DWeb Meetup May 2021 — NFTs: Hope or Hype of Art?

At the May 2021 DWeb Meetup, we heard from three artists and a technologist each involved with NFTs or Nonfungible Tokens. They offer differing perspectives about the potential and pitfalls of this new technological boom.

Watch the recording of the event, find an in-depth NFT Reading List and learn more about the speakers below.

Why is it everywhere you turn, you see a new notice about NFTs or Non-Fungible Tokens?

NFTs certify the provenance of digital artifacts by tying them to a blockchain. That verification enables owners of the work to auction them off to the highest bidders. From digital artworks auctioned in galleries to Jack Dorsey’s first tweet, these verifiable objects are going for tens of millions of dollars in cryptocurrency.

But at what cost?

Enthusiasts say this is groundbreaking for digital artists who will finally have a way to sell their art and make a living from their work. Critics say that NFTs are worthless at best and destructive at worst.

Will NFTs change our access to culture online?
Are NFTs sustainable or secure in our decentralized infrastructure?
Are NFTs and blockchains as a whole a threat to our environment?

On May 4, we gathered technologists, artists, and leaders in the art world to discuss the pros and cons of this new technological boom. Watch the video to see how an NFT is made and visit a virtual reality environment made up entirely of NFTs. You’ll meet a technologist/artist who explains why not all NFTs are created equally or have the same environmental impact. And you’ll learn why creating an NFT doesn’t guarantee the media will persist forever.

WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT NFTs?
We’ve compiled this reading list for you to dive in.

You can also read the chat stream that accompanied the discussion here.

SPEAKER BIOS

Image of Jin (Twitter: @dankvr)

Jin (above) is a hacker artist and VR dev exploring the convergence of web, gaming, social networks, and decentralization. After having read Snow Crash, he’s been obsessed with Metaverse engineering. He is currently building the Webaverse.

Image of Molly Mackinlay (Twitter: @momack28)

Molly Mackinlay (above) leads Protocol Lab’s design and development teams for the IPFS Project (a peer-to-peer network and protocol designed to make the web faster, safer, and more open), the Filecoin Network’s lotus implementation (a distributed storage marketplace to preserve humanity’s information), and libp2p (a modular p2p networking library used by IPFS, Filecoin, and Ethereum).

Image of Ruth Catlow of Furtherfield (Twitter: @furtherfield)

Ruth Catlow (above) is an artist, curator, and co-founder, co-director of Furtherfield, a community and network for arts, technology and social change since 1997. Furtherfield’s public gallery and lab venues in London, provide a physical interface for exhibitions, events and workshops. Their online hub provides a forum for exchange, collaboration and critical review for international artists, technologists and activists to strengthen the expressive and democratic potential of shared techno-social landscape.

Image of Sarah Friend (Twitter: @Isthisanart_)

Sarah Friend (above) is an artist and software engineer, specializing in blockchain and the p2p web. She is a participant in the Berlin Program for Artists, a co-curator of Ender Gallery, an artist residency taking place inside the game Minecraft, an alumni of Recurse Centre, and an organiser of Our Networks, a conference on all aspects of the distributed web.

Visit GetDWeb.net to learn more about the decentralized web. You can also follow us on Twitter at @GetDWeb for ongoing updates.

Challenges and Opportunities in Canadian Copyright Reform

Map of Canada

The Government of Canada recently agreed to extend its copyright term by twenty years. This is a great loss for the public domain; among other things, this term extension means that the public domain will not be refreshed in Canada for decades. Fortunately, the Government of Canada is exploring various ways to mitigate this loss. Internet Archive Canada was pleased to submit its views—based on its own experiences working with the public domain in Canada—on the best way to do so.

Internet Archive Canada has been working with Canadian libraries, patrons, and others for over fifteen years in support of the mission to provide Universal Access to all Knowledge. Over that time frame we’ve digitized more than 650,000 books, micro-reproductions, and a variety of other archival materials. Today, Internet Archive Canada has a substantial collection focused on Canadian cultural heritage and historical government publications. Along with our partners, we’ve made a significant investment in and contribution to the accessibility of Canadian digital heritage. 

For example, you may have heard of Canada’s Group of Seven, groundbreaking Canadian landscape painters that have also been known as the Algonquin School. The Group and related artists were active in the early part of the twentieth century, meaning that much of their work is already in the public domain. As a result, substantial efforts have been made by a number of institutions to digitize and make their work more broadly available. And there are a fair number of these kinds of materials in Internet Archive’s collections, such as works by and about Emily Carr and Lawren Harris. Many of these are either in the public domain or were expected to enter it soon. For example, as Lawren Harris died in 1970, under Canada’s current life+50 copyright term his works should be entering the public domain now. But under the new proposal to extend that term to life+70 years, we’d be another twenty years away. 

Emily Carr's Kitwancool

Emily Carr, Kitwancool, 1928

In order to mitigate the harm caused by this extension, the Government of Canada is considering allowing some use of older works that will be kept from the public domain—especially by libraries like us. And while the exact parameters are at this point uncertain, we applaud the Government’s careful attention to this matter and inquiry to stakeholders like us. 

As we emphasize in our letter, it is important that rules which allow for use of older works in theory make sense in practice. Oftentimes they do not, as the experience in the United States has shown. When the United States implemented its own copyright term extension, it allowed libraries and certain others to use works in the last twenty years of their copyright term—similar to what Canada is proposing—but only if they met certain onerous requirements. Internet Archive undertook substantial work to try to make use of these provisions—including a substantial amount of time with a professional researcher and several interns—but was only able to identify about sixty works that qualified. Subsequent work has raised that number to a few hundred, but the bottom line is that this is needlessly hard work. That is why, as we highlighted in our comments, we believe that it is important that Canada’s mitigating measures not impose onerous restrictions on use. 

That said, we are optimistic about the future in Canada. Canada has a long tradition of respect for library and user rights, with an engaged academic and library community, and the Government’s proposals include some very good ideas. We look forward to continuing to work with the Government of Canada and all our Canadian friends and neighbors to ensure good copyright policy and strong libraries in the 21st century and beyond.

Event Recap: Why Trust a Corporation to Do a Library’s Job?

Although people are increasingly turning to Google to search for information, a corporate search engine is not the same as a trusted librarian. And while libraries are used to buying and preserving books, they are now often unable to buy and own digital materials because of publisher licensing restrictions.

The tension between the interests of business and the public was the focus of a conversation hosted by the Internet Archive and Library Futures on April 28. Wendy Hanamura moderated the event with guest panelists Joanne McNeil, author of Lurking: How a Person Became a User; Darius Kazemi, an internet artist and cofounder of Feel Train, a creative technology cooperative in Portland, Oregon; and Jennie Rose Halperin, executive director of Library Futures.

A recording of the event is now available:

Doing an online Google search can feel private because you are doing it alone at home, but corporations are accumulating your information and using it, said McNeil. The tools involved are imperfect and there are trade-offs involved.

“The experiences that a user has on the internet can be quite profound, creative, and very human,” McNeil said. “But to participate with a lot of the social media and websites, especially nowadays, you are dealing with corporations and you don’t have the elements of control.”

In Lurking, McNeil traces the evolution of the internet and how it has profoundly changed the way people communicate. She also examines concerns that people have online including privacy, safety, identity and anonymity. In the book, McNeil contrasts the short-term memories of companies with the preservation mission and public accountability of libraries.

Kazemi noted that working with librarians on research there is an understanding of privacy—something that is lacking when engaging online. “It’s a totally different accountability chain,” he said.

Rather than giving your personal information away on a social media network, Kazemi advocates having individuals or even libraries maintain small, independently-run online communities (see https://runyourown.social).

“Facebook can’t understand norms of what passes for civic discourse in every location on the planet. It’s impossible,” Kazemi said. “Libraries already spend time thinking about the norms of their communities,” making it natural to have content moderation at the local level.

Halperin said it’s important for public libraries to have autonomy to be able to fulfill their mission. Her work with the nonprofit Library Futures centers on advocacy for an equitable publishing ecosystem that serves authors, users and communities.

“Artificial scarcity that’s put on digital objects—as a way to create a market for digital books—is really hurting the public,” she said. “I think it’s one of the most important consumer protection issues right now.”

McNeil said the best thing to happen to her, as an author, is for people to read her book. Whether buying or borrowing from a library (in print or electronically), she wants to reach the largest audience.

The panelists said by working together, libraries can provide tools that reflect the public’s values and teach users smart digital citizenship. When corporations control what people have access to in searching, they are embedding bias into the distribution of information, said Halperin. “Libraries must engage in more than just individual information seeking needs, but also in the information seeking needs of communities.”

Getting Started at the Internet Archive

So you’ve created an Internet Archive account—now what? Your account serves as a digital library card that lets you engage with our collections in unique ways. While our resources can always be accessed for free without signing in, having an account gives you some special abilities as you begin exploring the archive. Here are a few ways to get started!

Borrow Books

Most of the books in our collection are from before 1925 and can be freely read, downloaded, and shared. Your account, however, gives you access to more modern books as well—millions of works that can be checked out for an hour at a time and renewed for as long as you need, depending on availability. Here’s a handy guide to using our Lending Library! 

Upload Materials 

While many of our resources come from our library partners, our ongoing digitization programs, or even government agencies, millions of items in the Internet Archive are uploaded by everyday users. Whether you’ve got old photos, ephemeral videos, historic yearbooks, preserved Flash animations, or episodes of a podcast, your Internet Archive account gives you a place to store them. Here’s how to get started with uploading

Play Favorites

Is there something in the archive you keep coming back to again and again? The Favorites feature lets you mark your preferred items and collections for future reference—simply click the star underneath any item to save it to your profile.

You can also use your archive.org account to leave reviews on the items that you come across. If you want to share your love for a specific 78 or classic film, simply click “Add Review” at the bottom of the item page!

And More

Your Internet Archive account also allows you to:

Sign up for email newsletters and control what types of email you get (simply adjust your Account Settings)

-Post questions and messages to the Internet Archive forums

-Edit or delete items you have previously uploaded

-Archive “outlinks” of Web pages with the Wayback Machine’s Save Page Now feature

-Save archived Web pages to a public “My web archives” page

Start Exploring

Whether you’re interested in audiobooks, vintage video games, live concert recordings, or ancient manuscripts, the Internet Archive has something for everybody. Read this article for some more collections to check out—or just start exploring from the front page

We’re glad that you’ve joined our community and hope you find it useful. Enjoy the archive!

Internet Archive Launches New Pilot Program for Interlibrary Loan

Photo by Alfons Morales on Unsplash

The pandemic has resulted in a renewed focus on resource sharing among libraries. In addition to joining resource sharing organizations like the Boston Library Consortium, the Internet Archive has started to participate in the longstanding library practice of interlibrary loan (ILL). 

Internet Archive is now making two million monographs and three thousand periodicals in its physical collections available for non-returnable fulfillment through a pilot program with RapidILL, a prominent ILL coordination service. To date, more than seventy libraries have added the Internet Archive to their reciprocal lending list, and Internet Archive staff are responding to, on average, twenty ILL requests a day. If your library would like to join our pilot in Rapid, please reach out to Mike Richins at Mike.Richins@exlibrisgroup.com and request that Internet Archive be added to your library’s reciprocal lending list.

If there are other resource sharing efforts that we should investigate as we pilot our ILL service, please reach out to Brewster Kahle at brewster@archive.org.

Introducing 50+ New Public Library Members of the Internet Archive’s Community Webs Program

The Internet Archive’s Community Webs Program provides training and education, infrastructure and services, and professional community cultivation for public librarians across the country to document their local history and the lives of their patrons. Following our recent announcement of the program’s national expansion, with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, we are excited to welcome the first class of 50+ new public libraries to the program. This brings the current number of new and returning Community Webs participants to 90+ libraries from 33 states and 3 US territories. This diverse group of organizations includes multiple state libraries representing their regions, as well as a mix of large metropolitan library systems, small libraries in rural areas, and libraries like the Feleti Barstow Public Library in American Samoa. All will be working to document their communities, with a particular focus on archiving materials from traditionally underrepresented groups.

The new cohort class kicked off with virtual introductory events in mid-March, where participants met one another and shared stories about their communities and their goals for preserving and providing access to local history materials. Member libraries are currently receiving training in topics such as collection development and starting to build digital collections that reflect local diversity, events, and culture.

Program participant Kathleen Pickering, Director of the Belen Public Library and Harvey House Museum in Belen, New Mexico notes that their library “is committed to free and open-source electronic resources for our patrons, especially given the low-income status of many of our residents” and Community Webs will help further that goal. Similarly, new cohort member Aaron Ramirez of Pueblo City-County Library District (PCCLD) found Community Webs to be a great fit for existing institutional goals and initiatives. “PCCLD’s five-year strategic plan directs us to embrace local cultures, to include individuals of all skill levels and physical abilities, and to enrich established partnerships and collaborations. The groups that have not seen themselves in our archives will find through this project PCCLD’s intention and means to listen and go forward as allies and as a resource of support, rather than an institution serving only the affluent.”

Makiba J. Foster

Makiba J. Foster, Manager of The African American Research Library and Cultural Center of Broward County, Florida pointed out that “as content becomes increasingly digital, we need this opportunity to document the digital life and content of our community which includes a diverse representation of the Black Diaspora.”  Makiba was a member of the original Community Webs cohort in a previous position at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at New York Public Library, and recently presented on her work archiving the black diaspora to a group of more than 200 attendees.

The Community Webs Program is continuing to grow towards the milestone of over 150 participating libraries across the United States and will soon announce another call for applicants for a U.S. cohort starting in late summer. The program also is beginning to expand internationally, starting in Canada, exploring the addition of other types of libraries and cultural heritage organizations, and expanding its suite of training and services available to participants. Expect more news on these initiatives soon. 

Welcome to our new cohort of Community Webs libraries! The full list of new members: 

  • Alamogordo Public Library (New Mexico)
  • Amelia Island Museum of History (Florida)
  • ART | library deco (Texas)
  • Asbury Park Public Library (New Jersey)
  • Atlanta History Center (Georgia)
  • Bartholomew County Public Library (Indiana)
  • Bedford Public Library System (Virginia)
  • Belen Public Library and Harvey House Museum (New Mexico)
  • Bensenville Community Public Library (Illinois)
  • Biblioteca Municipal Aurea M. Pérez (Puerto Rico)
  • Carbondale Public Library (Illinois)
  • Cedar Mill & Bethany Community Libraries (Oregon)
  • Charlotte Mecklenburg Library (North Carolina)
  • Chicago Public Library (Illinois)
  • City Archives & Special Collections, New Orleans Public Library (Louisiana)
  • Dayton Metro Library (Ohio)
  • Elba Public Library (Alabama)
  • Essex Library Association (Connecticut)
  • Everett Public Library (Washington)
  • Feleti Barstow Public Library (American Samoa)
  • Forsyth County Public Library (North Carolina)
  • Hartford History Center, Hartford Public Library (Connecticut)
  • Heritage Public Library (Virginia)
  • Huntsville-Madison County Public Library (Alabama)
  • James Blackstone Memorial Library (Connecticut)
  • Jefferson Parish Library (Louisiana)
  • Jefferson-Madison Regional Library (Virginia)
  • Laramie County Library System (Wyoming)
  • Lawrence Public Library (Massachusetts)
  • Los Angeles Public Library (California)
  • Mill Valley Public Library, Lucretia Little History Room (California)
  • Missoula Public Library (Montana)
  • Niagara Falls Public Library (New York)
  • Pueblo City-County Library District (Colorado)
  • Rochester Public Library (New York)
  • Santa Cruz Public Libraries (California)
  • South Pasadena Public Library (California)
  • State Library of Pennsylvania (Pennsylvania)
  • Tangipahoa Parish Library (Louisiana)
  • The African American Research Library and Cultural Center (Florida)
  • The Ferguson Library (Connecticut)
  • Three Rivers Public Library District (Illinois)
  • Virginia Beach Public Library (Virginia)
  • Waltham Public Library (Massachusetts)
  • Watsonville Public Library (California)
  • West Virginia Library Commission (West Virginia)
  • William B Harlan Memorial Library (Kentucky)
  • Worcester Public Library (Massachusetts)
  • Your Heritage Matters (North Carolina)

A New Short Film Gives Us a Poetic Look at the Internet Archive

What remains of the initial hope that digitization and Internet technology can contribute to human emancipation and a more just future? Today, surveillance scandals, dominance by a few mega-corporations, and hollow egocentricity increasingly dominate our perception of the digital world. But these negative trends are challenged by independent actors who vehemently defend the early dream of a free Internet. I believe the Internet Archive is one of the important institutions in this fight.

Recently, we had the pleasure of hosting two amazing emerging artists who created a work of art with these ideals in mind. Thomas Georg Blank from Germany, and Işık Kaya from Turkey are an artistic duo who spent several days at our San Francisco headquarters creating their own archive of visual and sound recordings. Blank and Kaya bring together text, video, and audio fragments to form a composition showing that, in the right hands, the Internet does not have to become an instrument of surveillance and control, but, on the contrary, can be graceful and divine.

Their short film, When looking at stones i get sucked into deep time, when looking at my harddrive i’m afraid that it will break, poetically interprets the Internet Archive’s headquarters in San Francisco.

Here is the film, available here on archive.org and embedded below:

More About the Artists

Thomas Georg Blank, born 1990 in Germany, was first trained in cultural and media education focusing on photography before studying Visual Arts in Karlsruhe and Mexico City. He currently lives in Darmstadt and San Diego and has participated in exhibitions in galleries and museums, including Hek Basel, Historisches Museum Frankfurt, Kunsthalle Darmstadt, Blue Star Contemporary and C/O Berlin. His works won many awards and he has been a scholar of DAAD at Uinversity of California San Diego’s Center for Human Imagination.

Moving between research and speculative interpretations, Blank explores how spatial and habitual representations of individual and collective imagination affect the world we are living in, and vice versa. By creating multidirectional, spatial narratives he offers spectators a space to reconfigure and change of their perspectives.

www.thomasgeorgblank.de

@thomas_g_blank

Işık Kaya was born in Turkey and currently lives in the USA, where she is pursuing an MFA in Visual Arts at the University of California, San Diego. In recent years, her work has been featured internationally in art institutions and was shortlisted and won awards in many competitions and festivals. She holds a BA degree in Photography and Videography from Bilgi University and had worked for major art galleries, museums, and publications in Istanbul before moving to California.

Space plays a crucial role in both the practice and thinking of Işık Kaya. Her lens-based practice explores the ways in which humans shape contemporary landscape. In her work, she focuses on traces of economic infrastructures to examine power dynamics in built environments. By framing her subjects exclusively at night, she accentuates the artificial and uncanny qualities of urban landscapes.

www.isikkaya.com

@ayakkisi

DWeb Meetup March 2021: Latest in the DWeb Ecosystem

The March 2021 DWeb Meetup featured a presentation by Marta Belcher, Board Chair of the new Filecoin Foundation (FF) & Filecoin Foundation for the Decentralized Web (FFDW). The mission of the FFDW is to ensure the permanent preservation of humanity’s most important information by stewarding the development of open-source software and open protocols for decentralized data storage and retrieval networks. Her presentation begins at 06:30.

We also heard the latest from nine other projects across the DWeb Ecosystem:

STACKS — Co-Founder, Muneeb Ali, shared lessons from the five years leading up to the Stacks 2.0 main net launch in January. Stacks enables you to build decentralized apps and smart contracts on top of Bitcoin. Muneeb’s presentation begins at 26:21.

JOLOCOMKai Wagner from the Berlin-based Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI) firm is part of two winning teams in a 48M Euro German innovation competition to build the SDI Projects. Jolocom shared how developers can integrate into their platform-agnostic SSI technology to reach millions of EU citizens across 40 use cases poised to scale. Kai’s presentation begins at 37:14.

KEYKO.IODimitri De Jonghe presented the Keyko project’s “Arts Progression Now” to onboard, build and deploy Web3 solutions that empower artists. This entails leveraging the power of decentralization, blockchain and tokens to explore new value paradigms for artists. Dimitri’s presentation begins at 51:46.

DISCO PROJECT Irene López de Vallejo presented DisCO’s approach to people working together to create value in ways that are cooperative, commons-oriented and rooted in feminist economics. DisCOs are amplified by the power of Distributed Ledger/Blockchain technologies, harnessing the utility of tech without being completely tech-centric. Irene’s presentation begins at 1:00:20.

PLANETARY.SOCIAL — The decentralized social media app built on the Secure Scuttlebutt Protocol launched in January 2021. Founder Evan Henshaw-Plath discussed what it took to launch a design-focused DWeb social media app. Evan’s presentation begins at 1:07:12.

SKYNET — Decentralized storage for everyone built on the Sia blockchain network. Evangelist Daniel Helm & VP Manasi Vora showed us how developers can take advantage of decentralized storage and web applications, without any of the headaches. Daniel and Manasi’s presentation begins at 1:14:30.

DISTRIBUTED PRESS — Founder Benedict Lau & team have built an open-source tool to help everyone publish to the distributed web. This publishing tool makes it easy for creators to seed content to DWeb ecosystems from IPFS, Hypercore and beyond. Benedict’s presentation begins at 1:22:10.

COMPOST MAG — Founder Mai Ishikawa Sutton & the COMPOST Magazine team have just launched their first edition of a magazine highlighting the best of the digital commons. Available both over the World Wide Web and the DWeb, COMPOST is an experiment in new forms of collaboration, payment, and creative publishing. Mai’s presentation begins at 1:28:36.

DWEB PRINCIPLES “ROAST & TOAST”John Ryan & Mauve hosted our first “roast and toast” — applauding a project for its alignment with DWeb principles and prodding it toward areas of improvement. With gentle humor and abundant goodwill, we tested COMPOST against the values we all aspire to. This segment begins at 1:36:50.

The Librarian’s Copyright Companion Goes Open Access

As a law librarian and author, Ben Keele wants to share his expertise on copyright with as many people as possible.

His book, The Librarian’s Copyright Companion, 2nd edition (William S. Hein, 2012), coauthored with James Heller and Paul Hellyer, covers restrictions on use of copyrighted materials, library exemptions, fair use, and licensing issues for digital media.  (Heller wrote the first edition in 2004.) The authors recently regained rights to the book in order to make it open access. So after years of being available through controlled digital lending (CDL) at the Internet Archive, the book is now available under the Creative Commons Attribution license (CC BY 4.0), which means that anyone is free to share and adapt the work, as long as they provide attribution, link to the license, and indicate if changes were made.

“Nearly 10 years had passed. It’s probably been commercially exploited to the point that it will be,” Keele said. “This is what I would suggest to any faculty member. It’s sold what it will, and the publisher got the money it deserved, so we asked for the copyright back.”

To arrange the transfer of rights, Keele followed the Author’s Alliance’s advice. The California-based nonprofit provided a guide to rights reversions that he said made the process smooth and involved simple signatures by all parties. His publisher, William S. Hein & Co., was in agreement, as long as the authors were willing to give it first right of refusal for a 3rd edition.

The Librarian’s Copyright Companion, 2nd Edition, now available via CC BY license.

Keele said he believes copyright is overly protective and he would advise others to do the same and make their works openly available.

“In academia, the currency is attention,” Keele said. “For me, it’s a very small statement. Copyright did for me what it needed to do: it provided an incentive for the publisher to be willing to market and produce the book. I think we achieved the monetary value we were looking for. At that point, I feel like the bargain that I’m getting from copyright has been fulfilled. We don’t need to wait until 70 years after I die for people to be able to read it freely.”

To balance the pervasive messaging from publishers about authors’ rights, this book emphasizes the aspect of copyright law that favors users’ interests, said coauthor Paul Hellyer, reference librarian at William & Mary Law Library.

“There aren’t many people who are advocating for users’ rights and a more robust interpretation of fair use,” Hellyer said. “Librarians are one of the few groups of people who can do that in an organized way. That was our main motivation for writing this book. With that in mind, we are very excited to now have an open source book that anyone can just download. That’s very much in line with our view of how we should think about copyright protection—it should be for a limited period.”

The authors have also uploaded the book into the institutional repositories at their home institutions, where it is also being offered for free.

Keele has long been a fan of the Internet Archive. In his work as a librarian at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, he often uses the Wayback Machine to verify citations and check to see how websites have changed over time—frequently saving him research time. He says he was pleased to be able to contribute his work to the Internet Archive to be accessible more broadly.

Added Keele: “There’s so much bad information out there that’s free. Having some good information that is also free, I think is important.”

Internet Archive Joins Boston Library Consortium

Cross-posted from the Boston Library Consortium web site.

The Boston Library Consortium (BLC) has welcomed the Internet Archive as its newest affiliate member – joining 19 other libraries in the BLC’s network working on innovative solutions that enrich the creation, dissemination and preservation of knowledge.  

The Internet Archive, the non-profit library which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, has large physical, born-digital and digitized collections serving a global user base. The Internet Archive’s history with the BLC goes back to the formation of the Open Content Alliance, through which the member libraries committed $845,000 to begin digitizing out-of-copyright books from their collections in 2007.

As part of the affiliate membership, the Internet Archive will participate in many of the BLC’s programs, including the consortium’s membership communities and professional development initiatives. The BLC will also pilot an expansion of its resource sharing program, allowing faculty, students, and scholars across the membership to tap into the Internet Archive’s vast digital collection through inter-library lending of non-returnables.

“Resource sharing is core to the mission and purpose of the Boston Library Consortium,” said Anne Langley, president of the BLC and dean of the UConn Library. “We are enthusiastic about leveraging our shared expertise to mobilize the digital collections that the Internet Archive stewards.”

For Brewster Kahle, founder and digital librarian of the Internet Archive, this membership builds on a longstanding partnership with the BLC. “We love the BLC and its libraries,” said Kahle. “We’ve been working with the BLC and its member libraries as we have digitized our collections for more than ten years. Being welcomed into the consortium will enable further and closer collaboration between this forward-looking collective of libraries.”

Charlie Barlow, executive director of the BLC, who worked to bring the Internet Archive into the consortium, said the BLC recognizes the value of extending its reach. “The BLC is thinking about new mechanisms upon which we can share knowledge,” said Barlow. “The events of the past year only reinforced our belief that the more we can draw on digital resources, the more effectively we can serve our membership and the scholarly community.”

About the Boston Library Consortium

Founded in 1970, the BLC is an academic library consortium serving public and private universities, liberal arts colleges, state and special research libraries in New England. The BLC members collaborate to deliver innovative and cost-effective sharing of print and digital content, professional development initiatives, and projects across a wide range of library practice areas.

About the Internet Archive

The Internet Archive is one of the largest libraries in the world and home of the Wayback Machine, a repository of 475 billion web pages. Founded in 1996 by Internet Hall of Fame member Brewster Kahle, the Internet Archive now serves more than 1.5 million patrons each day, providing access to 70+ petabytes of data—books, web pages, music, television and software—and working with more than 800 library and university partners to create a digital library, accessible to all.