On March 16, 2023, the Internet Archive hosted the “Democracy’s Library Workshop: Community Collaboration.” This event marked the first public presentation and discussion of the Democracy’s Library Project since its inauguration at the 2022 Annual Event, following several months of research, supported by the Filecoin Foundation, from November 2022 to February 2023. The presentation, a collaboration between Internet Archive staff and a visiting government official, aims to preserve government information and make it much more meaningfully accessible to the public. The event was live-streamed and can be viewed at the provided video link.
Brewster Kahhale, founder of The Internet Archive, providing an introduction and discussing why we need to “Build Our Collections Together.”
Andrea Mills, Executive Director of Internet Archive Canada, discussing the incredible progress made in Canada working with their foundational partner, the University of Toronto, in digitizing government information.
Jamie Joyce, leading the Democracy’s Library initiative at Internet Archive in the U.S., reporting on the U.S. landscape analysis and stakeholder interviews.
To librarians and archivists: please know we are still collecting feedback from government information professionals. So if you are a librarian or archivist, we would love to hear from your experience. If you’re interested in sharing, please fill out this survey.
On November 14, 2022, the Internet Archive hosted Humanities and the Web: Introduction to Web Archive Data Analysis, a one-day introductory workshop for humanities scholars and cultural heritage professionals. The group included disciplinary scholars and information professionals with research interests ranging from Chinese feminist movements, to Indigenous language revitalization, to the effects of digital platforms on discourses of sexuality and more. The workshop was held at the Central Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library and coincided with the National Humanities Conference.
The goals of the workshop were to introduce web archives as primary sources and to provide a sampling of tools and methodologies that could support computational analysis of web archive collections. Internet Archive staff shared web archive research use cases and provided participants with hands-on experience building web archives and analyzing web archive collections as data.
The workshop’s central feature was an introduction to ARCH (Archives Research Compute Hub). ARCH transforms web archives into datasets tuned for computational research, allowing researchers to, for example, extract all text, spreadsheets, PDFs, images, audio, named entities and more from collections. During the workshop, participants worked directly with text, network, and image file datasets generated from web archive collections. With access to datasets derived from these collections, the group explored a range of analyses using Palladio, RAWGraphs, and Voyant.
The high level of interest and participation in this event is indicative of the appetite within the Humanities for workshops on computational research. Participants described how the workshop gave them concrete language to express the challenges of working with large-scale data, while also expressing how the event offered strategies they could apply to their own research or could use to support their research communities. For those who were not able to make it to Humanities and the Web, we will be hosting a series of virtual and in-person workshops in 2023. Keep your eye on this space for upcoming announcements.
Why is the internet so broken, and what could ever possibly fix it? The internet is broken, Tarnoff argues, because it is owned by private firms and run for profit. Google annihilates your privacy and Facebook amplifies right-wing propaganda because it is profitable to do so. But the internet wasn’t always like this—it had to be remade for the purposes of profit maximization, through a years-long process of privatization that turned a small research network into a powerhouse of global capitalism. Tarnoff tells the story of the privatization that made the modern internet, and which set in motion the crises that consume it today.
If you can’t make it to our in-person event, the discussion will be recorded and available for viewing the next day. To receive a notification when the recording is available, select the “Watch Recording” free ticket at registration.
Book Talk: Internet for the People IN-PERSON AT THE INTERNET ARCHIVE January 12, 2023 @ 6pm PT Register now for the free, in-person event
Memes have long been dismissed as inside jokes with no political importance. Nothing could be further from the truth. Memes are bedrock to the strategy of conspiracists such as Alex Jones, provocateurs like Milo Yiannopoulos, white nationalists like Nick Fuentes, and tacticians like Roger Stone. While the media and most politicians struggle to harness the organizing power of the internet, the “redpill right” weaponizes memes, pushing conspiracy theories and disinformation into the mainstream to drag people down the rabbit hole. These meme wars stir strong emotions, deepen partisanship, and get people off their keyboards and into the streets–and the steps of the US Capitol.
MEME WARS is the first major account of how “Stop the Steal” went from online to real life, from the wires to the weeds. Leading media expert Joan Donovan, PhD, veteran tech journalist Emily Dreyfuss, and cultural ethnographer Brian Friedberg pull back the curtain on the digital war rooms in which a vast collection of anti-establishmentarians bond over hatred of liberal government and media. Together as a motley reactionary army, they use memes and social media to seek out new recruits, spread ideologies, and remake America according to their desires.
Please join us on October 18th 6:00- 8:00 pm as we take a peek behind the doors of the Physical Archive in Richmond, California
In anticipation of launching Democracy’s Library on October 19th 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 acquired by the Internet Archive — donation, preservation, digitization, and access. We’ll also present samples from generous donations and acquisitions of books, records, microfiche, and film, and demonstrate the Archive’s high-end motion-picture film scanner.
We look forward to offering this glimpse into a very important part of the Internet Archive in its mission to bring Universal Access to All Knowledge.
Join us on October 19 to help inaugurate Democracy’s Library and celebrate all the different efforts happening at the Internet Archive!
Why is it that on the internet the best information is often locked behind paywalls? Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive, believes it’s time to turn that scarcity model upside down and build an internet based on abundance. Join us for an evening event where he’ll share a new project—Democracy’s Library—a free, open, online compendium of government research and publications from around the world. Why? Because democracies need an educated citizenry to thrive.
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 so that everyone who cares about democracy around the world can join in.
On June 21st, the Community Webs program team hosted its 2022 US Symposium at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC. For this day-long meeting, we welcomed over 30 librarians and archivists from across the country for presentations, discussion, networking, and some much-needed catch up following two years of entirely virtual events.
Community Webs is a community history web and digital archiving program operated by the Internet Archive. The program seeks to advance the capacity for community-focused memory organizations to build web and digital archives documenting local histories, with a particular focus on communities that have been underrepresented in the historic record. Community Webs provides its members with web and digital archiving tools, as well as training, technical support and access to a network of organizations doing similar work. The Community Webs program, including this event, is generously funded with support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the Mellon Foundation.
The day began with opening remarks and program updates from Internet Archive staff, including an overview of Community Webs and the significant growth the program has experienced since its launch in 2017. Staff provided a glimpse at what lies ahead both for Community Webs and the Internet Archive’s Archiving and Data Services team. This included plans to incorporate digitization, digital preservation and other forms of digital collecting into Community Webs, as well as projects and services either newly released or in development at IA.
The first keynote speaker of the day was Dr. Doretha Williams, Director of the Robert F. Smith Center for the Digitization and Curation of African American History at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Dr. Williams detailed her organization’s commitment to serving its communities via the Center’s Community Curation Program, Internships and Fellowships Program, Family History Center, and Great Migration Home Movie Project. Throughout her presentation, Dr. Williams stressed the importance of community input and partnerships to achieving the Center’s mission, echoing one of the central tenets of the Community Webs program.
Following this presentation, three speakers shared their experiences working on collaborative web archiving initiatives. Lori Donovan, Senior Program Manager for Community Programs at the Internet Archive, began with an overview of various collaborative web archiving initiatives the Internet Archive and its partners have participated in, including the Collaborative ART Archive (CARTA), a web archiving initiative aimed at capturing web-based art materials utilizing a collective approach. Roger Lawson, Executive Librarian at the National Gallery of Art, shared his institution’s perspective as a member of CARTA. Finally, Christie Moffatt, Digital Manuscripts Program Manager at the National Library of Medicine, described working with colleagues both across her organization and externally to capture health-related web content at a national scale. Each of these presentations emphasized the advantages in scale, resources, staffing and knowledge-sharing that can be achieved by pursuing web archiving via collaborative entities.
Our afternoon session kicked off with a second keynote presentation from Leslie Johnston, Director of Digital Preservation at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). Johnston detailed the challenges NARA faces while contending with digital preservation across the enterprise. These challenges include the heterogeneity of digital outputs and technologies, the complexity of digital objects and environments, the scale of the archivable digital universe, and the difficulties in ensuring equitable access. As an antidote to these challenges, Johnston recommends archivists provide guidance to content creators, take a risk-based approach, prioritize basic levels of control, maintain scalable and flexible infrastructure, and engage in collaborations and partnerships. She also advocated for a people- rather than technology-centric approach to digital preservation, again mirroring the ethos of the Community Webs program.
For our final speaker session of the afternoon, we welcomed Community Webs members up to the lectern to share their web archiving and digital goals and achievements. Librarian, archivist, Phd student, and creative polymath kYmberly Keeton discussed her work as founder of Art | Library Deco, an online archive of African American art. Keeton described working closely with the artists featured in the archive, reiterating the theme of collaboration espoused by other speakers at the event. Tricia Dean, Tech Services Manager at Wilmington Public Library (Illinois), argued for the importance of capturing the histories of small and rural communities through initiatives like Community Webs. Liz Paulus, Adult Services Librarian at Cedar Mill & Bethany Community Libraries described her efforts to capture the online Cedar Mill News via web archiving, stressing how one successful project can play a significant role when advocating for future resources. Longtime Community Webs member Dylan Gaffney, Information Services Associate for Local History & Special Collections at Forbes Library, described his library’s participation in States of Incarceration, a traveling exhibition on mass incarceration, the Historic Northampton Enslaved People Project, and other initiatives. Gaffney credited Community Webs with paving the way for an equity-focused approach to digital projects such as these. Finally, Dana Hamlin, Archivist at Waltham Public Library showcased her organization’s web archiving efforts, highlighting the library’s COVID-19 collections and their attempts to capture the online local newspaper, the Waltham News Tribune.
Throughout the day, attendees had opportunities to discuss digital initiatives at their organizations, to catch up informally after a long hiatus, and to browse the exhibitions on display at the National Museum of the American Indian. We’re so grateful to all of our Community Webs members who were able to attend the event and especially to those who shared their knowledge. Our next Community Webs Symposium will be held in Chattanooga this September 13 to coincide with the Association for Rural and Small Libraries Conference. We are looking forward to seeing more program members there!
Thought leaders from libraries, academia, and civil society gathered at Georgetown Law Center in Washington, D.C., on June 23 to discuss how to best advance policies that improve the ease, affordability and equity in how people access knowledge in the digital age.
Convened by the Internet Archive, this workshop was designed as a continuation of a conversation that the public interest community, including Internet Archive, Creative Commons, Public Knowledge, Library Futures, and the Wikimedia Foundation, started last summer around building a better internet centered on public interest values.
While U.S. lawmakers’ focus on internet policy has largely been directed at reigning in the “Big Tech” commercial platforms, this workshop took a different approach. Rather than centering the challenges with today’s for-profit, commercial platforms, the workshop centered the barriers libraries face and potential opportunities for them to help solve challenges with our digital information ecosystem.
Our hope as organizers was that we could map the terrain, find common ground, and identify areas for further discussion. And even in a short amount of time, we were able to do that in spades. Here are a few of our key learnings, and what’s next.
Participants recognized that libraries could fill an important gap in the current online environment, as they have done for hundreds of years offline–indeed, providing free access to high quality, trusted information is libraries’ primary mission. As our information ecosystem becomes increasingly digital, the world often looks to libraries to do even more. For instance, scholar Joan Donovan has suggested that platform companies hire 10,000 librarians to help curate their services and support access to quality information. Others have suggested libraries could be doing fact checking, building and hosting social media networks, and more. One important way to combat misinformation is with better information provided by libraries; however, this is not without its challenges.
Participants identified two significant barriers for full library participation in the digital information ecosystem as media consolidation and copyright overreach by powerful publishers. The group discussed a wide range of possible solutions to these challenges including antitrust scrutiny, contract preemption, supporting a robust public domain, controlled digital lending, and digital ownership.
The group was motivated by a desire to serve the public over commercial interests, and expressed their commitment to making sure equity was woven through all proposals in a thoughtful and authentic manner. Libraries support access to information and creative empowerment for all. We understand that a better internet must work for everyone, including underserved and vulnerable populations.
As the organizers of this event, we are very grateful to all the participants for contributing their time and expertise to this effort. Up next, we will hold virtual workshops to include additional members of the community in these discussions followed by the publication of a longer report with our findings and policy recommendations. Stay tuned for future updates as this effort moves forward.
At the December 2021 DWeb Meetup, dozens of booths gathered in gather.town for a fun, virtual, get-to-know-you holiday fair. There were 30+ booths of DWeb projects, foundations, start-ups, organizations and protocols sharing their vision for the decentralized web. Attendees were able to stroll through, chat, listen and learn from each other. Presenting projects came from every part of the world!
The Holiday Fair was inspired by the festive holiday fairs of Europe. They were an opportunity for participants to see what is happening in the DWeb space, learn about new technologies, find partners, supporters, team members or funding. Projects welcomed feedback and ideas, and explored opportunities for collaborating!
Booths present at the fair included:
Agregore, a minimal web browser for the distributed web. It integrates peer to peer protocols with the web to simplify creating and sharing apps without the internet. Its goal is to make local-first software easy to make, and to make technology more resilient and easier to make.
Anwen/Dweb Lab which is a DWeb content community exploring Dweb Lab, Dweb Search, Dwebverse: open-source mmo 3d and vr game.
Blue Link Labs & Paul Frazee which is developing a new project building a decentralized, self-hostable cloud using Hypercore Protocol and other Web3 technologies
Briar, a messaging app designed for activists, journalists, and anyone else who needs a safe, easy and robust way to communicate. Unlike traditional messaging apps, Briar doesn’t rely on a central server – messages are synchronized directly between the users’ devices.
Decentralized Future Council, a new initiative committed to educating policymakers in Washington about the future of decentralized and interoperable protocols that will transform the Internet as we know it.
Earthstar Project, a P2P protocol and accompanying library of APIs for building collaborative and social applications, designed for human-sized (1-100) groups that already know and trust each other. This project is ideal if you want an online space where you can just be yourself, someplace safe where strangers won’t hassle you, or a place to build tools that are really tailor-made for your community, with a simple, blockchain-free API.
eQualitie builds free and open source software on decentralized infrastructure and protocols in support of free speech and access to knowledge. It also showed its CENO (short for Censorship No!) Browser, a mobile browser for storing and sharing blocked web content, as well as the team’s newest project, OuiSync – a tool for securely synchronizing and sharing files. Both projects have been developed with the backend support of the open source Ouinet library for enabling peer-to-peer functionality, which can be integrated into many other third-party applications.
Filecoin Foundation presented about its grants program seeking to: A) Accelerate the adoption of open, decentralized technologies; B) Build communities of practitioners, users, and champions that are mutually supporting and self-sustaining; and C) Communicate the values and benefits of open, decentralized technologies to wider audiences
Fluence Labs, a peer-to-peer application platform which allows the creation of applications free of proprietary cloud providers or centralized APIs. Fluence provides a peer-to-peer development stack that allows for programming p2p applications, workflows, and compose services, APIs without relying on centralized intermediaries. Fluence’s p2p platform provides a complementary compute layer to IPFS, enabling a wide variety of decentralized use cases.
Handshake, a naming protocol that is backwards compatible with the existing DNS system. Every peer in the Handshake network cryptographically validates and manages the root zone, which completely removes the need for the Certificate Authority system (CAs). Names are logged on the Handshake blockchain, which is essentially one big distributed zone file to which anyone can add an entry.
The Hyper Hyper Space project aims to make decentralized applications easy to build and accessible by everyone. At the booth, participants could discuss how to power Dapps with data objects that can be instantiated anywhere (even inside a web browser), used offline and easily synchronized over the net!
ImageSnippets – discussing metadata delivery service layers around art/imagery within the context of decentralized protocols.
IndiView, a personal interest project in privacy which built an app and a decentralized network for communicating with friends and family. The network node is designed for self-hosting and implements a digital identity API. The mobile app supports sharing of contact details, photos, videos and chatting through the network.
The Internet Archive, the Library of Alexandria for the digital era, which is experimenting with storing web pages, film and audio in decentralized storage –at scale! Participants could meet team lead, Arkadiy Kukarkin.
Jolocom which is looking to empower every individual, organization, and entity capable of identity to freely communicate. Jolocom provides universally accessible and useful solutions for decentralized identity management.
Least Authority, a technology company supporting people’s right to privacy through security consulting and building secure solutions. A leader in the security of distributed systems, Least Authority offers consulting services, develops privacy-enhancing products, and contributes to the advancement of related open source and human rights projects.
Mask Network which aims to bridge the Web 2.0 users to Web 3.0 by bringing the decentralized application ecosystem onto traditional social networks, the Mask extension provides a decentralized option for features Web 2.0 users are familiar with. Users can enjoy secure, decentralized social messaging, payment networks, file storage, and file sharing without leaving mainstream social media networks.
The Matrix Foundation which is the Foundation responsible for the Matrix protocol and its healthy evolution. Matrix is a federated protocol which is mostly used for instant messaging, but not exclusively. One of the other applications is full mesh VoIP. They are investing into Matrix P2P as well to have portable identities, completely independent from servers, so people are in full control of their account.
Media Enterprise Design Lab, University of Colorado. Nathan Schneider’s CommunityRule is a governance toolkit for great communities. How does your community work? Are you ready to make hard decisions? Too often, we leave the most basic questions unstated and unanswered. CommunityRule makes it easier to clarify the basics so you can focus on other things. They showcased their prototype Web app and gathered ideas for the next-stage revision now in progress.
Mysterium Network, an open-source, Swiss-based Web3 project making the internet borderless and accessible for all. Their decentralised ecosystem of protocols, tools and web infrastructure provides more privacy, anonymous expression, and equal access to information. The project’s flagship product, the decentralised Mysterium VPN, is available for Android, Windows and Mac. Anyone can join the peer-to-peer marketplace to rent their unused bandwidth and IP address to a global community.
OneCommons, an early-stage startup dedicated to building a free and open cloud. The open-source platform lets you build, share and fork open cloud services that are location independent and support built-in funding mechanisms. Its mission is to realign economic incentives to nudge the Web away from the Attention Economy — based on maximizing a user’s attention at whatever cost — to an Intention Economy, where participants fund what they find worthy.
Peergos, a p2p, E2EE secure file storage, social network and application protocol built on IPFS. Peergos is building the next web – the private web, where end users are in control. Imagine web apps being secure by default and unable to track you. Imagine being able to control exactly what personal data each web app can see. Imagine never having to log in to an app ever again. You own your data and decide where it is stored and who can see it.
plan.tools, a community-centric content creator platform for collaboration, world building, and immersive experiences. PLAN is bridging together previously siloed industries using distributed ledger technology (DLT), p2p infrastructure, 3D graphics, open protocols, and realtime collaboration interfaces. Its vision is that the future internet will be powered by collaborative spaces built on a framework that is community-centric, off-grid capable, inclusive, as well as private and secure by default.
Quark, the browser that shows paths across the internet. It incentivizes the expansion of Web 3.0 to users at large with an interaction design approach. Imagine if you can bump into people looking at similar online content or search results, see where they’ve been, tag along to discover content together, and even monetize it via live stream. With Quark, you can build a collective map of the internet.
SHER, the decentralized live audio platform. That’s right, with SHER you can create your own shows. Have multiple streamers, play files and more. You don’t have to install anything, it works on your browser! Take the broadcast studio with you.
Skynet Labs, an open protocol for hosting data and web applications on the decentralized web using the Sia blockchain. Skynet decentralizes “the cloud” so that user and application data is not stored by (and only accessible to) a single, central authority and allows users to access it without any specialized software or cryptocurrency.
Socialroots enables functional cross-group communication, decreasing the time it takes to manage work and partnerships, and increasing engagement and productivity. Wicked Co-op LCA is an NSF funded worker owned co-op building enabling software technology for DAOs and decentralized networks of organizations to coordinate more effectively.
Starling Lab. The USC | Stanford Starling Lab is the first academic research center in the world dedicated to exploring how Web3 technology can transform human rights. They work with historians, journalists, lawyers to securely capture, store, and verify human history using decentralized technologies.
Sutty, a worker-owned cooperative developing a FLOSS platform for managing and hosting static websites and e-commerce. We work for and with NGOs and grass-root organizations in Latin America and we want to share with you why we think this is an opportunity for DWeb’s growth!
Virtual Chair facilitates the organization of efficient and effective virtual events by focusing on three priorities: interaction among participants, dissemination of materials, and broadening participation. With Virtual Chair, organizers can easily take full advantage of best practices for virtual events.
Webrecorder. Webrecorder’s goal is to make it easier for anyone to create, store and access web archives using open source tools. One of our current efforts, supported by the FIlecoin Foundation, is to standardize a format that can be used to create and render web archives directly in the browser. The format makes it possible to load web archives from IPFS as well as a local file system, or any online storage, decentralized or centralized. Webrecorder’s motto is “web archiving for all” and we are working on several tools to enable decentralized web archiving using the browser itself, allow anyone to create personalized archives of their own web browsing.
Visit GetDWeb.net to learn more about the decentralized web. You can also follow us on Twitter at @GetDWeb for ongoing updates.
In her powerful essay “The Sacred Geometry of Respect, Trust and Equity,” Ehmke suggests a new way forward. She challenges us to go beyond a begrudging nod to leveling the playing field. “To effect meaningful change, those whose authority and privilege are sustained by inequity must yield power and distribute agency to those who are most impacted by systemic disparities.”
At the meetup, Coraline discussed what it would mean to build a new decentralized web centered on the values of respect, trust and equity. She explored how centering the values of mutual respect, trust, and equity can help us address the challenges of promoting justice and human rights in the code we create.
Watch Coraline’s talk here:
Lightning Talk Speakers
Jenny Ryan, Project Manager at eQualit.ie for the CENO Browser. enabling you to route around censorship with a peer-to-peer web browser. Jenny is passionate about connecting grassroots communities and global initiatives. She has co-founded and stewarded three Oakland, California nonprofits: Sudo Room, Omni Commons, and Sudo Mesh.
Watch Jenny’s talk here:
Eyal Ron, Co-founder of Esteroids, the search engine for dWebsites. Eyal received his Ph.D. in mathematics from the Free University of Berlin. He was also a co-founder of Almonit (discontinued) and Alpress projects, a former member of the Bisq-core team, and the main author of a couple of DIN (German standard institute) blockchain specs.
Watch Eyal’s talk here:
Savannah Lee, Brand Director of Mysterium, an open-source Web3 project creating a censorship-resistant layer of the internet. She plugged into the Web 3.0 matrix four years ago, now focusing on R&D and strategies to grow P2P communities. Her goal is to help builders and users defend their digital rights and protect access to free information.
Watch Savannah’s talk here:
Suji Yan, Founder of Mask.io which is building a decentralized web on top of the current giant platforms. Mask helps protect users’ privacy on social media by encrypting users’ posts right before sending them out, so users control their data autonomy with their own keys.
Watch Suji’s talk here:
Mauve Signweaver, Creator of HyperGodot, a set of tools for the Godot game engine which enable developers to create local-first peer to peer games based on the protocol handlers in the Agregore browser. Mauve is a Canadian tech enthusiast with a passion for decentralization. Their main project for this is Agregore, a web browser that combines different peer to peer protocols together.
Watch Mauve’s talk here:
Joy Zhang, Founder of Quark. Quark is a Web 3.0 browser x social platform that shows you paths across the internet. Joy is an award-winning designer, engineer, and entrepreneur specializing in human-computer interaction. She has led projects at Apple, IDEO, and four early stage startups, two of which were her own. Joy was featured on Fast Company’s 2021 World Changing Ideas Awards for her sustainable online shopping plugin, shADe.
Watch Joy’s talk here:
Bernhard Borges, Ph.D, Research scientist at the Fluence Project. Fluence is a peer-to-peer application platform which allows the creation of applications free of proprietary cloud providers or centralized APIs. His areas of expertise are Web3, IoT, enterprise integration, and privacy. Prior to Fluence, Bernhard was the Chief Scientist.at Dock Systems and an IBM Distinguished Engineer.
Watch Bernhard’s talk here:
You can register to attend the Holiday fair on December 8, 2021 at 10am PT here.Visit GetDWeb.net to learn more about the decentralized web. You can also follow us on Twitter at @GetDWeb for ongoing updates.