library. He is the author of John Thomson (1837–1921): Photographer (1997) and co-editor of A Radical’s Books: The Library Catalogue of Samuel Jeake of Rye (1999) and has contributed essays to the Cambridge History of Libraries, The Edinburgh History of the Book in Scotland, and the History of Oxford University Press.
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). Rumsey served as director of the Scholarly Communication Institute at the University of Virginia and has advised universities and their research libraries on strategies to integrate digital information resources into existing collections and services. For over a decade, Rumsey worked with the Library of Congress’s National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP) in the development of a national strategy to identify, collect, and preserve digital content of long-term value.
“A call to arms to protect and preserve knowledge. A fine and moving book which ranges widely across time and acts as a reminder of the importance of libraries to our culture.” — Wolfson History Prize judges
“Essential reading for anyone concerned with libraries and what Ovenden outlines as their role in ‘the support of democracy, the rule of law and open society.”―Wall Street Journal
“[Burning the Books] takes a nightmare that haunts many of us―the notion of the past erased―and confirms that it is no fiction but rather a recurring reality. In the process, Ovenden stays true to his calling, reminding us that libraries and librarians are the keepers of humankind’s memories: without them, we don’t know who we are.”―Jonathan Freedland, The Guardian
“Chronicles how libraries have served as sanctuaries for knowledge under constant threat, and what that means for the present and the future…Shows that when knowledge in print is threatened by power, it’s people pledged to the printed page, rather than armies, who step in…Made clear to me just how vulnerable libraries really are. When we don’t properly fund them, we risk lies becoming the truth, and the truth becoming a joke.”―Slate
On Wednesday, June 23rd, please join us for the special virtual event Game Not Over with John Carmack. For decades, gaming has been one of the central driving forces behind technological progress in the digital age—from increased storage and memory needs to advancements in graphic capabilities, and even how we interact with and socialize around media and each other. How has this medium morphed and changed, and more importantly, how do we preserve this reflection of our culture into the future?
The virtual event will include a virtual fireside chat with John Carmack, independent AI researcher and Consulting CTO to Oculus/Facebook. A panel discussion will follow with Garry Kitchen, Industry Consultant and President/CEO of Audacity Games; Kelsey Lewin, Co-Director of the Video Game History Foundation; Kate Willært, Geek Culture Historian and Founder of A Critical Hit!; and Internet Archive’s Free-Range Archivist Jason Scott. Join us as they take a unique look at the past and present of the gaming industry, as well as why the Internet Archive is key to understanding its history.
This event is an Internet Archive fundraiser. Admission will go towards the long-term preservation of our software collection and our mission of providing universal access to all knowledge. Tickets will sell quickly, so reserve your spot today!
John Carmack is an independent AI researcher and Consulting CTO to Oculus / Facebook. As a founder of Id Software in 1991, he built many of the pillars of today’s game industry—the first-person shooter genre, 3D accelerated rendering, network gaming, and user-generated content. In 2000, he founded Armadillo Aerospace, working part-time to design and build reusable rocket ships, both manned and unmanned. In 2012, the modern era of virtual reality began with his demonstration of Doom 3 running on Palmer Lucky’s Rift prototype at E3.
John Carmack was inducted into the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences’ Hall of Fame in 2001, awarded two Emmy® awards for his work in graphics technology in 2006 and 2007, received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the GDC in 2010, and in 2016 was awarded the prestigious BAFTA Fellowship Award.
Garry Kitchen is a renowned entrepreneur and toy/video game designer. Kitchen’s hit games include Donkey Kong (Atari 2600), Keystone Kapers, Garry Kitchen’s GameMaker (1985), and Bart (Simpson) vs. the Space Mutants. Garry’s awards include Designer of the Year, Video Game of the Year, SPA Excellence in Software, and a Webby Award. His work is addressed in many documentaries, including World 1-1, Atari: Game Over, Batteries Not Included, The Artists, and Unlocked: The World of Games, Revealed. Kitchen serves on the Advisory Board of the National Video Game Museum (nvmusa.org).
Kelsey Lewin is a video game historian and the co-owner of retro game store chain Pink Gorilla Games in Seattle, Washington. She has been with The Video Game History Foundation since 2017, and currently serves as its co-director.
Kate Willært was born on the same day as the Famicom. Today she creates articles, infographics, and videos about geek culture history, with a focus on video games and comic books. She’s written for Polygon, VGHF, and Heidi MacDonald’s The Beat, but most of her work can be found on ACriticalHit.com.
Jason Scott is the Free-Range Archivist at the Internet Archive. Since 2011 he has assisted in the acquisitions of many different items into the Archive’s stacks, as well as being the Software Curator, in charge of the incoming vintage software items being added to the Archive. Besides his archiving work, Jason has also been a documentary filmmaker, interviewing hundreds of people across 15 years for three major documentaries (BBS, GET LAMP, DEFCON) and has also run a podcast of his own, Jason Scott Talks His Way Out of It, since 2018.
Although people are increasingly turning to Google to search for information, a corporate search engine is not the same as a trusted librarian. And while libraries are used to buying and preserving books, they are now often unable to buy and own digital materials because of publisher licensing restrictions.
The tension between the interests of business and the public was the focus of a conversation hosted by the Internet Archive and Library Futures on April 28. Wendy Hanamura moderated the event with guest panelists Joanne McNeil, author of Lurking: How a Person Became a User; Darius Kazemi, an internet artist and cofounder of Feel Train, a creative technology cooperative in Portland, Oregon; and Jennie Rose Halperin, executive director of Library Futures.
Doing an online Google search can feel private because you are doing it alone at home, but corporations are accumulating your information and using it, said McNeil. The tools involved are imperfect and there are trade-offs involved.
“The experiences that a user has on the internet can be quite profound, creative, and very human,” McNeil said. “But to participate with a lot of the social media and websites, especially nowadays, you are dealing with corporations and you don’t have the elements of control.”
In Lurking, McNeil traces the evolution of the internet and how it has profoundly changed the way people communicate. She also examines concerns that people have online including privacy, safety, identity and anonymity. In the book, McNeil contrasts the short-term memories of companies with the preservation mission and public accountability of libraries.
Kazemi noted that working with librarians on research there is an understanding of privacy—something that is lacking when engaging online. “It’s a totally different accountability chain,” he said.
Rather than giving your personal information away on a social media network, Kazemi advocates having individuals or even libraries maintain small, independently-run online communities (see https://runyourown.social).
“Facebook can’t understand norms of what passes for civic discourse in every location on the planet. It’s impossible,” Kazemi said. “Libraries already spend time thinking about the norms of their communities,” making it natural to have content moderation at the local level.
Halperin said it’s important for public libraries to have autonomy to be able to fulfill their mission. Her work with the nonprofit Library Futures centers on advocacy for an equitable publishing ecosystem that serves authors, users and communities.
“Artificial scarcity that’s put on digital objects—as a way to create a market for digital books—is really hurting the public,” she said. “I think it’s one of the most important consumer protection issues right now.”
McNeil said the best thing to happen to her, as an author, is for people to read her book. Whether buying or borrowing from a library (in print or electronically), she wants to reach the largest audience.
The panelists said by working together, libraries can provide tools that reflect the public’s values and teach users smart digital citizenship. When corporations control what people have access to in searching, they are embedding bias into the distribution of information, said Halperin. “Libraries must engage in more than just individual information seeking needs, but also in the information seeking needs of communities.”
“Libraries provide vital public services by making high quality resources available to everybody. And that’s true no matter what you’ve got in your bank account or your zip code,” said Wyden, noting he is the son of a librarian. “If the system is filled with draconian copyright laws and digital restrictions that make it hard for real news to be read, shared, and discussed, that particular vacuum is filled with more misinformation and lies.”
Big special interests have always pushed for tighter restrictions on content, Wyden said, and now powerful corporations are trying to get a tighter grip on the internet. He cautioned that the proposed Digital Copyright Act is not the answer, saying he would fight for more balanced intellectual property laws and support libraries to provide easy, free access to reliable information from trustworthy sources.
“We want a game with many winners. We want to have many authors, publishers, booksellers, libraries—and everyone a reader,” said Internet Archive Founder Brewster Kahle at the event. “The only way to do that is to have a level playing field that doesn’t have monopoly control.”
The pandemic has underscored the need for digital content to be readily available to the public. Libraries should be able to lend and preserve just as they have with print materials for years, however, many large publishers refuse to sell e-books to libraries and instead have restrictive licensing agreements.
“We’re seeing a change in the environment, which means you still need a card to get access to books, but it’s no longer a library card, it’s increasingly a credit card,” said Heather Joseph, executive director of SPARC, a global advocacy organization working to make education and research open and equitable by design for everyone. “We really need interventions that work to combat that shift, to flip that dynamic.”
To expand access to knowledge, Internet Archive has been digitizing the materials and respectfully lending them one copy at a time through Controlled Digital Lending (CDL) since 2011. The widespread practice is embraced by more than 80 libraries as part of Internet Archive’s Open Libraries program, and is growing across the country in various implementations elsewhere as demand increases.
“If you actually take a look at how [CDL] operates, the lending function is really no more and no less than what libraries are able to do in print. It’s just changed formats,” said Michelle Wu, an attorney and law librarian who pioneered the concept of CDL. The practice can serve people who aren’t able to physically get to a library because they live in a rural area, have a disability that limits transportation, work odd hours, are ill or quarantined during a pandemic. Libraries want to reward authors for creating their works, but also ensure the public has access to those works, Wu said.
It would be a better use of public funds for libraries to be able to purchase ebooks, rather than paying repeatedly for licensing fees, said Wu. Also, a library that digitizes its collection ensures access in an emergency, such as a pandemic, and preservation in the case of a natural disaster, saving the government money in having to replace damaged materials.
To counter disinformation, the public needs reliable information—and libraries are at the center of this battle, said SPARC’s Joseph.
“We can’t amplify content that we can’t access. And that’s really at the root of what libraries do for society,” Joseph said. “We’ve always been the equalizer in providing access to this high-quality information.” Rather than libraries being a trusted and critical distribution channel, they are being treated by publishers as adversaries, which Joseph said is a dangerous trend.
The discussion touched on a variety of remedies including legislative protections to enshrine practices like CDL, antitrust regulations, and building market competition. The work of Library Futures was highlighted as an avenue for concerned citizens to raise their voices and panelists underscored the need for action that reflects the best interest of the public.
“This is not just an inconvenience, it’s not just an additional expense to us as consumers. It’s creating an enormous divide in who can access critical knowledge,” Joseph said of publishers’ actions to restrict access to digital content. “The right to access knowledge is a human right. And a world in which one player—or worse a company—decides who’s in and who’s out is unacceptable.”
The Internet Archive has been partnering with libraries to digitize their collections for more than 15 years. Following a recent viral video featuring our book digitization efforts, and increased demands for e-resources, we’ve had renewed interest in our book scanning partnerships, with libraries wondering how we might be able to help them reach their patrons through digitization. Join scanning center managers Andrea Mills and Elizabeth MacLeod for a virtual event to learn about the ways in which the Internet Archive can help turn your print collections digital, and the impacts that these digital collections are having on remote learners.
Registration for the virtual event is free and open to the public. The live session is being offered twice to accommodate schedules and flexibility; if you are interested in joining, you only need to register for one session: March 24 @ 10am ET / 2pm GMT March 25 @ 1pm ET / 5pm GMT
Controlled Digital Lending (CDL) is growing in popularity, as is the community of practice around the library lending model. Next week, join Chris Freeland, director of Open Libraries at the Internet Archive, for a one-hour session covering new developments in CDL. Attendees will learn how libraries are using CDL, the emerging community around CDL, and the impacts of the library practice.
Register now Registration for the virtual event is free and open to the public. The live session is being offered twice for your scheduling flexibility; if you’d like to join, you only need to register for one session:
Academics, legal experts, and authors explained the thoughtful reasoning and compelling need for libraries to engage in Controlled Digital Lending (CDL) at a webinar hosted by the Internet Archive and Library Futures on February 11. A recording of the session is now available.
The panel dispelled myths about CDL, the digital lending model in which a library lends a digital version of a print book it owns. Emphasizing the limited and controlled aspect of the practice, the speakers said CDL allows libraries to fulfill their mission of serving the public in the digital age. The global pandemic only underscores the importance of providing flexibility in how people can access information.
Isn’t CDL digital piracy? No, CDL is not like Napster, said Kyle K. Courtney, copyright advisor at Harvard University, referring to the music file-sharing service. Twenty years ago, the actions of Napster were ruled illegal because it made unlimited reproductions of MP3 music to anyone, anywhere.
“CDL uses technology to replicate a library’s right to loan works in a digital format—one user at a time,” Courntey said. Libraries are using rights they already have, leveraging the same technology as publishers to make sure that the books are controlled when they’re loaned—not duplicated, copied or redistributed.
“Libraries are not pirates. There is a vast difference between the Napster mission and the library mission,” Courtney said. “We can loan books to patrons. Only now we’re harnessing that right in the digital space.”
In laying out the rationale behind CDL, Courtney described the “superpower” granted to libraries by Congress through copyright law to serve the public. The “fair use” section of the law allows libraries to responsibly lend materials, and experts say logically includes both print and digital works.
The idea of “fair use” has been around as long as there has been copyright, and it applies to new technologies, said Michelle Wu, attorney and law librarian at the webinar. The Internet Archive did not invent CDL. Wu is the visionary behind CDL, developing the concept in 2002 as a way to protect a library’s print collection from natural disaster—an imperative she faced in rebuilding a library destroyed by flooding.
Just as libraries lend out entire books, fair use allows the scanning of whole books, said panelist Sandra Aya Enimil, copyright librarian and contract specialist at Yale University. The law makes no mention of the amount of material that can be made available under “fair use,” so for libraries to fulfill their purpose they can make complete books—whether in print or digital—available to patrons, she said.
It’s a myth that librarians need author and publisher permission for CDL, explained Jill Hurst-Wahl, copyright scholar and professor emerita in Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies. “Authors and publisher control ends at the time a book is published, then fair use begins,” she said. “Once a work is legally acquired by you, by a library, the copyright owners’ rights are exhausted.”
Library lending is viewed as fair use, in part, because it is focused on socially beneficial, non-commercial outcomes, like literacy, said Hurst-Wahl. Also, libraries loan physical books without concern about the market effect—so the same rules apply if a digital version of the book is substituted.
CDL does not harm authors or publisher sales, the panelists emphasized. Indeed, it can provide welcome exposure.
“The reality is that CDL can help authors by enhancing discoverability, availability and accessibility of their works,” said Brianna Schofield, executive director of Authors Alliance, speaking at the event. “It helps authors to spread their ideas, and it helps authors to build their audiences.”
Many of the books that are circulated by CDL are rare, out-of-print books that would otherwise be unavailable. This source material can be useful for writers as they develop their creative works.
“Digital and physical libraries contribute to a healthy publishing ecosystem and increase sales and engagement for creative works,” said Jennie Rose Halpin, executive director of Library Futures, a newly formed nonprofit coalition advocating for libraries to operate in the digital space. Research shows that leveraged digitization increases sales of physical additions by about 34% and increases the likelihood of any sale by 92%, particularly for less popular and out-of-print works.
Because digitized versions can be made more readily available, CDL can extend access to library collections to people with print disabilities or mobility issues, the panelists noted. CDL also allows libraries to preserve material in safe, digital formats with the best interest of the public—not profits—at the center of its work.
“People love books and will buy if they’re able. But we have to remember that paper books and even some ebooks do not serve the needs of all readers,” said Andrea Mills, digitization program manager at the Internet Archive and lead on the Archive’s accessibility efforts. “Accessibility is a human right that must be vigilantly protected.”
For anyone interested in learning more about how to get involved with CDL, the Internet Archive now has 2 million books available to borrow for free, and an active program for libraries that want to make their collections available through CDL.
“The CDL community of practice is thriving,” said Chris Freeland, director of Open Libraries at the Internet Archive. “We are in a pandemic. Libraries are closed. Schools are closed. CDL just makes sense and solves problems of access.”