Category Archives: Event

Doors Open to Richmond Facility for Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Donation, Digitization and Preservation Process

The Physical Archive in Richmond, California, was buzzing with activity the evening of October 11 as people gathered for a peek at how donations of books, film, and media of all kinds are preserved.

Some guests were long-time fans and others had recently donated or were considering giving their treasured items. Many shared a curiosity about how the Internet Archive operates the digital side of the research library.

“I’m a big believer in libraries—and this is one of the weirdest, coolest libraries,” said Jeremy Guillory of Oakland, California, as he toured the buildings and listened to stories behind the many donations on display.

Brewster Kahle, founder and digital librarian of the Internet Archive, gives a tour of the Physical Archive.

Curated collections from individuals included books from Stevanne “Dr. Toy” Auerbach, a pioneering mass media toy reviewer and early childhood studies author. There was also a set of rare dinosaur books and years of the Laugh Makers, a journal about magic and clowning.

Some large institutions, such as the Claremont School of Theology, donated papyrus fragments from ancient Egypt. Among the eight shipping containers of items from the Graduate Theological Union was a children’s hymnal written in Chinese from 1950.

“We get to explore and make available things that may not be able to be seen otherwise,” said Caslon Kahle, a donation coordinator, speaking to visitors at the event. “It’s important to have this historical record preserved for the public.”

Caslon Kahle gives a tour of the Physical Archive.

As they toured the facility, guests learned about the meticulous steps taken to sort materials (avoiding duplication), scan books (by people, turning one page at a time) and preserve fragile film (in a high-tech lab). Many expressed an appreciation for the vast and eclectic collections.

“I think it’s super awesome—all the knowledge in one place,” said Rachel Katz of Berkeley, California, who uses the Wayback Machine in their work at a nonprofit organization, researching the historic record of health equity, racial justice and environmental issues. “I don’t think I had thought about the political aspect—that when people want power they destroy knowledge, and library preservation is a hedge against that.”

Daniel Toman came to the event after he’d contributed items when his grandfather, a big amateur radio enthusiast, passed away a few years ago. “He had a bunch of equipment, catalogs and books around the house that nobody knew what to do with,” said Toman, who lives in San Francisco. “I told my family about [the Internet Archive] and they were all interested in donating some of his materials.”

Digitization manager Elizabeth MacLeod shows off an image captured from the Internet Archive’s Scribe digitization equipment.

Larry and Ann Byler drove from Sunnyvale, California, to get a first-hand look at the physical archive as they decide what to do with their books, records (78s, LPs, 45s), cassette tapes and home movies that they’ve accumulated over the years.

Ann, 81, said some of their film collection includes black-and-white images of trains that go back to the 1940s. She likes the idea that the Internet Archive could digitize the films at a high resolution.

“I want to get them out of the house—somewhere besides the trash bin,” said Larry, a retired computer programmer, of his wall of media items. “I have this ingrained abhorrence for throwing stuff away.”

At the event, noted film archivist Rick Prelinger provided guests with an inside look at preserving vintage film. “The process is not simple, but it’s achievable when you have resources, and we’re fortunate with the generosity of the Internet Archive that we have resources,” he said.

Kate Dollenmayer demos film digitization and preservation.

Linda Brettlen, an architect from Los Angeles, said she became familiar with the Archive through her daughter, who uses the collection when looking for primary sources in her documentary filmmaking. Brettlen has become a fan herself, particularly, the collection of old postcards of L.A. buildings that no longer exist.

“I love that it’s the best use of the Internet,” she said of the Internet Archive at the event. “This is a positive beacon.”

What Happened at the Virtual Library Leaders Forum?

The Internet Archive team, its partners, and enthusiasts recently shared updates on how the organization is empowering research, ensuring preservation of vital materials, and extending access to knowledge to a growing number of grateful users.

The 2023 Library Leaders Forum, held virtually Oct. 4, featured snapshots of the many activities the organization is supporting on a global scale. Together, the efforts are making a difference in the lives of students, scholars, educators, entrepreneurs, journalists, public servants — anyone who needs trusted information without barriers.

“It’s important for us to recognize that the Internet Archive is a library. It’s a research library in the role that it plays, in the way that it works,” said Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive.

Watch the 2023 Library Leaders Forum:

With the rise of misinformation and new artificial intelligence technologies, reliable, digital information is needed more than ever, he said.  

“This is going to be a challenging time in the United States when all of our institutions — the press, the election system, and libraries — are going to be tested,” Kahle said. “It’s time for us to make sure we stand up tall and be as useful to people in the United States and to people around the world who are having some of the same issues.”

To provide citizens everywhere with free access to government data, documents, records, the Archive launched Democracy’s Library last year. The collection now has 889,000 government publications, with many more items donated but yet to be organized, said the Archive’s Jamie Joyce at the forum. The goal is to digitize municipal, provincial, state and federal documents, along with datasets, research, records publications, and microfiche so they are searchable and accessible.

The Archive is taking a leadership role in harnessing the power of AI to make its information easier for users to find, Kahle added. It is also preserving state television newscasts from Russia and Iran, along with translations, to allow researchers to track trends in coverage.

Collections as data

Thomas Padilla, deputy director of data archiving and data services at the Internet Archive, reported on a project that examines how libraries can support responsible use of collections as data. Working in partnership with Iowa State University, University of Pennsylvania, and James Madison University, it is a community development effort for libraries, archives, museums and galleries to help researchers use new technology (text and data mining, machine learning) while also mitigating potential harm that can be generated by the process.

Through the effort, the Archive gave grants to 12 research libraries and cultural heritage organizations to explore questions around collections as data, Padilla said. As it became apparent that others around the world were grappling with similar issues, the project convened representatives from 60 organizations representing 18 countries earlier this year in Canada. The group agreed on core principles (The Vancouver Statement on Collections-As-Data) to use when providing machine actionable collection data to researchers. Next, the project expects to issue a roadmap for the broader international community in this space, Padilla said.

Helping libraries help publishers

The recent forum also featured digitization managers from the Internet Archive who are collaborating with partner libraries, including Tim Bigelow, Sophie Flynn-Piercy, Elizabeth MacLead, Andrea Mills and Jeff Sharpe. These librarians are at institutions big and small from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to the Wellcome Trust in London, working with teams of professionally trained technicians to digitize collections.

One of those partnerships is taking an exciting new direction. The Boston Public Library’s partnership with the Archive began in 2007. Over the years, the team has completed digitization of the John Adams presidential library, Shakespeare’s First Folio (his 36 plays published in 1632), more than 17,000 government documents and the Houghton Mifflin trade book archival collection, according to Bigelow, the Northeast Regional digitization manager for the Archive.

The Houghton Mifflin collection includes 20,000 titles dating back to 1832, including some of the best known works in American fiction and children’s literature, such as books by Ralph Waldo Emerson and the Curious George series. The publisher gave BPL the entire physical collection for preservation (90% of which were out of print) and continues to add new titles as they are published. With the formal agreement of Houghton Mifflin, BPL and the Archive have been working together since 2017 to digitize every book—those in the public domain are completely readable and downloadable; those still in copyright are available through controlled digital lending (CDL).

Lawsuit updates

As in Boston, many libraries have embraced CDL. However, commercial publishers have challenged the practice.

Lila Bailey, senior policy counsel for the Archive, provided an update at the forum on the Hachette v. Internet Archive lawsuit, in which the court ruled in favor of the publishers in limiting the use of CDL. The Archive filed an appeal in September.  Bailey encouraged supporters to consider filing amicus briefs when the Archive’s case is expected to be reviewed by the appellate court.

For the Internet Archive—and libraries everywhere—to continue their work, the Archive is advocating for a legal infrastructure that ensures libraries can collect digital materials, preserve those materials in different formats, lend digital materials, and cooperate with other libraries.

“In our evolving digital society, will new technologies serve the public good, or only corporate interests?” Bailey asked in her remarks at the forum. “Libraries are on the front line of the fight to decide this question in favor of the public good. In order to maintain our age-old role as guardians of knowledge, we need our rights to own, lend and preserve books, as we all live more and more of our lives online.”

Join Us for Our Annual Celebration – Thursday, October 12!

We are just one week away from our annual celebration on Thursday, October 12! Party in the streets with us in person or celebrate with us online—however you choose to join in the festivities, be sure to grab your ticket now!

What’s in Store?

📚 Empowering Research: We’ll explore how research libraries like the Internet Archive are considering artificial intelligence in a live presentation, “AI @ IA: Research in the Age of Artificial Intelligence.” Come see how the Internet Archive is using AI to build new capabilities into our library, and how students and scholars all over the world use the Archive’s petabytes of data to inform their own research.

🏆 Internet Archive Hero Award: This year, we’re honored to recognize the incredible Connie Chan, our local District 1 supervisor, with the prestigious Internet Archive Hero Award. Supervisor Chan’s unwavering support for the digital rights of libraries culminated in a unanimously passed resolution at the Board of Supervisors, and we can’t wait to present her with this well-deserved honor live from our majestic Great Room. Join us in applauding her remarkable contributions!

🌮 Food Truck Delights: Arrive early and tantalize your taste buds with an assortment of treats from our gourmet food trucks.

💃 Street Party: After the ceremony, let loose and dance the night away to the tunes of local musicians, Hot Buttered Rum. Get ready to groove and celebrate under the starry San Francisco sky!

🎟️ Register now for in-person or online attendance!

Internet Archive’s Annual Celebration
Thursday, October 12 from 5pm – 10pm PT; program at 7pm PT
300 Funston Avenue, San Francisco
Register now for in-person or online attendance

Internet Archive to Honor Supervisor Connie Chan with 2023 Hero Award

Announced today, Connie Chan, Supervisor of San Francisco’s District 1, will receive the 2023 Internet Archive Hero Award. Supervisor Chan will be presented the award on stage at next week’s evening celebration at the Internet Archive.

The Internet Archive Hero Award is an annual award that recognizes those who have exhibited leadership in making information available for digital learners all over the world. Previous recipients have included public domain advocate Carl Malamud, librarians Kanta Kapoor and Lisa Radha Vohra, copyright expert Michelle Wu, the Biodiversity Heritage Library, and the Grateful Dead.

In April, Supervisor Chan, whose district includes the Internet Archive, authored and unanimously passed a resolution at the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, backing the Internet Archive and the digital rights of all libraries. “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, about the resolution. “I am proud to stand with the Internet Archive, our Richmond District neighbor, and digital libraries throughout the United States.”

Supervisor Connie Chan with Internet Archive’s Brewster Kahle and digital library supporters rally for the digital rights of libraries on the steps of San Francisco City Hall, April 19, 2023.

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. For this fearless act of standing with libraries, the Internet Archive is proud to honor Supervisor Connie Chan with the 2023 Internet Archive Hero Award.

Join us next week on Thursday, October 12 at 7pm PT, as Supervisor Chan accepts the award live on stage during our evening celebration. Tickets are available for in-person attendance or the livestream.

Book Talk: Sparks by Ian Johnson

Join author Ian Johnson and sociologist Li Jun for an IN-PERSON discussion about “Sparks: China’s Underground Historians and their Battle for the Future”

Click Here to Watch the Recording

Sparks tells the resonant story of writers, filmmakers, and artists who use history to challenge Communist Party rule.

6:00 PM — Doors Open
6:30 PM — Book Talk: Sparks by Ian Johnson
7:30 PM — Book Signing

Please note that this event will be held in person at the Internet Archive, 300 Funston Avenue, San Francisco.

Click Here to Watch the Recording

About Sparks
Sparks: China’s Underground Historians and their Battle for the Future (to be published by Oxford University Press on September 26, 2023) describes how some of China’s best-known writers, filmmakers, and artists have overcome crackdowns and censorship to forge a nationwide movement that challenges the Communist Party on its most hallowed ground: its control of history.

The past is a battleground in many countries, but in China it is crucial to political power. In traditional China, dynasties rewrote history to justify their rule by proving that their predecessors were unworthy of holding power. Marxism gave this a modern gloss, describing history as an unstoppable force heading toward Communism’s triumph. The Chinese Communist Party builds on these ideas to whitewash its misdeeds and glorify its rule. Indeed, one of Xi Jinping’s signature policies is the control of history, which he equates with the party’s survival.

But in recent years, a network of independent writers, artists, and filmmakers have begun challenging this state-led disremembering. Using digital technologies to bypass China’s legendary surveillance state, their samizdat journals, guerilla media posts, and underground films document a regular pattern of disasters: from famines and purges of years past to ethnic clashes and virus outbreaks of the present–powerful and inspiring accounts that have underpinned recent protests in China against Xi Jinping’s strongman rule.

Based on years of first-hand research in Xi Jinping’s China, Sparks challenges stereotypes of a China where the state has quashed all free thought, revealing instead a country engaged in one of humanity’s great struggles of memory against forgetting—a battle that will shape the China that emerges in the mid-21st century.

Ian Johnson is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He has lived more than twenty years in China as a student, journalist, and teacher. His work appears regularly in The New York Review of Books, The New York Times, and other publications, and for five years he was on the editorial board of The Journal of Asian Studies. He has won numerous prizes for his coverage of China, including a Pulitzer Prize.

Li Jun (who writes under the penname Li Sipan) is a Ph.D. in political sociology, and a visiting scholar at Stanford University. Before entering academia, she was an investigative reporter for the liberal newspaper group Southern Daily Press and a recognized feminist activist. In 2004, she founded the feminist communications NGO Women’s Awakening Network (新媒体女性), which has played a leading role in China’s anti-sexual harassment campaigns and in the process of legislating against domestic violence. Li’s research focuses on the intergenerational differences in the feminist movement as well as the relationship between the media and the feminist movement in China.

Book Talk: Sparks by Ian Johnson
October 19 @ 6pm PT
IN-PERSON @ 300 Funston Avenue, San Francisco
Register now!

Book Talk: Memory, Edited

Join archivist Rick Prelinger and author Abby Smith Rumsey for an IN-PERSON discussion about “Memory, Edited: Taking Liberties with History.”

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An exploration of historical memory and networks of meaning in the context of today’s crises of extremism and polarization.

6:00 PM — Doors Open
6:30 PM — Book Talk: Memory, Edited
7:30 PM — Book Signing

Please note that this event will be held in person at the Internet Archive, 300 Funston Avenue, San Francisco.

REGISTER NOW

About Memory, Edited
As authoritarianism continues to rise around the world, the stories we tell ourselves about what has happened and what is happening become ever more relevant. In Memory, Edited, Abby Smith Rumsey examines collective memory, how it binds us, and how it can be used by bad actors to manipulate us. Bringing forward the voices of a rich cast of Eastern European artists from the past two hundred years—from Fyodor Dostoevsky to Gerhard Richter—Rumsey shows how their work and lives illustrate the devastation wrought by regimes dependent on entrenched lies to survive. This hijacking of the narrative polarizes communities even as it commandeers our future.

Through an interdisciplinary lens that includes the best thinking from history, the arts, cognitive science, psychology, and political philosophy, Rumsey lays bare our narratives, showing how they are constructed and how they have changed over time. Ever-aware of resisting the false promise of utopia, Rumsey argues that only by confronting the past and reckoning with the crimes that were committed can we ever hope to heal and gain self-knowledge. Memory, Edited is an indispensable text for anyone who cares about democracy, equality, and freedom in our current age of crisis.

Abby Smith Rumsey is an intellectual and cultural historian. She chairs the board of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University and is the author of When We Are No More: How Digital Memory Is Shaping Our Future.

Rick Prelinger is an archivist, filmmaker, writer and educator.

Book Talk: Memory, Edited
September 20 @ 6pm PT
IN-PERSON @ 300 Funston Avenue, SF
Register now!

Library Leaders Forum 2023: Registration is now open

Join experts from the library, copyright and information policy fields for a series of conversations exploring some of the most pressing issues facing libraries today: digital ownership and the future of library collections, the emergence of artificial intelligence, and the enduring value of research libraries in the digital age.

This year’s Library Leaders Forum will be organized on two separate dates to provide attendees with a flexible environment in which to reconnect with colleagues. Learn more about the event on the Library Leaders Forum web site, or register below.

October 4: Virtual

October 4 @ 10am PT – 11am PT
Online via zoom – Register now

In our virtual session, you’ll hear from Internet Archive staff about our emerging library services and updates on existing efforts, including from our partners. How do libraries empower research in the 21st century? Join in our discussion!

October 12: In-Person

October 12 @ 8:30am – 4pm PT
Internet Archive Headquarters @ 300 Funston, San Francisco

At our in-person session, we’ll gather together with the builders & dreamers to envision an equitable future for digital lending. We’ll reserve the afternoon for workshops and unconference breakouts so that you can choose your own conversation, or lead one yourself. Capacity will be capped at 60 attendees. Interested in attending?

Celebrate with the Internet Archive on October 11th & 12th

Join us on October 11th & 12th to help celebrate AI @ IA : Research in the Age of Artificial Intelligence!

October 11: Tour of the physical archive

Please join us October 11th @ 6-8pm as we take a peek behind the doors of the physical archive in Richmond, California.

We are excited to offer a behind-the-scenes tour of our physical collections of books, music, film, and video in Richmond, California.

With this special insider event we are opening the doors to an often unseen place. See the lifecycle of physical books – donation, preservation, digitization, and access. Also, samples from generous donations and acquisitions of books, records, microfiche, and more are presented.

Register now for the physical archive tour


October 12: Join our annual celebration – in-person & virtual

Artificial Intelligence rocking your boat? Join us October 12th to see how the Internet Archive is using AI to build new capabilities into our library, and how students and scholars all over the world use the Archive’s petabytes of data to inform their own research.

This year’s event is hybrid. We will be celebrating in-person at our main library in San Francisco, and will be livestreaming the event itself from 7pm-8pm PT for those who want to celebrate with us from afar!

Register now for in-person or virtual attendance

Event details

5pm: Entertainment and food trucks
7pm: Program in our Great Room
8pm: Dancing in the streets

Location: 300 Funston Ave. at Clement St., San Francisco

Registration is required: Register now for in-person or virtual attendance.

Book Talk: Moving Theory Into Practice

Join Internet Archive’s Chris Freeland for a discussion with Oya Y. Rieger about ‘Moving Theory Into Practice,’ the landmark digitization guide & workshop that sparked a revolution in digital libraries.
Thursday, August 24 @ 10am PT / 1pm ET

REGISTER NOW

As the digital library field emerged in the mid- to late-1990s, librarians faced numerous challenges in building the skills necessary to provide digital access to their collections. That changed in the summer of 2000, when Anne R. Kenney and Oya Y. Rieger (Cornell University Library) produced “Moving Theory Into Practice,” a groundbreaking week-long workshop & digitization guide that offered hands-on, immersive training in digitization and preservation.

The purpose of “Moving Theory Into Practice” was to skill-build librarians, archivists, curators, administrators, technologists, and other professionals who were either contemplating or already implementing digital imaging programs. Its objective was to equip participants with practical strategies that surpassed theoretical concepts, grounded in the latest standards, best practices and informed decision-making.

In our upcoming webinar, we are delighted to talk with Oya Y. Rieger, co-author of “Moving Theory Into Practice.” During the discussion, we will delve into the impacts of hosting these training sessions, shedding light on their significance within the digital library community and the broader library community at the time. We will also explore related training such as Rare Book School, and reflect on large-scale digitization projects like Making of America and state-based efforts to understand the context in which this workshop occurred. Additionally, we will touch upon the evolution of digitization training since the original workshop, providing insights into how the field has matured.

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About our speakers

Oya Y. Rieger is a senior strategist on Ithaka S+R’s Libraries, Scholarly Communication, and Museums team. She spearheads projects that reexamine the nature of collections within the research library, help secure access to and preservation of the scholarly record, and explore the possibilities of open source software and open science.

Prior to joining Ithaka S+R, Oya worked at Cornell University for 25 years. For the past ten years she served as Associate University Librarian, leading strategic initiatives, building partnerships, and facilitating sustainable and user-centered projects. During her tenure at Cornell, her program areas included digital scholarship, collection development, digitization, preservation, user experience, scholarly publishing, learning technologies, research data management, digital humanities, and special collections. She spearheaded projects funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Studies (IMLS), the Henry Luce Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), Simons Foundation, and Sloan Foundation to develop ejournal preservation strategies, conduct research on new media archiving, implement preservation programs in Asia, design digital curation curriculums, and create sustainability models for alternative publishing models to advance science communication.

Chris Freeland is the Director of Library Services at the Internet Archive, working in support of our mission to provide “Universal access to all knowledge.” Before joining the Internet Archive, Chris was an Associate University Librarian at Washington University in St. Louis, managing Washington University Libraries’ digital initiatives and related services. He holds an M.S. in Biological Sciences from Eastern Illinois University and an M.S. in Library and Information Science from University of Missouri-Columbia. His research explores the intersections of science and technology in a cultural heritage context, having published and presented on a variety of topics relating to the use of new media and emerging technologies in libraries and museums.

Book Talk: Moving Theory Into Practice
Thursday, August 24 @ 10am PT / 1pm ET
Register now for the virtual discussion!

Virtual Book Talk: The Apple II Age

BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND!

Last month, we hosted Laine Nooney and Finn Brunton for an in-person discussion at the Internet Archive. We had considerable interest from people who couldn’t make it to the discussion, so we’re pleased to host the conversation again, this time virtually, so that anyone can join in!

REGISTER NOW!

Join us for an engrossing origin story of the personal computer—showing how the Apple II’s software helped a machine transcend from hobbyists’ plaything to essential home appliance. Author LAINE NOONEY will read a selection from their new book, then discuss the importance of the Apple II with historian FINN BRUNTON.

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.

About our speakers:

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.

Finn Brunton (finnb.net) is a professor at UC Davis with appointments in Science and Technology Studies and Cinema and Digital Media. He is the author of Spam: A Shadow History of the InternetDigital Cash: The Unknown History of the Anarchists, Technologists, and Utopians Who Created Cryptocurrency, and the co-author of Obfuscation: A User’s Guide for Privacy and Protest.

Book Talk: The Apple II Age
July 13th @ 10am PT / 1pm ET
Register now for the virtual discussion!