Will There Be Libraries in 25 Years?  | Time

“But just as the Web increased people’s access to information exponentially, an opposite trend has evolved. Global media corporations—emboldened by the expansive copyright laws they helped craft and the emerging technology that reaches right into our reading devices—are exerting absolute control over digital information. These two conflicting forces—towards unfettered availability and completely walled access to information—have defined the last 25 years of the Internet. How we handle this ongoing clash will define our civic discourse in the next 25 years. If we fail to forge the right path, publishers’ business models could eliminate one of the great tools for democratizing society: our independent libraries.

These are not small mom-and-pop publishers: a handful of publishers dominate all books sales and distribution including trade books, ebooks, and text books. Right now, these corporate publishers are squeezing libraries in ways that may render it impossible for any library to own digital texts in five years, let alone 25. Soon, librarians will be reduced to customer service reps for a Netflix-like rental catalog of bestsellers. If that comes to pass, you might as well replace your library card with a credit card. That’s what these billion-dollar-publishers are pushing.


The libraries I grew up with would buy books, preserve them, and lend them for free to their patrons. If my library did not have a particular book, then it would borrow a copy from another library for me. In the shift from print to digital, many commercial publishers are declaring each of these activities illegal: they refuse libraries the right to buy ebooks, preserve ebooks, or lend ebooks. They demand that libraries license ebooks for a limited time or for limited uses at exorbitant prices, and some publishers refuse to license audiobooks or ebooks to libraries at all, making those digital works unavailable to hundreds of millions of library patrons….”

Celebrating 25 Years of Preserving the Web – The Scholarly Kitchen

This week, the Internet Archive is celebrating its 25th anniversary of its first crawl of the world-wide-web and its first snapshot of our collective digital lives. Since the first crawl, the scale of the Internet Archive’s collection was grown astoundingly. Its regular snapshots of the internet have grown to comprise some 588 billion web pages in total. So much flourishes on the internet; both the amazing and the frightening, the mundane and the radical. The Internet Archive preserves it all. While most know of its work capturing and preserving snapshots of the internet, the Internet Archive also preserves an amazing amount of our digital heritage. The Archive has digitized and archived more than 28 million books and texts, 14 million audio recordings, 6 million video recordings, 3.5 million images and more than a half million software programs.

Archivists Create a Searchable Index of 107 Million Science Articles

“The General Index is here to serve as your map to human knowledge. Pulled from 107,233,728 journal articles, The General Index is a searchable collection of keywords and short sentences from published papers that can serve as a map to the paywalled domains of scientific knowledge.

In full, The General Index is a massive 38 terabyte archive of searchable terms. Compressed, it comes to 8.5 terabytes. It can be pulled directly from archive.org, which can be a difficult and lengthy process. People on the /r/DataHoarder subreddit have uploaded the data to a remote server and are spreading it across BitTorrent. You can help by grabbing a seed here.

The General Index does not contain the entirety of the journal articles it references, simply the keywords and n-grams—a string of simple phrases containing a keyword—that make tracking down a specific article easier. “This is an early release of the general index, a work in progress,” Carl Malamud, the founder of Public.Resource.org and co-creator of the General Index, said in a video about the archive. “In some cases text extraction failed, sometimes metadata is not available or is perhaps incorrect while the underlying corpus is large, it is not complete and it is not up to date.”…”

Scholarly journals should use “Archived on” instead of “Accessed on” | chem-bla-ics

“Publishing habits changes very slowly, too slowly. The whole industry is incredibly inert, which can lead to severe frustration as it did for me. But sometimes small changes can do so much. 

Linkrot, the phenomenon that URLs are not persistent, has been studied, including the in scholarly settings (see 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2008, 2014, 2015, 2000, 2021, and probably many more). Indeed, scholarly publishers started introducing the following: URLs should be accompanied with an “accessed on” statement. Indeed, you can find this in many bibliographic formatting standards.

Indeed, this must change, and we already have a solution since 1996: the Internet Archive (tho the archive goes back much longer). I call all publishers to change their “Accessed on” to “Archived on”. Two simpel solutions that can compliment each other:

Authors archive upon submission

This solution is simply introduced by updating author guidelines. Surely it will take a bit of time for bibliography software to be updated, and for the time being we still write “Accessed on” until there is proper support of “Archived on”.

Journals archive upon acceptance…

BTW, projects like Wikipedia have automated the process of archiving URLs and I see no reason why publishers could not do this.”

[Publisher response to Internet Archive motion for discovery]

“Plaintiffs have produced a vast wealth of detailed sales and related financial data concerning the Works in Suit, totaling over 670,000 rows of data in Excel. Now, after the close of document discovery and on the eve of depositions, IA seeks to compel the production of “commercial performance data,” broken down by month, distribution channel, price and income, for all other books published by the Plaintiffs since 2011 – an undertaking that would involve a massive amount of data concerning more than 500,000 titles. And IA makes this extraordinary demand in order to rifle through an enormous reservoir of highly proprietary data concerning books that are not the Works in Suit, all in an effort to somehow select “for each work in suit, one or more comparable books that were not available for digital lending” on IA’s system. Dkt. 47, 2. In other words, because the significant financial data already provided concerning the Works in Suit apparently does not support IA’s theory on market harm, IA wants access to millions of data points concerning Plaintiffs’ entire book catalogues. IA argues it is entitled to do this in order to see if any evidence might exist to support the inherently incredible theory that copying entire books and distributing them to any member of the public worldwide upon demand does not compete with Plaintiffs’ sales of the same books. Even worse, IA’s quest rests on the palpably false theory that it can quantify the harm caused by its infringement by comparing the sales of completely different books. Books are not interchangeable widgets and marketplace performance is driven by countless indeterminate and changing facts. In short, Defendant’s letter motion should be denied because the enormous and costly burden to Plaintiffs far outweighs the negligible value (if any) of the evidence sought, especially given the lack of legally relevant results that it will yield and the delays it will cause to the case….”

Internet Archive motion to the court

“Pursuant to Local Civil Rule 37.2, Defendant Internet Archive respectfully requests a pre-motion discovery conference regarding a motion to compel the production of information regarding the commercial performance of books published by Plaintiffs. In the above-captioned lawsuit, Plaintiffs contend that the Internet Archive infringed Plaintiffs’ copyrights by the non-profit digital lending of library books. The Internet Archive maintains that the challenged lending constitutes fair use under 17 U.S.C. § 107. In considering fair use, one factor courts consider is “the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.” Plaintiffs claim that the Internet Archive’s digital library lending has a negative effect on the market for or value of the works. The Internet Archive disagrees, and wishes to bring forward evidence showing that lending had little or no effect on the commercial performance of the books being lent, compared to books that were not lent….”

Sell This Book! | The Nation

“Corporate publishing wants to turn all readers into renters. We’re trying to stop them….

Libraries should pay only once for each copy of an ebook, as the Open Library did for the new Brick House book, so that they can lend it to their patrons forever, and nobody—no government, business, or regulatory body—will ever be able to stop them.”

Controlled Digital Lending – is it ‘Piracy’? | Newsroom

“So I was dismayed to see Steve Braunias use his platform to give oxygen to a moral panic over the National Library’s deaccessioning plans, complete with cries of “piracy!” The public conversation would be better served by taking a moment and giving a complicated situation the care and attention to detail it deserves.

Without a doubt, rights-holders are upset at the Internet Archive and are, in fact, suing the organisation in the United States. On its own, the existence of a lawsuit doesn’t tell us much — litigation is a way of life in America, and copyright owners there have a long history of overestimating their legal rights and losing their biggest cases (just ask Oracle, or the Authors Guild, or Universal Studios). Maybe it’s prudent, then, to take a look at the substance of what the lawsuit is about; see if perhaps there’s something more going on than simple piracy.

With that in mind, here is the controversial thing this library, the Internet Archive, is doing: they’re lending books.

The problem is that the library at issue is online, and the books it lends are digital. The system used is called “controlled digital lending,” the concept behind it is a fairly simple implementation of traditional library lending in online spaces….”

Internet Archive 25th Anniversary – Universal Access to All Knowledge

“As the Internet Archive turns 25, we invite you on a journey from way back to way forward, through the pivotal moments when knowledge became more accessible for all.

From the Library of Alexandria to Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press; from the First Amendment’s guarantee of the right to information to the creation of the World Wide Web, access to knowledge has always been thanks to the builders and the dreamers.

Now, go way back with us to 1996 when a young computer scientist named Brewster Kahle dreamed of building a “Library of Everything” for the digital age. A library containing all the published works of humankind, free to the public, and structured as a nonprofit to last the ages. He named this digital library the Internet Archive. Its mission: to provide everyone with “Universal Access to All Knowledge.” …”

A senseless lawsuit: “The Internet Archive has a heart, and knows how to use it” |

“When I heard about the lawsuit for copyright infringement launched on 1st June 2020 in the US by four major publishers (Hachette, Penguin Random House, Wiley, HarperCollins) against the Internet Archive for its Open Library, I couldn’t believe it. I thought this was a bad dream, that turned into a nightmare with the lawsuit scheduled for trial from 12 November 2021.

I briefly thought we were back in the 1990s, when publishers were fearing digital piracy and copyright infringement while threatening a few pioneers with lawsuits. But we are in 2021….

The Internet Archive has been here for 25 years. It knows about its trailblazing power to promote reading for all and education for all. The movement it has created is unstoppable. Why a lawsuit instead of a partnership?”

Reflections as the Internet Archive turns 25 – Internet Archive Blogs

“As a young man, I wanted to help make a new medium that would be a step forward from Gutenberg’s invention hundreds of years before. 

By building a Library of Everything in the digital age, I thought the opportunity was not just to make it available to everybody in the world, but to make it better–smarter than paper. By using computers, we could make the Library not just searchable, but organizable; make it so that you could navigate your way through millions, and maybe eventually billions of web pages.

The first step was to make computers that worked for large collections of rich media. The next was to create a network that could tap into computers all over the world: the Arpanet that became the Internet. Next came augmented intelligence, which came to be called search engines. I then helped build WAIS–Wide Area Information Server–that helped publishers get online to anchor this new and open system, which came to be enveloped by the World Wide Web.  

By 1996, it was time to start building the library….”

National Library’s plan to digitise and preserve books draws wide support from New Zealand civil society organisations – Tohatoha

“Claims that the National Library’s recently announced plan to send 600,000 books overseas to be digitised is equivalent to ‘internet piracy’ are unfounded, says a group of New Zealand civil society organisations supportive of the initiative.

In a statement from the Department of Internal Affairs last week, Te Puna M?tauranga o Aotearoa National Library announced it had reached an historic agreement where all books left at the end of the Overseas Published Collections (OPC) review process will be donated to the Internet Archive so they can digitise and preserve them.

Several New Zealand associations and organisations, including Internet New Zealand, Museums Aotearoa, the New Zealand Open Source Society and Tohatoha Aotearoa Commons, are backing the National Library’s plan, saying that the initiative will help ensure future access for New Zealanders to a greater range of publications.

Mandy Henk, CEO of Tohatoha and a librarian herself, said that claims that the Internet Archive’s digitisation service is illegal – made this week by several New Zealand publishing organisations – are not true….”