Category Archives: Event

Library Leaders Forum: Strengthening the Community of Practice Around Controlled Digital Lending

This year’s virtual Library Leaders Forum focuses on empowering libraries and the communities they serve through digital lending. The first session sparked important discussions around the role of libraries in providing free and equal access to knowledge in a democratic society. 

Moderator and Internet Archive policy counsel Lila Bailey summed up the urgency and relevance of the issue: “Our country is struggling to find a common set of facts. The truth often lives behind paywalls while misinformation and disinformation go viral. Equal access to information is foundational to our democratic society and it’s part of why libraries exist.” Panelists discussed how digital lending can act as a key tool in providing equal access to information, the threats it is currently facing from certain publishing practices, and potential solutions such as copyright law reform and increased arts funding. You can read a recap of the discussion or watch the full recording

In addition to the panel discussion, the session involved two exciting announcements. First, the power of digitization for democratizing access to important texts was demonstrated with the digital release to the public of a rare oration by Frederik Douglass, an influential text in the history of anti-slavery movements. Second, we were pleased to announce that Michelle Wu will receive the Internet Archive Hero Award on October 20 for her pioneering work on controlled digital lending. The practice has been key in the response of libraries to Covid-19 lockdowns, enabling them to continue providing digital access to learning throughout the pandemic for those who need it most. 

Our next session on October 13 will build on these announcements and the first session’s discussion points by exploring the community of practice that has emerged around controlled digital lending. We’ll hear from librarians, educators, and technologists who are developing next-generation library tools that incorporate and build upon the practice. We’ll also learn more about how Internet Archive’s controlled digital lending environment works in practice, with demonstrations from our engineering team. 

The session will provide useful knowledge-sharing for library practitioners who wish to expand their digital practices, and look to the future of controlled digital lending as a crucial and evolving tool in a democratic society. The focus will be on maintaining and expanding our community of practice, a key resource in developing digital tools that allow us to better serve the public. A strong community is more important now than ever as digital lending practices are increasingly under threat and the age-old role of libraries in society is challenged in a new law suit. There’s still time to register for the session for free; you can also follow us on Twitter for live updates. 

We’re looking forward to hearing more from the community of practitioners who are dedicated to developing a digital library landscape that supports and furthers democracy, equality and representation. Given the urgency of the issues discussed and the current threat to controlled digital lending, it’s important that the discussion leads to action. To this end, the Forum marks the beginning of the #EmpoweringLibraries campaign, an opportunity for us all to come together to keep knowledge accessible for everyone. We hope to see many of you at Tuesday’s session to further discuss the importance of controlled digital lending for a functioning democracy where knowledge does not live behind paywalls.

Library Leaders Forum Kicks off with Policy Discussion: Ways to Better Serve the Public

COVID-19 has made it clear that digital access to books and other library materials is more important than ever. Yet, the information ecosystem is not working as well as it should.

These issues and more were explored during the Policy session of the Library Leaders Forum, a three-week series focused on empowering libraries and the communities they serve through digital lending.  In addition to the panel discussion, special announcements were made about the donation and digitization of a rare Frederick Douglass pamphlet, and that Michelle Wu will receive the Internet Archive Hero Award at the final session of the Library Leaders Forum on October 20.

A captioned video of the entire session is now online and available for all to view.

Panel discussion

For the Policy session panel, librarians, authors, publishers, and advocates came together to discuss the role libraries should play in improving the digital landscape for the communities they serve. Potential policy solutions, such as copyright and labor law reforms, as well as collective action and boycotts to pressure publishers were discussed.

“Our country is struggling to find a common set of facts. The truth often lives behind paywalls while misinformation and disinformation go viral,” said Lila Bailey, policy counsel with the Internet Archive, moderating the discussion. “Equal access to information is foundational to our democratic society and it’s part of why libraries exist.”

Digital materials hold the promise for expanded access, but the outcome is not guaranteed. As publishers refuse to sell e-books, but rather license them, libraries are responding with a variety of strategies including Controlled Digital Lending – the digital equivalent of traditional lending. 

As libraries evolve with the changing landscape, leaders need tools to change for the better. Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive, said the balance of power is up for grabs and publishers are pushing for control.

“We need librarians to be trained to push back,” Brewster said. “We are fighters for our patrons. We should stand by libraries and help empower them.”

Carmi Parker, librarian for the Whatcom County Library System in Washington state, said the average price of e-book licensing more than tripled over the past decade and libraries are forced to repurchase more frequently. When McMillan recently limited libraries to buying one e-book in the first eight weeks after publication (instead of dozens of copies of best sellers), Parker’s library consortium launched a boycott. After 1,200 other public libraries joined the protest, the publisher bowed to the pressure and dropped the practice.

“The concern here is this pattern of increasing prices and increasingly limited licenses that impede our ability to offer books to our patrons,” Parker says. “We think that we sent the message that embargoes are not OK, but we still have the crippling prices and limitations. We need to use print lending as a model for how these e-books should work. That’s why I’m interested in Controlled Digital Lending because that’s exactly what it does.”

Kyle K. Courtney, copyright advisor & program advisor at Harvard University, said CDL is a complementary model that helps libraries preserve their mission of long-term preservation and access.

“CDL has emerged as one of several answers to deal with these access issues now,” Courtney says. “CDL helps fill this digital void by harnessing the library’s special role in copyright to broaden digital access. We are craving this kind of digital access.”

Some panelists underscored it was important to embrace new forms of dissemination, but that CDL was an incomplete solution in need of refinement.

Many authors are coming around to the idea that sharing their works openly can only help them gain readers, said Dean Smith, director of Duke University Press.

“We are focused on smart and sustainable Open Access,” says Smith, who adds that OA usage has made his press more relevant. CDL is especially useful for titles that are out of print to bring scholarship that is buried back into circulation, he said. Smith suggested a possible “buy button” be added to books offered on Internet Archive as a way to entice more participation in CDL.

There should be several ways for writers to market and sell their books beyond the large publishers and online outlets, according to Cory Doctorow, a science fiction author, activist and journalist, and special advisor to the Electronic Frontier Foundation. He is a supporter of the Internet Archive and believes libraries should be able to scan books for CDL.

Among Doctorow’s policy wish list to improve digital access: reform the copyright law, change labor laws for writers to form strong unions, subject mergers to strict scrutiny, force breakups of monopolistic firms in publishing, distribution and retail, increase arts funding, and create a Library of Congress rights database.

Meredith Rose, senior policy counsel for Public Knowledge, said that the pandemic might be moving public opinion on some of these issues and lead lawmakers to consider new measures. CDL could be pitched as a solution to help address distance learning, public health, misinformation, disability rights and other relevant concerns.

Looking ahead

Next week’s session of the Library Leaders Forum will focus on the community of practice that has developed around Controlled Digital Lending, and the panel discussion will bring together the librarians, technologists and educators who are working together to develop the next generation of library tools that incorporate & build upon Controlled Digital Lending. Registration is free and available now. 

What to Expect at the Library Leaders Forum

With library service impacted at global scale due to COVID-19, libraries have had to adjust their digital lending programs to meet the needs of the communities they serve. The crisis has proven the power and importance of digital tools in responding to crisis and empowering those who would otherwise be excluded from access to knowledge and education. 

So where do we go from here? How can we harness the learnings from this extraordinary time to build the library of the 21st century? This October at the Library Leaders Forum, experts from the library, copyright, and information policy fields will come together for a three-week virtual event exploring the future of digital lending and its key role in a democratic society. Here are our three key discussion points:

Information policy in the digital age: how can we empower libraries? 

Our first session will focus on policy: how can we build a healthy information ecosystem for the 21st Century? The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that digital access to library materials is more important than ever, and that our current models are not adequate to meet this need. Digital access is particularly important for the most vulnerable people in our society, including disadvantaged communities, people with print disabilities, and those affected by emergency. Information policy, therefore, has wide-ranging implications for equality and the right to education. In this session, librarians, authors, and publishers will come together to discuss what’s broken, what’s working, and the future of information policy and practice. 

What is the role of controlled digital lending in the library of the future? 

Our second session explores the community of practice around controlled digital lending. The power of this key library practice in helping libraries and educators reach marginalized communities and respond to emergencies has been demonstrated during the COVID-19 period. There are now hundreds of libraries using the practice to reach their communities while service is disrupted. The potential of controlled digital lending for contributing to a more equal society where everyone has access to knowledge is clear; how can we expand on the current uses of this powerful tool? In this session, we’ll learn from librarians, educators, and technologists who are developing next-generation library tools that incorporate and build upon controlled digital lending.

How does controlled digital lending impact communities & librarians? 

Libraries serve communities, and our tools are successful when they have a positive impact on people’s lives. Our final session will therefore focus on first-hand experiences of the impact of controlled digital lending. We’ll hear from libraries that have implemented the practice and from library users about what it has meant for them. We look forward to hearing from those on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response about how they are using digital library practices to adapt to the situation and continue to serve those who most need free access to digital materials. 

Beyond the Forum: the #EmpoweringLibraries campaign

The issues raised at the Forum are not merely theoretical, but require urgent action in the face of a new lawsuit which threatens the practice of controlled digital lending and the age-old role of libraries in society. It is crucial for the future of libraries and the rights of our most vulnerable communities that the ideas and experiences shared during the forum are heard more widely. In order to empower the community to stay connected and make their voices heard after the Forum, we will launch the #EmpoweringLibraries campaign, defending the right of libraries to own, preserve and lend digital books. The campaign will turn the ideas discussed during the Forum into action, and the community into a movement for change. 

The Library Leaders Forum will take place on 6, 13, and 20 October 2020. You can register for free here, or follow the #EmpoweringLibraries hashtag on Twitter for live updates. 

Registration Is Now Open for the Library Leaders Forum

Every October we host the Library Leaders Forum, which is traditionally a one-day workshop that brings together librarians, archivists, and information managers to learn about emerging technologies in libraries. Registration is now open for this year’s Forum, which will be entirely virtual. We hope you can join in and learn from a distance about new developments and projects at the Internet Archive, especially those relating to controlled digital lending.

The theme of this year’s Forum is “Empowering Libraries and Communities Through Digital Lending.” With library service impacted at global scale due to COVID-19, libraries have had to adjust their digital lending programs to meet the needs of the communities they serve. Join experts from the library, copyright, and information policy fields for a three-week virtual event exploring current digital lending strategies for libraries and the future of digital lending. Sessions will be held online October 6, 13, & 20.

October 6: Policy
10am-12pm PDT
Join leaders in the library copyright community & policy experts for a panel discussion on the future of digital lending and its value to libraries and the communities they serve.

October 13: Community
10am-12pm PDT
A community of practice has emerged around controlled digital lending. Learn from leaders who are developing next generation library tools that incorporate and build upon CDL.

October 20: Impact
10am-12pm PDT
Learn from libraries that have implemented controlled digital lending and hear from users about the impact the library practice has made for them.

Register now for each session, and also check out our pre-conference workshop “How Controlled Digital Lending Works for Libraries.”

Last year’s Forum was a rousing success! Read the recap.

Canceled: Rebecca Solnit in conversation with Andrew Sean Greer

Update, 3/10/20: We’re very sorry to announce that due to public health concerns around the coronavirus, Ms. Solnit has decided to cancel her tour. Consequently, we’ve been forced to cancel this event. Booksmith will refund all previously purchased tickets, and you may still purchase a copy of the memoir through their site. Thank you for your understanding.

Original article:

Please join us on Monday, March 16th for an evening with Rebecca Solnit as she reads from and discusses her new memoir, “Recollections of My Nonexistence”. In conversation with author Andrew Sean Greer, Solnit will explore her development as a writer and a feminist in San Francisco from the 1980s and beyond, as well as the lessons that our larger society can draw about women’s voices.

Rebecca Solnit has written fourteen books, including A Paradise Built in Hell, River of Shadows, Wanderlust: A History of Walking, As Eve Said to the Serpent: On Landscape, Gender, and Art (which was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism), and Men Explain Things to Me. She received the Lannan Literary Award in 2003, and has published essays in a variety of well-known publications.

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In “Recollections of My Nonexistence”, Solnit describes her coming-of-age in 1980s San Francisco. She tells of the city in which she transformed herself; of how punk rock gave form to her raw emotions; of the spacious landscapes of the American West, of the gay men around her who offered alternative visions of gender and identity. She recounts the epidemic of violence against women around her, the disbelief of authority figures, the voicelessness that was and still is the condition of so many women. Solnit explores the forces that helped her find her own voice, liberating herself as she learned how to write. That voice has resonated with and empowered many others, shaping society-wide conversations about gender, respect, and equality.

Booksmith is hosting the reading and conversation at the Internet Archive on March 16th; doors will open at 6pm. The discussion will start at 7pm and will be followed by an audience Q&A. Afterwards there will be a signing by the author, with copies of the book available for sale. Come join us for an evening of dialogue and empowerment!

Date: Monday, March 16, 2020
Time: 6:00-9:00 pm
Where: Internet Archive
300 Funston Ave. SF, CA 94118

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Public Domain Day — January 30, 2020 in Washington DC

Please join us on January 30, 2020 for an evening celebration of the public domain! Presented by Internet Archive, Institute for Intellectual Property & Social Justice, Creative Commons, the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property, and SPARC, this event will bring together a diverse group of organizations, musicians, artists, activists, and thinkers to highlight the new works entering the public domain for the first time and discuss those elements of knowledge and creativity that are too important to a healthy society to lock down with copyright law. This celebration will take place at American University, Washington College of Law in Washington, D.C. from 5:30pm-8:30pm ET. For those that can’t physically attend the event, there will also be a live stream of the afternoon programming beginning at 6:30pm Eastern Time. 

The public domain is our shared cultural heritage, a near limitless trove of creativity that’s been reused, remixed, and reimagined over centuries to create new works of art and science. The public domain forms the building blocks of culture because these works are not restricted by copyright law. Generally, works come into the public domain when their copyright term expires. This year, works first published in 1924 including such favorites as “Rhapsody in Blue” by George Gershwin, the Dia de los Muertos Mural by Diego Rivera, and “The Man in the Brown Suit” by Agatha Christie, entered the public domain for all to share.

Join creative, legal, library, and advocacy communities to celebrate the public domain and our shared cultural heritage, and come network with an amazing lineup of people and organizations who will help us welcome a new class of public domain works. 

RSVP now 

Agenda

5:15 PM         Registration opens

5:30 PM    Public Interest Organization Showcase and Reception with live jazz by the Bob Schwartz Quartet

6:30 PM     Welcome Talk: Realizing Access to the Public Domain featuring Brewster Kahle

6:50 PM    Panel: Remixing the Public Domain – discussion with remix artists moderated by Kim Tignor

7:10 PM     Presentations and Lightning Talks featuring Peter Jazsi, Julia Reda, Leslie Street, Amanda Levendowsi, Jonathan Band, and Mike Carroll

8:30 PM     Reception with live jazz

The Lost Landscapes of San Francisco: A Benefit for the Internet Archive — Friday, January 24th

COMBINING a year of exciting archival discoveries with evergreen favorites from past years, this feature-length program shows San Francisco’s people, neighborhoods, infrastructures and celebrations from the early 20th century through the 1980s. New sequences this year run the gamut from the noirish streets of downtown San Francisco in the 1940s to life in the lively Mission, Richmond, Sunset, Bernal Heights and Ingleside Terrace districts.

ALSO IN THE WORKS: Bits of San Francisco bohemia, psychedelia and punk; newly discovered footage of the late, lamented Sky Tram and the unlamented Bayside Motel and Embarcadero Freeway; workers horsing around on the Rainier Beer loading dock in 1937; transit infrastructure; snowball fights; a hobo by the zoo; newly discovered amateur Cinemascope footage from the 1950s; the building of I-280; San Francisco’s publicly owned electrical generation system; San Francisco’s cemeteries emptied of their dead; and many intimate glimpses of family life in Latinx, Filipino, Chinese, Japanese, African American, and European communities in San Francisco.

AS ALWAYS, the audience makes the soundtrack! Come prepared to identify places, people and events, to ask questions and to engage in spirited real-time repartee with fellow audience members

RSVP HERE

Doors Open and Reception Starts: 6:30pm
Show Begins: 7:30pm

No one will be turned away for lack of funds.

Lawrence Lessig : “They Don’t Represent Us” – Conversation & Book Signing — Tuesday, December 17 at 6pm

Please join us at the Internet Archive’s San Francisco Headquarters on Tuesday, December 17th at 6 pm to hear a titan of Internet law, political reformer and “the most distinguished law professor of his generation,” Lawrence Lessig discuss his new book They Don’t Represent Us.

RSVP Here Free, but Donations Welcome

Lawrence Lessig won’t be coming home, exactly, when he appears at the Internet Archive for a talk about his latest book, They Don’t Represent Us, on Dec. 17th. The Harvard professor will be coming to a place, however, where he should feel extremely comfortable. He has made defining the rules of the internet one of his life’s causes, and that nicely intersects with the Internet Archive, which exists as a treasure trove of the internet’s history that sits at the intersection of technology, law and culture.

Brewster Kahle, the founder of the Internet Archive, has seen many distinguished visitors drop by at his organization’s San Francisco offices, but Lessig’s evening promises to be special. Kahle says he is honored to have Lessig stop by to provide insights into his latest book. “Lawrence Lessig, a hero of mine, brings clear messages of what needs fixing and how we might do it, and do it by working together,” Kahle said. “I am looking forward to his new book.”

Lessig’s history in print is as an author who doesn’t waste time getting to the point. Before his publishers intervened, he’d wanted to title the book An Essentially Unrepresentative Representative Democracy. Briefly a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, he wasn’t able to gain sufficient traction in his goal of instituting campaign finance and electoral reforms.

With the publication five weeks ago of They Don’t Represent Us, he tackles those subjects again. He has particularly harsh words for gerrymandering, the process by which federal and state representatives manipulate the boundaries of electoral constituencies to maximize the benefit of those crafting the boundaries and to suppress minority votes.

One complaint is that only about a dozen so-called swing states are ever in play in presidential elections, that these states get upward of 90 percent of candidates’ time and money, and that these states, being mostly older and whiter, don’t well represent the nation as a whole. He points out that there are 7½ times as many people working in solar energy as there are working in mining coal, but you don’t hear about those solar energy jobs much during presidential campaigns because those people are from non-swing states like Texas or California. The coal mining jobs are in many of the swing states.

Lessig says representatives in safely gerrymandered districts are more in danger of defeat from members of their own party in primaries. And that, Lessig argues, leads to the extremes in both the Republican and Democratic parties being amplified.

He proselytizes for modifications to the Electoral College, which recently has put two men, George W. Bush in 2000 and Donald Trump in 2016, into the presidency despite losing the popular vote. His suggestion is to ditch the winner-take-all systems used by most states in presidential elections in favor of proportionally allocating electors.Doing so, he says, would make winning votes in Utah equally important as winning votes in California despite the difference in populations, making presidential candidates need to care about all states instead of what Lessig calls “Swing State America.”

Doors will open at 6pm. The discussion will start at 7pm and will be followed by a reception. Signed copies of book will be available for sale.

Date: Tuesday, December 17, 2019
Time: 6:00-9:00 pm
Where: Internet Archive
300 Funston Ave. SF, CA 94118

Schedule:
6pm – Reception
7pm – Conversation
8pm – Reception/Book Signing

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7th Annual Aaron Swartz Day at the Internet Archive

The Internet Archive is hosting a FOIAPOLOOZA to celebrate Aaron Swartz and to provide a yearly showcase of his many interests. Aaron’s work focused on civic awareness and activism and we will spend Saturday together keeping his prescient vision alive.

Doors are open for the hackathon and the daytime programming on Saturday at 10 am. The reception will be on Saturday evening at 6:00 pm with the main program starting at 8 pm with a music and dance party afterward.

FOIAPALOOZA:  Aaron filed many FOIA requests and inspired lots of journalists, including the now-legendary Jason Leopold, to use them as a tool for evidence-based journalism. So we decided to focus on FOIA and public records requests at this year’s San Francisco event. We aim to not only teach folks how to file their own requests but also to let them dig into the information we have received back from the 200+ requests we filed this last year with our Police Surveillance Project. FOIAPALOOZA speakers include Tracy Rosenberg & Mike Katz-McCabe from Oakland Privacy — an organization that just won an EFF Pioneer Award! — as well as Freddy Martinez from Lucy Parsons Labs, Ryan Shapiro from Property of the People and Brewster Kahle and Tracey Jaquith from the Internet Archive.

Get Tickets Here

Saturday, November 9, 2019
10:00 am Doors Open for Hackathon and Daytime Programming
11:00 am Programming starts
6:00 pm Reception
8:00 pm Evening Program

Internet Archive
300 Funston Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94118