Category Archives: News

DWeb Camp 2024 and Fellowship FAQs 

Previous Fellows setting up network infrastructure at DWeb Camp

Guest blog by ngọc triệu from the DWeb Camp Core Organizing team.

Thank you to all who joined us in our Information Sessions and took the time to share your questions with us over the past month. We received a great number of inquiries and have tried our best to answer them in this blog post. 

If you find that your questions are not covered or if you need further clarification, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at dweb+fellowship@archive.org.

Fellowship

Q: What are the qualities that you are looking for in Fellows?
A: In selecting Fellows, we seek individuals who are building or leveraging network technologies to uplift communities facing systemic inequality and help bring about autonomy, resilience, justice and social equity. Rather than adhering to a rigid set of criteria, we embrace diversity in backgrounds and expertises among our Fellows.

Learn more about the qualifications here. 

Q: How are the Fellows selected?
A: The Fellows are chosen by the Fellowship Selection Committee, which comprises past Fellows and members of the DWeb Core Team. Applications will be evaluated across four key areas:

  1. DWeb Technology and Organizing: To what extent does the applicant utilize decentralized web technology and/or decentralized organizing tactics to tackle real-world challenges?
  1. Community Engagement: How actively does the applicant work directly with and for under-resourced constituencies or marginalized communities?
  1. DWeb Principles Alignment: Does the applicant and their work resonate with the values and spirit of the DWeb Principles?
  1. Camp Participation: To what degree would the applicant benefit from attending Camp, and vice versa, how important is it that their perspective and experience is shared at the event for others to learn from?

Q: Do Fellows have to be super technical (in other words, do they need to know how to code)? 
A: No. Even though we prioritize applicants who have experiences developing and utilizing DWeb technologies in their work, we have also accepted Fellows who are not as technical in the past. 

Q: What’s the best way to prepare for an application?
A: The best way to prepare for your application is familiarize yourself with the DWeb Principles. You can also gain insight into previous Fellows and their projects: 2019 Fellows, 2022 Fellows, 2023 Fellows. This will help you assess whether you and your projects align well with the Fellowship Program.

If you have a technical background, emphasize how your work relates to DWeb technologies and their application in real-world situations. For non-technical applicants, discuss how your work could benefit from DWeb technologies and outline the support or connections you are seeking for at Camp. 

We value brevity in responses. If you choose to apply through a written application, consider drafting your responses in a separate document to avoid losing your work while using a browser.   

Q: What kind of knowledge, skills, and/or experience do you expect Fellows to share?
A: Fellows are expected to share about the projects they work on and intend to present at Camp. This might encompass practical knowledge, professional skills, community stories, and related work experience, such as how they have utilized DWeb technologies to address the challenges facing their communities. 

Q: What are examples of workshops or presentations that Fellows have organized at camp in the past?
A: Here are some examples of workshops and talks the our previous Fellows organized: 

  • Co-creating Terrastories. A multi-day build-a-thon workshop where participants worked on improving Terrastories (an open-source, offline-first app for mapping oral histories) to better suit the needs of the Haudenosaunee Indigenous community who are mapping traditional knowledge of water alongside scientific research about river contamination. Led by Rudo Kemper, 2022 Cohort and the Digital Democracy team.
  • Mesh Network Building Session. A workshop where participants learned how to crimp ethernet cable, build wireless links, and attach applications to the DWeb mesh community network. Led by Esther Jang, 2022 Cohort.
  • Old Policy, New Tech: Reconciling Permissioned Blockchain Systems with Transatlantic Privacy Frameworks. A talk by Remy Hellstern, 2022 Cohort.
  • This Is a Journey Into Sound: A Proposal for Beats, Tech and Future Economies.  A workshop led by brandon king & Stacco Troncoso, 2023 Cohort.
  • Data Feminism: An Intersectional Approach to Data Gathering, Analyzing, and Sharing. A workshop led by Jack Keen Fox, 2023 Cohort.
  • Designing for Intersectional Data Sovereignty. A talk by Camille Nibungco, 2023 Cohort. 

Q: How big will the cohort be this year? 
A: We aim to bring approximately 20 to 25 Fellows to DWeb Camp this year.  

Q. Does the Fellowship cover visa fees?
A: No, unfortunately, we can only cover travel expenses to/from your place of origin to Camp. However, we can provide you with a sponsorship letter and request expedited processing for your visa. 

Q. Does the Fellowship cover travel from where the applicant is to Camp and back? What about food?
A: Yes. If you arrive at Camp with a car, your gas and related expenses will be reimbursed. If you require a flight, our team collaborates with a travel agency to assist you in arranging your travel to and from Camp. In some cases, we can provide a stipend for taxi fares and meals when you’re in San Francisco. 

At Camp, all meals are provided, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late-night snacks. Please note that there are no financial transactions at Camp and we encourage our campers to bring snacks to share with the community. 

Q. Do you have to know how to set up a tent?
A: No. As Fellows, your accommodation will be provided for you. However, if you are interested in learning how to set up a tent, we are happy to show you how during Build Days. 

Q. Where to find prior nodes? Has there been traction from Fellows to set up new nodes in their country beyond the US and Europe?
A: You can find a listing of all DWeb nodes here. Our Fellows have organized events and contributed to their local nodes worldwide over the past years. Last year, a few Fellows gathered and hosted the first DWeb Camp in Brazil with the support of CooLab

You can read our reflections about the event here (in English) and here (in Spanish).

DWeb Camp 

Q: What’s the focus of DWeb Camp this year? 
A: The theme of DWeb Camp 2024 is Migration: Moving Together. We’ll be exploring how we can move together toward the Web we want and deserve. Stay tuned for more information on our website

Q: What other types of projects and organizations are represented at Camp?
A: There is a diverse range of projects and organizations at DWeb Camp. Please take a look at the project and people directory from DWeb Camp 2023 here.

Q. How many people do you expect to attend DWeb Camp this year? 
A: Last year, we had approximately 470 attendees and 35 Fellows at DWeb Camp. It’s worth noting that our event caters to a diverse age range, as we welcomed 25 attendees under the age of 18. We expect the same amount of attendees this year. 

Q. Can you explain the different ways to volunteer if I’m not selected as a Fellow?
A: Yes! There are three ways to volunteer: 

1. Space Steward. As a Space Steward, your responsibilities include organizing and managing the schedule for your space, ensuring familiarity with Camp Navarro, and preparing the required space, equipment, and materials for talks and workshops. Your Camp ticket will be provided.

2. Camp Volunteer. As a Camp Volunteer, you’ll assist in setting up and taking down camp infrastructure, handling various kitchen duties, cleaning up, etc. You’ll be asked to work five 3-hour shifts (total 15 hours). You’ll receive a 50% discount on your camp ticket.

3. Weaver. As a Weaver, your role involves facilitating conversations among campers within small groups during Camp. This position is not compensated and requires the least time commitment. 

Learn more about different ways to volunteer at Camp here. 

Q: How are DWeb Camp & the Fellowship funded? 
A: DWeb Camp and the Fellowship Program are funded by various organizations and individuals. Some of our past sponsors include the Internet Archive, Filecoin Foundation, Ford Foundation, Mask, Gitcoin, Jolocom, Bluesky, Ethereum Foundation, and more.  

A Visit From (And Conversation With) Jordan Mechner

If you’ve ever taken a tour of the Internet Archive headquarters with Brewster Kahle, you’ve likely watched him play a minute or two of the game “Prince of Persia” on our in-browser emulator. While talking through the technology involved, Brewster will press the keys to make the main character run through the dungeons of a kingdom, often dying rather quickly.

Over the years, the area around the “Prince of Persia” station has added additional decorations, including a print drawn by the creator of Prince of Persia, Jordan Mechner. Entitled A Faithful Friend, the print depicts a moment in the Prince of Persia Game where a small mouse visits the captive princess.

Worlds collided recently when Jordan Mechner, in town for the Game Developers Conference 2024 and doing some readings of his new graphic novel memoir Replay, stopped by the Internet Archive for a tour and discussion with Brewster.

This provided a unique opportunity for the creator of a game that Brewster had been playing for years to give him tips to learn how to do a better running jump and get farther along than he had in his many demonstrations on the tour. It can be reported that Brewster was a fast learner and took Jordan’s suggestions to heart.

Jordan was also kind enough to gift a signed copy of Replay to the Internet Archive.

Conversation turned to the Internet Archive’s help in Jordan’s work creating Replay, including images and research for the historical parts of the novel.

During the conversation, Jordan had this to say:

“I appreciate [The Internet Archive] as a graphic novelist and as a game developer. Everything I’ve done throughout my life has been based on inspiration that I get from other things and on research that I’m able to do. When I went online to write and draw this 320-page book about game development and about my life and my family’s history, I looked for visual references of everything from old postcards and photographs to video game consoles.”

“I wanted to draw the floppy disk caddies and 1970s movie posters I had in my office in Brøderbund when I was making the first Prince of Persia on the Apple II. And where could I find a 1983 April issue of Softalk magazine, which is how I learned 6502 assembly language programming? So many times, when I searched online, it was the Internet Archive that came through.”

Brewster agreed:

“Well, I’m glad we’ve been useful to you, but also thank you for going and being a model for taking something that’s very, very popular in the past and making sure that it makes it to a generation that is going to download it from GitHub and play with it and mod it and do something else with it. And you’re welcoming of that next generation, living and growing with your work.”

And Jordan couldn’t have been clearer:

“And I will say that I don’t feel harmed by that. A few years ago somebody took the time to port Prince of Persia to the Commodore 64, which the publisher had no interest in doing in 1989, because the Commodore 64 was already outdated as a platform. Even the Apple II was on its way out. But somebody has done it now just out of love, out of its challenge, and the fact that the source code was available made that easier, I hope.

“Making things available to this generation. They’re going to do weird different things with it, especially if it’s not a permission-based society. But that’s what creativity has always been based on.“

Jordan acknowledged: “Copyright law exists and was created to protect the incentive of creators to work really hard at making something. So that if someone makes something great against all odds and it gets out there and sells a lot of copies, they can make money from it. But at a certain point, things that have been created need to then be used by other people to make their versions of it. The games and movies that we love, operas, films made of the works of Shakespeare, are building on creations of the past.”

There was one last reunion in the visit: Years ago, the Archive was donated a travel case (for trade shows) used by Jordan’s game publisher, Brøderbund Software. It currently lives in one of the Internet Archive’s guest rooms, and Jordan got a quick selfie with a piece of his own history.

Addressing Underrepresentation in Rural New England Community Archives: Documenting the History of Black Lives in Rural New England

A family in Hatfield, ca. 1889.
A family in Hatfield, ca. 1889. L.H. Kingsley, photographer.

Guest post by Dylan Gaffney, Information Services Associate for Local History & Special Collections, Forbes Library.

This post is part of a series written by members of the Community Webs program. Community Webs advances the capacity for community-focused memory organizations to build web and digital archives documenting local histories and underrepresented voices. For more information, visit communitywebs.archive-it.org.

Forbes Library has been a member of Community Webs since its inception in 2017. At that time, we were hopeful that the program would allow us to create an archive which more fully represented the community in which we live, and provide a more diverse history/record of our region and the people we serve. This project inspired archives staff to examine the many silences in our archives, and make plans for the ethical collection and preservation of materials that would help fill in these gaps in our historical record. At the same time, the library had begun to shift its focus toward collaboration with other local historical and community organizations. 

In the years following the kickoff of the Community Webs Project, Forbes library co-hosted multiple series of exhibits, films, workshops, walking tours, and community reads on themes of mass incarceration, the Underground Railroad, and the history of slavery in our region. These events, and the passionate response of the community to them, inspired us to continue seeking out collaborations, large and small, and solidified our view that surfacing stories of people who had been underrepresented in the archives should be a core value in our work as an institution.

This work inspired Forbes Library, Historic Northampton, UMass Amherst, and the Pioneer Valley History Network to take lead roles in the 2021 Documenting Early Black Lives in the Connecticut River Valley project, which seeks to gather the fragmentary information about Black lives from the wide range of sources and archives in Western Massachusetts so that a whole might be perceived that is larger than the sum of those parts. The project, to date, has surfaced over 3500 records or references to people of color, enslaved and free, in Western Massachusetts from the 17th through 19th centuries. These histories are being made available through the project’s database and on the project website. We contributed an essay titled Searching for Black History in a Public Library Archive to the Project Handbook on the experiences and takeaways of doing this work from a public librarian’s perspective.

We know too little about Black lives in rural and small-town New England, and the places Black residents were able to carve out for themselves in these communities. With this project, we hoped to uncover names, details of their lives, and some small sense of how people of color survived in the Connecticut River Valley before and after the abolition of slavery in Massachusetts in 1783. At the kickoff event for the project, UMass Amherst professor Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina mentioned challenging the assumptions of others (sometimes called Gatekeepers) who “might be quick to discourage a researcher interested in Black History, reporting that they don’t have much…or not thinking about ways that records of white families might be useful to this research” Gerzina remarked that researchers, curators, and librarians should ”start from the perspective of presence.” 

As the Documenting Black Lives project was undertaken with grant funding, and the time thus limited, we needed to develop an approach that would be productive right away. We identified several collections in the library’s Hampshire Room for Local History that we expected could be productive resources for identifying enslaved people in the area. The most promising of these was the Judd Manuscript Collection, a collection of 60+ volumes created by local newspaper editor and historian Sylvester Judd in the 1840s. The manuscript was originally purchased from the Judd estate by local historian James Trumbull and subsequently sold to the trustees of the library. It has been the property of the library since 1904, but use has been limited to a small group of academics and local historians who were aware of the contents and could physically visit during our few open archives hours. Those who knew of its tremendous historical value had discovered that it features content documenting Indigenous lives, enslaved people, and free Black people in New England and had used it to research Indigenous culture, the history of colonial settlement, enslavement, and the early abolitionist movement in the area. 

Sylvester Judd’s Account of Sojourner Truth speaking and singing at his grandson Hall’s funeral. Sylvester Judd Notebook Vol. 3.

Sylvester Judd’s Account of Sojourner Truth speaking and singing at his grandson Hall’s funeral. Sylvester Judd Notebook Vol. 3.

Public Historian and Author Marla Miller on the value of Judd:

“Sylvester Judd, in his transcriptions of historic documents as well as the conversations he described with local residents, preserves extraordinary details that survive nowhere else. Because of Judd’s meticulous, wide-ranging work, I was able to gain insight into the lives of laboring people that would never otherwise have been possible…Judd’s notes preserve genealogical information about enslaved people that is found nowhere else. The Judd manuscript is almost archaeological in nature, with shards of evidence that can be unearthed via careful scrutiny. As he records, for instance, who had the first piano in town, who laid the first carpet, the sound of the geese squawking through Sunday sermons, and a hundred other small details of daily life, a picture emerges that simply cannot be found in any other kind of more formal or systematic archival material. These pages, filled from edge to edge with his notes, cross references, sketches, and other materials, simply teem with the kinds of details that historians crave, but cannot hope to find—except in Northampton.”

If we start from an assumption of presence (of underrepresented people both in the community and in the archives), the primary obstacles to discovering and surfacing information in collections like ours, often revolve around issues of access, and methodologies for search and discovery. We had long dreamed of digitizing all 60+ bound volumes of the collection to make them available to a wider group of researchers and the public at large. When the Community Webs program began to explore funding for a digitization program dedicated to expanding the amount and diversity of locally-focused community archives available online to users, the Judd Manuscript Collection seemed a good fit.

Now that the volumes have been digitized, our mission is to spread the word about their value and availability, so that the materials within can inform and inspire new research and discovery. As an illustration of the value of the collection and its contents, it is useful to look at how the increased availability of this resource could lead to new discoveries in long hidden collections. As an example, I will examine how Judd enriched our understanding of one local Black family.

Judd entry for the Hull Family. Northampton Genealogies Volume 4, p. 380.

Judd entry for the Hull Family. Northampton Genealogies Volume 4, p. 380.

Judd devoted entire volumes to genealogies of local families, but the 600+ page volume on Northampton Genealogies contains, to our knowledge, only two Black families, both listed without last names. The work we had done in the Documenting Black Lives project enabled us to compile a list of 3500+ entries for Black residents of the region in the period between the 1650-1900. We recognized these names as those of Amos and Bathsheba Hull and their children. Bathsheba can be found elsewhere in our own archives as a member of the Church of Christ during Jonathan Edwards ministry between 1729-1750, in records recorded by Jonathan Edwards own hand.

Goods purchased by Amos Hull between 1754-1759, as listed in Judd’s transcription of Ebenezer hunt’s Account Book. Northampton Account Books, p. 68.

Goods purchased by Amos Hull between 1754-1759, as listed in Judd’s transcription of Ebenezer hunt’s Account Book. Northampton Account Books, p. 68.

This entry transcribed from a local merchant’s account book shows items purchased by Amos Hull, the services he would perform in exchange for goods received, and the rate at which he was paid. It notes that in 1761, the same year their daughter Margaret was born, Amos Hull died. Afterward, his widow Bathsheba paid for his and her accounts by washing. Bathsheba surely would have a difficult time supporting multiple children without her husband, and documents subsequently found elsewhere in our archives and in other institutions prove this to be the case.

Asaph Hull’s 1762 Indenture Record. Northampton Manuscript Collection.

Asaph Hull’s 1762 Indenture Record. Northampton Manuscript Collection.

By 1762, a document found elsewhere in our archives records their son Asaph indentured to Seth Pomeroy, who is well known for his service in the French and Indian War and would go onto fight at the Battle of Bunker Hill and achieve the rank of Major General.

Judd entry describing the town seizing Bathsheba Hull’s land. Northampton Vol. 2, p. 300.

Judd entry describing the town seizing Bathsheba Hull’s land. Northampton Vol. 2, p. 300.

Bathsheba and her family come up again in several entries in Judd, including multiple mentions of the town seizing her land and displacing her from it in 1765. This cruel act forces Bathsheba and her young children from the town. Bathsheba and her son Agrippa would relocate to Stockbridge, Massachusetts. It is in Stockbridge where Agrippa Hull would enlist in May of 1777, and served for the remainder of the Revolutionary War in the Continental Army, including witnessing the surrender of British General John Burgoyne at Saratoga, New York, enduring the winter of 1777-78 at Valley Forge and was part of the battle at Monmouth Courthouse, New Jersey in June 1778.  He then served as a personal assistant for the famed Polish general, revolutionary and engineer Taddeusz Kosciuszko and became a close friend of the General, during their years of War Service together. Agrippa’s story and friendship with Kosciuszko, along with Kosciuszko’s friendship with Thomas Jefferson is examined in Gary Nash and Graham Hodge’s 2012 book “Friends of Liberty: Thomas Jefferson, Tadeusz Kosciuszko, and Agrippa Hull”.

Portrait of Agrippa Hull, Courtesy of the Stockbridge Library, Museum & Archives.

Portrait of Agrippa Hull, Courtesy of the Stockbridge Library, Museum & Archives.

Agrippa Hull went on to become the most prominent black landowner in Stockbridge MA and is buried along with his wife and children in Stockbridge Cemetery. His brother Amos Hull, Jr. also fought in the Continental Army, and surfaces in Belchertown MA records recorded as part of the Documenting Black Lives project. 

This is just one brief example of the elaborate web of information that can be revealed when we prioritize the surfacing of stories that had previously been hidden in our collections, increase access through digitization, and collaborate to research and promote the information within. 

As Marla Miller wrote in her letter of support for the NHPRC Archives Collaboratives grant:

“ We can hardly wait to learn— alongside the many other academic and avocational historians whose work will be enriched and transformed by these records—what else remains to be discovered. Once available in digital form, available for scouring by researchers with their own wide range of questions, these materials will certainly spark, inform, and enrich generations of new research, from student papers to dissertations to academic monographs. It is almost impossible to predict all the ways the volumes might reshape historiography, as well as conventional historical wisdom, because the contents at present are comparatively difficult to ferret out. But to be sure, these volumes have the potential to transform local and regional historical understanding, and once digitized, will certainly come to the attention of researchers nationwide.”

Click here to browse the Sylvester Judd Manuscript Collection on archive.org.

The Internet Archive and Community Webs are thankful for the support from the National Historical Publications & Records Commission for Collaborative Access to Diverse Public Library Local History Collections, which will digitize and provide access to a diverse range of local history archives that represent the experiences of immigrant, indigenous, and African American communities throughout the United States.

Book Talk: REPLAY by Jordan Mechner

From Prince of Persia to Replay: A video game creator’s family odyssey

Jordan Mechner (creator of “Prince of Persia”) shares his story as a pioneer in the fast-growing video game industry from the 1980s to today, and how his family’s back story as refugees from war-torn Europe led to his own multifaceted 4-decade creative career. Interweaving of past and present, family transmission, exile and renewal are at the heart of his award-winning graphic novel “Replay: Memoir of an Uprooted Family.”

For general audiences, including anyone interested in video game development, graphic novels, transmedia, or multigenerational family stories.

Book Talk: REPLAY
March 27 @ 10am PT / 1pm ET
Register now for the virtual event!

About REPLAY

1914. A teenage romantic heads to the enlistment ofice when his idyllic life in a Jewish enclave of the Austro-Hungarian Empire is shattered by World War I.

1938. A seven-year-old refugee begins a desperate odyssey through France, struggling to outrun the rapidly expanding Nazi regime and reunite with his family on the other side of the Atlantic.

2015. e creator of a world-famous video game franchise weighs the costs of uprooting his family and moving to France as the cracks in his marriage begin to grow.

Prince of Persia creator Jordan Mechner calls on the voices of his father and grandfather to weave a powerful story about the enduring challenge of holding a family together in the face of an ever-changing world.

REGISTER NOW

JORDAN MECHNER is an author, graphic novelist, game designer, and screenwriter. He created the video game Prince of Persia in 1989, rebooted it with Ubisot in 2003, and wrote the first screenplay for Disney’s 2010 film adaptation, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. His other games include Karateka and The Last Express. In 2017, he received the Pioneer Award from the International Game Developers Association. Jordan’s graphic novels as writer include the New York Times bestseller Templar (from First Second, with LeUyen Pham and Alex Puvilland), Monte Cristo (Mario Alberti), and Liberty (Etienne LeRoux). Replay is his first book as writer/artist.

Book Talk: REPLAY
March 27 @ 10am PT / 1pm ET
Register now for the virtual event!

Book Talk: The Secret Life of Data

How data surveillance, digital forensics, and generative AI pose new long-term threats and opportunities—and how we can use them to make better decisions in the face of technological uncertainty.

Book Talk: The Secret Life of Data
April 18 @ 10am PT / 1pm ET ONLINE
Register now!

“I have been waiting a long time for a clearly written book that cuts through the hype and describes how data—big and small, old and new—actually operate in our lives. Neither utopian nor dystopian, The Secret Life of Data just tells it like it is.”   
—Siva Vaidhyanathan, Professor of Media Studies, The University of Virginia; author of Antisocial Media and The Googlization of Everything (And Why We Should Worry)

In The Secret Life of Data, Aram Sinnreich and Jesse Gilbert explore the many unpredictable, and often surprising, ways in which data surveillance, AI, and the constant presence of algorithms impact our culture and society in the age of global networks. The authors build on this basic premise: no matter what form data takes, and what purpose we think it’s being used for, data will always have a secret life. How this data will be used, by other people in other times and places, has profound implications for every aspect of our lives—from our intimate relationships to our professional lives to our political systems.

REGISTER NOW

ABOUT OUR SPEAKERS

ARAM SINNREICH is an author, professor, and musician. He is Chair of Communication Studies at American University. His books include Mashed Up, The Piracy CrusadeThe Essential Guide to Intellectual Property, and A Second Chance for Yesterday (published as R. A. Sinn).

JESSE GILBERT is an interdisciplinary artist exploring the intersection of visual art, sound, and software design at his firm Dark Matter Media. He was the founding Chair of the Media Technology department at Woodbury University, and he has taught interactive software design at both CalArts and UC San Diego.

DR. LAURA DENARDIS is Professor and Endowed Chair in Technology, Ethics, and Society and Director of the Center for Digital Ethics at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.  Her book The Internet in Everything: Freedom and Security in a World with No Off Switch (Yale University Press) was recognized as a Financial Times Top Technology Book of 2020. Among her seven books, The Global War for Internet Governance (Yale University Press) is considered a definitive source for understanding cyber governance debates and solutions. Professor DeNardis is an affiliated Fellow of the Yale Information Society Project, where she previously served as Executive Director, and is a life Member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She holds engineering degrees and a PhD in Science and Technology Studies, and was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship from Yale Law School.

Book Talk: The Secret Life of Data
April 18 @ 10am PT / 1pm ET ONLINE
Register now!

Share Your Wayback Machine Impact Stories!

Have you ever used the Wayback Machine and witnessed the magic of internet time travel? We want to hear your stories of how web archives have made a positive impact on your life! Whether it’s preserving a cherished memory, aiding in research, or sparking a meaningful change – your stories matter!

Fill out our quick questionnaire and let us know how the Wayback Machine has left a mark on your digital journey: https://forms.gle/5DhDqNTLqxY41K3p6 

Your stories could inspire others and highlight the importance of preserving the web’s rich history. Let’s celebrate the incredible moments made possible by the Wayback Machine!

You may be wondering, “Will anyone actually read my submission?” YES! We appreciate your time in sharing your story. Submissions will be reviewed and may be included in upcoming social media posts and news stories. We put out a similar call last year and received hundreds of responses, which we turned into testimonials & blog posts to help people understand how our library is used. 

Community Webs Receives $750,000 Grant to Expand Community Archiving by Public Libraries

Started in 2017, our Community Webs program has over 175 public libraries and local cultural organizations working to build digital archives documenting the experiences of their communities, especially those patrons often underrepresented in traditional archives. Participating public libraries have created over 1,400 collections documenting local civic life totaling nearly 100 terabytes and tens of millions of individual documents, images, audio/video files, blogs, websites, social media, and more. You can browse many of these collections at the Community Webs website. Participants have also collaborated on digitization efforts to bring minority newspapers online, held public programming and outreach events, and formed local partnerships to help preservation efforts at other mission-aligned organizations. The program has conducted numerous workshops and national symposia to help public librarians gain expertise in digital preservation and cohort members have done dozens of presentations at professional conferences showcasing their work. In the past, Community Webs has received support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Mellon Foundation, the Kahle Austin Foundation, and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

We are excited to announce that Community Webs has received $750,000 in funding from The Mellon Foundation to continue expanding the program. The award will allow additional public libraries to join the program and will enable new and existing members to continue their web archiving collection building using our Archive-It service. In addition, the funding will also provide members access to Internet Archive’s new Vault digital preservation service, enabling them to build and preserve collections of any type of digital materials. Lastly, leveraging members’ prior success in local partnerships, Community Webs will now include an “Affiliates” program so member public libraries can nominate local nonprofit partners that can also receive access to archiving services and resources. Funding will also support the continuation of the program’s professional development training in digital preservation and community archiving and its overall cohort and community building activities of workshops, events, and symposia.

We thank The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for their generous support of Community Webs. We are excited to continue to expand the program and empower hundreds of public librarians to build archives that document the voices, lives, and events of their communities and to ensure this material is permanently available to patrons, students, scholars, and citizens.

Once Upon a Click: Librarian’s Fairy Tale Journey with the Internet Archive

Once upon a time, Liz Gotauco fell in love with fairy tales. That is, making videos while retelling them with some quirky twists.

Librarian Liz Gotauco, aka “Cosbrarian” across social media.

By day, Gotauco is a full-time public librarian in Rhode Island. On nights and weekends, she creates content for TikTok, Instagram and YouTube under the name Cosbrarian (a portmanteau of “cosplay” and “librarian”). Gotauco takes a traditional fairy tale or folk tale, writes her own scripts, and films herself telling it — often wearing costumes and using props to make it come alive.

To find the original fairy tales, many of which are in books that are out of print, Gotauco often uses the Internet Archive. She lists her more than 100 stories and sources on her website.

“It has been invaluable to me to have an easily accessible resource like the Internet Archive at my fingertips,” Gotauco said. “Sometimes I’m writing my content on the fly—but I don’t want my time constraints to compromise my research. Being able to quickly find a reputable source is such a gift, especially to those of us without academic library access.”

In her saucy, darker, and wilder versions of fairy tales for adult audiences, she weaves in humor and commentary. Gotauco likes to feature lesser-known folklore from a variety of cultures for her series, “Around the World in 80 Folk Tales.”  Many of these books are old and no longer on library shelves, but she often finds them at the Internet Archive.

“I was blown away that there was so much in the collection,” she said. Gotauco recently found Inuit folk tales and stories from Latin America that she adapted. Her online audience also requests stories from their home countries, and she is intentional about representation in her work.   

Once she discovers books in the Archive, Gotauco said she then sometimes buys a copy to add to her collection at home.

Follow Liz across social media:
TikTok
Instagram
YouTube

Gotauco started as a freelance content creator in 2021. It has almost become a part-time job, as she produces about two videos a week, which are available for free to viewers.

“The responses I’m most happy to get are when I make people laugh,” she said. “Especially since I started during the early pandemic, some people were like, “Wow, I just really needed to smile today and this did it for me.’”

Gotauco is busier these days, but plans to continue producing new content and hopes material continues to be available through the Archive to support her endeavor.

“Fairy tales have always been a part of my life. It’s been nice to indulge in that interest and find other people whose interests are the same,” said Gotauco, who has enjoyed tapping into her love for theater. “It’s partially a performance piece, as well as storytelling. I’ve been able to merge my two personas: the theater kid Liz and librarian Liz.”

Public Domain Day Celebrates Creative Works from 1928

Hundreds of people from all over the world gathered together on January 25 to honor the thousands of movies, plays, books, poems and songs that recently entered the U.S. public domain.

Steamboat Willie, Walt Disney’s 1928 animated film featuring Mickey Mouse, had top billing at the virtual event. Literature now free from restriction for reuse includes Orlando by Virginia Woolf and Tarzan Lord of the Jungle by Edgar R. Burroughs. Sound recordings from 1923 (released on a different schedule) joined the public domain such as ”Down Hearted Blues” by Bessie Smith and ”Who’s Sorry Now” by Isham Jones Orchestra.

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“There’s so much to rediscover and to celebrate,” said Jennifer Jenkins, director of the Center for the Study of the Public Domain at Duke Law School. For example, the release of The Great Gatsby into the public domain in 2021 inspired a creative flurry — new versions of the novel from the perspective of different characters, a prequel telling the backstory of Nick Caraway, a young adult remix, and song. “From the serious to the creative, to the whimsical to the wacky, these are all the great things we can do…now that [these works] are in the public domain and free to copy, to share, to digitize and to build upon without permission or fee.”

For an overview of new works in the public domain, view the curated list from the Center for the Public Domain.

Remix Contest

The winning film from the Public Domain Day 2024 Remix Contest was shown as well: “Sick on New Year’s,” by Ty Cummings. Every year since 2021, this contest has invited artists to remix works from its collection to showcase new and creative uses of public domain materials. Fifty films were submitted to this year’s competition, according to Amir Esfahania, artist in residence at the Archive. Learn more about the finalists or watch all the submissions in our recent blog post.

Advocacy

“Celebrating the public domain is not just about vintage references and period-appropriate clothing. It’s about understanding history to inform the present day,” said Lila Bailey, Internet Archive senior policy counsel and co-host of the virtual festivities. “We think there should be time set aside every year to celebrate the immense riches that free and open culture provides to everyone.”

While federal holiday recognition (like MLK Day or Presidents’ Day) for the public domain is unlikely, there was a discussion of an advocacy campaign for establishment of a commemorative Public Domain Day (more along the lines of National Data Privacy  Day or National Whistleblowers Day).

“It only requires a simple resolution in the Senate with high chances of recognition,” said Amanda Levendowski, director of Georgetown Law School’s Intellectual Property and Information Policy Clinic. “Prospects for passage are way better than possible. About 80 percent of proposals are passed — and maybe next year, Public Domain Day will be among them.”

Experts said a successful drive for the designation will require a collaborative effort. A kickoff event will be held February 29 in New York City, hosted by Library Futures, executive director Jennie-Rose Halperin announced.

AI and the Public Domain

The online program also featured a panel discussion on generative artificial intelligence, copyright and artist expression. Experts weighed in on just what should be the copyright status of the outputs of generative AI.

Panelists (clockwise from top left): Lila Bailey (Internet Archive), Heather Timm (artist), Maxximillian (artist), Matthew Sag (Emory Law), and Juliana Castro Varón (Cita Press).

Now, AI tools can turn text or simple descriptions into images that are  genuinely new and often look like exactly the kind of things that people get copyrighted if a human made them, explained Matthew Sag, professor of law, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data science at Emory University.

“The copyright office is quite clear that to get copyright, you have to have human authorship. So something created entirely by an unsupervised machine is not eligible for copyright,” Sag said, noting that the courts have recently agreed. “The interesting question is what about when humans are using AI as a tool and directing the output. This is where the controversy really is.”

On the panel, two artists, Heather Timm and Maxximillian, shared how they both leverage AI in the creative process.

Timm said she started using generative AI in 2021 and thinks the copyright office should cover works that have results from it. She has trained AI models on her own physical work and then created something new collaborating with the machine, as well as conceptualized how to blend different pieces of work in a collage or sculpture.  

“I use it almost as a notebook,” Timm said. “If I have a concept or an idea about something on the go, I can immediately prompt that and have it as a placeholder to explore it later.”

As a filmmaker and musician, Maxximillian said she feels passionate about AI and it has saved her time creating animated characters and helping refine her text. “As a professional artist, I rely on copyright to keep viable the works that I produce for clients legally,” said Maxximillian. “It’s important to understand that copyright protection enables the creator to be a steward of that work. The question to consider: Who benefits by denying copyright on AI? I think nobody benefits.”

An open access publisher, Juliana Castro Varón, design director and founder of Cita Press, also addressed the issue. “I believe that AI may pose economic, power, and labor challenges, but I feel very confident that creativity will survive technology,” she said. All books Cita produces are in the public domain for everyone to download. “We are not at all against people using AI for their work, but we continue to hire humans…elevating the work of people is core to our mission.”

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The event was co-hosted by Internet Archive and Library Futures with support from Creative Commons, Authors Alliance, Public Knowledge, SPARC and Duke Law’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain.

Lights, Camera, Victory! Public Domain Day 2024 Remix Contest Winners Revealed

After sifting through a sea of talent and creativity, we are thrilled to present the cinematic achievements of three winners and two honorable mentions in our Public Domain Day 2024 Remix Contest. These winning entries not only captivated our imaginations, but also showcased the immense power of remixing, reimagining, and breathing new life into public domain works.

View the winning entries & honorable mentions below. Rick Prelinger, noted film archivist, helped judge the competition and offers why each film was selected for recognition.

Browse all submissions (52!) at the Public Domain Day Remix Contest collection at the Internet Archive.

First Place: “Sick on New Year’s” by Ty Cummings

Found-footage filmmaking is all about taking material that might have almost-sacred status and, well, bringing it back down to earth. We find this film worthy of our first prize because of its irreverent humor and skilled editing, its playful predictions of the future, and because it points to the limitless opportunities that a constantly-refreshed public domain offers makers in all media.

Second Place: “Keaton and Kaufman: The Cameramen” by Max Teeth

This film brings together two characters who will be familiar to people who love films, characters that lived and worked very far away from one another and did deeply different work, but might perhaps have more in common with one another than we might think. We see it as a poetic piece, a loving tribute to some of the people who put the motion in motion pictures.

Third Place: “Just Like a Hollywood Star” by Timothy Johnson

Our 3rd prize winner is a rich montage of sound and picture, focusing on images that model beauty, fitness, posture, proper behavior, and the laws of physics. We like this film’s uninhibited reach and its draw from wildly disparate material, often pretty predictable, to produce an unpredictable result.

Honorable Mention, Historical Perspective: “A Member of the Family” by Lizzy Tolentino

Combining government-produced films, family home movies and an unusual sponsored film by a world-famous company, this filmmaker makes a chilling statement about the gap between the promise of our society and the reality of 20th-century history. The public domain is a record of both proud achievements and disturbing histories, and we feel this film exemplified the potential of the public domain to reveal histories that some might prefer to be kept silent.

Honorable Mention, Quirkiest Film: “Domain” by Cullen J. Sanchez

Sometimes you just have to recognize the unusual. But this unusual film makes a critical point about the public domain — that WE are the public domain, and the public domain is us. Take it away! “It’s us. It’s all of us.”