Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Over 1 Million Digital Books Now Available Free to the Print-Disabled

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

The Internet Archive just doubled the number of books for the print-disabled from classic books to current novels and educational material. This is done via the relaunched website with “one webpage for every book”


Publicly accessible books are in the open DAISY format. The database and search engines are still catching up but it will have over 1 million volumes for this community (over 500k titles).


Included are a large number of modern books that are put in the protected DAISY format the Library of Congress uses to distribute modern books to the blind and dyslexic.


The Archive is also launching a book drive– the first 10,000 books donated to the Internet Archive will be digitized and made as widely available as we can. With support in donated great books, and hopefully also financial support, the Archive will digitize even more.


Main post on the subject is here.

Going Open

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

The March 16, 2010 New York Times reported that C-Span, the television network that has covered 23 years of US government meetings and events, is making its entire video ar

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chive available, free and open, on the Internet. This is news of monumental importance, not only for history buffs but in support of a democratic society. Openness is happening, and that’s a Good Thing.

Openness in our world of metadata is also happening, although we’re less likely to read about it in the newspaper. Over the last few weeks and months numerous libraries have freed their data from its dark web data store and made it available for open access. What has been a trickle from library catalogs may be turning into a wave.

In January of this year, the library at CERN in Switzerland published its catalog as Open Data on the Web. The announcement stated:

Librarians are in general very favourable to the principles of Open Access, but surprisingly few libraries have so far set free the data they produce themselves. As one of the first scientific libraries in the world, the CERN Library offers now the bibliographic book records, held in its library catalog, to be freely downloaded by any third party. The records are provided under the Public Domain Data License, a license that permits colleagues around the world to reuse and upgrade the data for any purpose.

The announcement also calls for other libraries to follow suit, in particular libraries and institutions that are signatories to the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities.

In February, The Ghent University Library announced that it now makes available a full dump of its catalog data. This data is being made available under the Open Database License.

On the 12th of March, the University and City Library of Cologne announced the open release of approximately 3 million bibliographic records from its catalog. The Library has released the data using Creative Commons license CC0, which places the data in the public domain. Over 600 downloads, from around the world, were recorded at the site in the first day after the announcement, proof that there is an active need for shared bibliographic metadata. Those wishing to follow the project can gather at the Linked Open Data site, which also has pointers to the file downloads. The project hopes to offer the data in a Linked Data format in the near future.

Other libraries have made their data available with less fanfare, but their quiet contributions were often pioneering. The Open Library’s data source page lists over two dozen sources of bibliographic data from libraries, and yet others from publishers. This data is loaded into the Open Library, whose catalog is available for download either in bulk or through APIs.

In support of this growing movement to make bibliographic data available for use and re-use, the Open Knowledge Foundation has announced a new working group on open bibliographic data. The comprehensive knowledge archive network, a registry of open data and content, has a page for registering open bibliographic data sets. And of course, in the interest of LOCKSS (Lots of Copies Keeps Stuff Safe) and of contributing to the Open Library project, anyone with bibliographic data is encourage to upload their data to the Internet Archive following these simple instructions. (Note that there are copies of the Cologne data and CERN data on the Archive.)

And if all of this doesn’t serve to convince you that open bibliographic data is HERE NOW, the rumor mill tells us that the World Wide Web consortium is forming a working group on library bibliographic data and the semantic web, with at least one of its goals to help libraries participate in the Linked Open Data movement and become better integrated with other data on the web. I have no doubt that there are exciting and rewarding times ahead for libraries.

Gavin Newsom on Stimulus Money for Book Digitization

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Link: Gavin Newsom on Stimulus Money for Book Digitization

70,000 books from Cornell Libraries online now

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

<span>Today Cornell and the Internet Archive <a href=””>announce</a> that over 70,000 public-domain books are <a href=””>available free online</a> (many still to come).  These are beautiful books that are now available with no restrictions.   Thank you Cornell, Kirtas, and Microsoft.  The Internet Archive has reformatted and re-OCR’ed the books to be compatible with the books scanned by the Internet Archive and many of the other collections available on the <a href=””></a> site.</span>

Thank you to Anne R. Kenney, Oya Yildirim Rieger, William R. Kehoe Jr. all of Cornell; Jay Girotto, Danielle Tiedt of  Microsoft; Lotfi Belkhir of Kirtas; and Hank Bromley of the Internet Archive, for making all of this happen.

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Samuelson: Google Books is Not a Library

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

Amen.  (worthwhile)

Google Claims to be the Lone Defender of Orphans: Not lone, not defender

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

At a press conference that Google held today, Techcrunch reported these statements by Sergey Brin and Eric Schmidt. They deserve correction.

Google Founder Sergey Brin said: “[T]he companies that are making objections about out of print books are doing nothing for out of print books, MSFT and Amazon.”

This is twisted at best. There are around 400 objections to the settlement objecting to Google’s treatment of out-of-print books– companies, libraries and even countries. And many of us are objecting because we have been working together for years on the mass scanning of out-of-print books– and have worked to get books online for far longer than Google– and Google’s “settlement” could hurt our efforts. A major part of our efforts have concentrated on changing the law so everyone would benefit.

The Internet Archive’s effort to free “orphan works” (a name that I coined in the books context for when the rightsowner is unknown or not available to negotiate for use of the work), had been an active project for years before Google announced they were scanning library books. As early as 2002 the Archive was participating in the Million Books project when we acquired a hundred thousand books for scanning. Because many of these books wound up being orphans, their digitization was partial and significantly delayed. Today, the Million Books project holds over 1.4 million books that have been scanned at public expense, but are not publicly viewable because of the lack of clarity on orphan works.

In March of 2004, the Internet Archive filed a suit in a Federal Court in an attempt to free the Orphan Works in a challenge of current U.S. copyright legislation.

Google announced their library scanning project in December 2004 — therefore, they did not even publicly start until the Gordian Knot of orphan works had been a very public and ongoing problem for those of us already trying to make books available to the public.

Google’s CEO Schmidt said the opponents should: “propose an alternative to solve the problem”

There is an alternative, and they know it — orphan works legislation — that up until the last session of Congress had been working its way through the House and Senate. It was not perfect, but was getting close to what we need. Best yet, it passed one house — at least until Google effectively sideswiped the process with their settlement proposal. The settlement has been seen as solving the orphan books issue, which has served to enervate efforts to pass a bill. If Google were to abandon its attempt to grab these books for its own private gain, then technology companies and libraries could speak with a strong voice, speaking in unison, working together to get proper legislation passed.

That is the alternative and Google could help, and I hope now does help, and stop hurting the process.

Lets free the orphans, not have them pass from their legal limbo into a life controlled by Google and its proposed Books Rights Registry.

Orphan Works and Mass Scanning Timeline:

Million Books scanning partially halted based on this problem: 2002.
Public Domain Enhancement Act to deal with this introduced: June 2003.
Orphan Works complaint filed: March 2004.
Google library scanning was announced in December 2004.
Copyright Office starts formal inquiry into Orphan Works Jan 2005.
proposed legislation from them on Jan 2006.
Google sued Sept 2005
Orphan Works Act introduced to Congress May 22, 2006.
Archive and Libraries Announce out-of-print scanning October 2007.
Orphan Works Act 2008 passed in Senate: Sept 2008.
Google Settlement announced Oct 2008.

At End of Act II: Are We Being Played for Fools OR Building an Enlightened Digital World?

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

The grand and dastardly scheme was to construct an organization to control/monetize the Orphans — might they get away with it?  It seems they might — in fact everyone seems to be playing the role that was laid out for them by Google et al.   As seen in the New York Times today, they may be getting what they want:  “Laying out a path forward, the [Justice] department said some of its antitrust concerns could be mitigated by ‘some mechanism by which Google’s competitors’ could gain comparable access to orphan works.”  If so, the plan to control and monetize would be left in place.

If this happens then we are being played for fools in someone else’s play.  And that will hurt access to books and book culture — past, present, and future.

With the Justice Department objection, we are just where the Google+TradeLawyers may have hoped we would be.  The question now is: do we play the concluding Act III of this saga according to their script or do we build a competitive and rich digital world?

Please grant me a moment to explain.  Act I:  Google makes secret agreements with libraries to scan all books, calls it “search”, is greeted as a savior.  When the details come out and are quite dark, it is too late as people remember it as a good thing.

Act II: Google is sued (surprise!) and secretly negotiates for maximum rights with as small a number of lawyers as possible. Having it be a class action is the stroke of genius — the parties get to rewrite copyright law.   Google+TradeLawyers make a backroom deal — Google would get to solely control the out-of-print book world (most of the books of the 20th century) and the lawyers from the Authors Guild and the AAP would share tens of millions of dollars.  Seems like a tidy deal.  But there are two troubles — copyright and anti-trust.  They need an act of Congress or the Justice Department to bless their cabal.

So where are we?  They drafted a settlement that is completely self-serving, while short-changing authors, publishers, libraries, other countries, and Internet companies (if you don’t believe me, please read the words of hundreds of well-reasoned objections to the suit).   The Justice Department did the right thing to cry anti-trust foul about the *two* monopolies that are proposed: Google and the Books Rights Registry. But interestingly, Google could only make a settlement where they were the only beneficiary because this was done as a class-action suit.  This bizarre circumstance means they could not offer their protection to any others because the others were not party to the suit and they wanted a small room to negotiate in — you can only commit others with a law or judicial approval.   So they set out to allow their monopoly to be blown and still rule the day.   Yes, they seem to have set this up so that they win if the Justice Department objected and said “anyone has to be able to get the deal that you got.”  (This idea of non-exclusive access is consistent with the rhetoric that Google has been slathering on the media for the last several months.)  And then, voila, Google would fall back on the 2nd tier monopoly, the Books Rights Registry, to allow them to control all out-of-print books.  Justice would then look like they got something, when in fact, they did not.

Not following me?   Sorry, but let me take another shot.    Let’s say the Justice Department says “anyone else should be able to do what Google has just negotiated for itself” and allows the judge to approve this complicated mess-of-a-settlement or goes to Congress who obliges with a law to that effect.   Then, Google, with a five-year head start, and setting out the rules of how the Books Rights Registry works, gets to be the only compelling offering for libraries to subscribe to.   If you get a five-year head start AND write the rules of the game, then if you lose, you are an idiot.  And if there is something we should all be sure of, these lawyers are not idiots.

So how do we know if we are being played?  At the end of the day, if the Books Rights Registry is allowed to control and collect money for the Orphan Works, then we have been had.   Remember, this is all about controlling the Orphans, or out-of-print works.   These works are those that are too expensive to research to figure out if they are the property of publishers or authors or even if they knew they would want them accessible.  The contracts are often hard to track down and they are not making money anyway.   If an organization gets to control the orphans, then they can determine who can have a complete library and on what terms.

The Book Rights Registry that has been designed by this cabal, which would be controlled by a few of the lawyers that wrote this settlement,  would control the out-of-print/Orphan works and be able to charge whatever they wanted for them.  Google, who has said they have scanned 10 million books, is off to a healthy head start.   A subscription service of bundled services will favor those with the most books, hence Google wins.

So what should we do to change this outcome?

Only one thing needs to be changed: Don’t let anyone control the Orphans/Out-of-print.  Only if an owner comes forward and prove they own a work (with penalties for overreaching, and not just weak anyone-can-claim-anything-with-no-negative-consequences as it is proposed now)  then they can  negotiate for money.  Otherwise Orphan/Out-of-Print works can be used by anyone, say, for non-commercial use.   This is roughly how the Orphan Works legislation works, which almost made it through congress last session.  But it should not be surprising that these guys are trying to substitute a closed system for that open approach.

What would happen if no one controlled the orphans?  Is would be best for the industry, best for libraries, publishers, authors, and best for the general public.

  • Even Google would be better off because they would be able to make the Orphans available to everyone not just to subscribers. (Remember, they are an advertising based business.)
  • The AAP would also be serving their publishers because Google would not be the only game in town to negotiate with.
  • Libraries would be better off because they could digitize, preserve, and provide access to millions of digitized books for researchers historians scholars and the general public.
  • The Authors Guild would be better off because they could build membership by offering to negotiate on authors behalf with many parties.
  • Many author associations and registries would compete to provide good services to those that sign up with them.
  • Authors would be better off because this would help create a diverse ecology of publishers, libraries, and readers.
  • The general public would be better off because they would leverage many search engines and many reading devices to buy and borrow digital books from many different booksellers and libraries.
  • The only loser is the Books Rights Registry, but it does not even exist yet.

This would be the World Wide Web of Books that we have been dreaming of rather than a Monopoly of Books.  Google has helped build momentum — let’s take it the rest of the way without blowing it.   This could be done by Congress or the Justice Department — both of which are working on this right now.

Free the Orphans.

Congressmen and Google Support Legislation as More Equitable Solution than Settlement

Saturday, September 12th, 2009

In a long-awaited expression of support for a more level playing field than that outlined in its proposed settlement with a handful of authors and publishers, David C. Drummond, Senior Vice President of Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer Google yesterday agreed with the House Judiciary Committee on passage of updated copyright legislation.

In response to direct questions from both Chairman Conyers (D, Michigan) and Representative Johnson (D, Georgia) about the passage of legislation offering equal legal rights to all in digitizing and offering orphan (and out of print) works, Mr. Drummond replied “We would have no problem with that.”

The 2008 session of Congress very nearly passed such legislation, with the Senate approving a bill and a House bill making it out of Committee, but stalling thereafter. The groundwork has been laid for finalizing this legislation, and passage this session could be a tremendously positive peripheral outcome of the lawsuit.

Many of the Committee members, joining with a broad range of complainants arguing that the proposed settlement would create a court-sanctioned monopoly, emphasized the appropriate role for Congress in passing updated copyright legislation as it applies to digital works. Mary Beth Peters, Register of Copyrights, US Copyright Office, advocated for this strongly in her testimony, labeling the proposed settlement “. . . a mockery out of Article 1 of the Constitution,” adding that “Key parts of the settlement are fundamentally at odds with the law.”

Rep. Sherman noted that approval of the settlement as proposed would constitute “legislating from the bench,” an inappropriate role for the Court. Representative Sherman (D, California) further suggested that Court action on the proposed settlement be delayed until Congress codified orphan works legislation for everyone.

–Linda Frueh, Internet Archive, from attending the Congressional hearing

Time Well Spent in our Digital Evolution

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

It’s been over nine months since we first posted here in opposition to the Google Book Search Settlement. For a while it was a lonely business, taking on the power and popularity of Google. Now, with the notification period about to end, it is gratifying to see how many people and organizations have come together to question the terms and implications of the Settlement. The list of concerns and problems is now so extensive—and so well reported and indexed—that there’s no need to list them all here.

But I would like to emphasize what is the most important issue to me: I believe the proposed Settlement will have a chilling effect on building free and open digital libraries.  Should the Settlement be approved, Google Book Search becomes a commercial digital library without serious competition. There is certainly a place in the world for its digital library, but, to me, there’s an even greater place in the world for free and open digital libraries that are numerous, de-centralized,  distributed and, most importantly, continuous with the values of our public library system.

This Settlement will not help to create such a system.  It nurtures and deepens a licensing culture that is harmful to the library system; and, while exploiting the long and deep investment of libraries in their stewardship of books, it depends on those same libraries to fund its business model without ensuring adequate safeguards to prevent price gouging. Instead, it builds a centralized library under the control of one private corporation accountable first and foremost to its shareholders and one registry motivated by profit maximization for rightsholders who come forward. Are these the best circumstances in which to gain access to the written record of the 20th century in book form?

Robert Darnton, who was privy to the Settlement negotiations, supports our position. In his new book, entitled The Case for Books, he writes: “The more I learned about Google, the more it appeared to be a monopoly intent on conquering markets rather than a natural ally of libraries, whose sole purpose is to preserve and diffuse knowledge.”

One of the positive outcomes of the past nine or so months is that awareness has been raised, coalitions have been formed, fervent discussion has occurred, and much ink has been spilled on the very knotty problems around the digital stewardship of our cultural heritage. Given all that I’ve seen and heard in the past year, I am now vastly more hopeful that we all might come together to work toward a truly open library system for the digital age. I hope Judge Chin finds merit in the many objections that have been filed and that a better, more collective and democratic solution to the challenges of digitization can be found.

Google has helped us all by showing how achievable and inexpensive mass digitization is.  Maybe somewhat in reaction to Google, hundreds of libraries are digitizing in ways consistent with the tradition of libraries. I am optimistic that we will prevail in building free and open digital libraries.

— brewster

Google at their word

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

As part of Google’s propaganda tour selling their proposed book monopoly, a surprising and seemingly hypocritical theme emerged loud and clear. Straight from the “have cake and eat it too” department, Google’s senior traveling digital book salesman, Dan Clancy, professed his undying commitment to the legislative process as it relates to orphan works.

At a Computer History Museum event last week in Silicon Valley, Clancy suggested that the best way to address the orphan books issue is for Congress to pass legislation, and that Google is not only supportive of this effort, but pushing for it.

Well, we’d like to take Google at their word and hope that they live up to that commitment. And we hope that they do it in a way that is honest and forthright, not self-serving and diversionary. At the Internet Archive, we believe that the right way to gain access to orphan books is to not break the law while you are doing it, and to work through Congress to ensure that the people’s voice in copyright is articulated the way the system was designed to work, not through a private, secret deal that we’re being assured is in our best interests by Google. For the browsing, lending, and vending of digital books, the Archive is seeking an open and competitive market with appropriate safeguards for readers, not a monopoly bookstore created by the biggest online advertising company in the world.

No one elected Google to write copyright law for America. And the Author’s Guild and American Association of Publishers simply do not accurately represent the diverse cross-section of those communities. If Google is really interested in honoring our legislative process, let’s acknowledge that Congress is the path that our government chose to make copyright law and codify its exceptions — instead of crafting secret deals through class action settlements.

To that end, we are calling on Google to petition the court and seek a delay to the October hearing regarding the settlement. Furthermore, we demand that Google publicly demonstrate their leadership and influence in DC to immediately fuel the legislative process on orphan works. That way, they could be part of a truly “non-exclusive” deal by ensuring that all stakeholders are provided the same set of rules from Day 1.

We await Google’s response.

Questions for the Google books monopoly

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

This week, the Google Book Search team and its partners are embarking on a nationwide propaganda tour. Events in New York, Washington, DC, Silicon Valley and Boston are designed to ease the growing fears over what the Google Books settlement proposal means for libraries, schools, students, authors, and readers of all stripes.

At the Internet Archive, we encourage people to listen to what Google Books has to say with a healthy dose of skepticism, and specifically, to ask the company and its partners about the following troubling issues:

Orphan Books: This settlement gives Google exclusive rights to scan, digitize and publish millions of orphan works, with a release from legal liability for copyright infringement. Google claims that anyone can scan these books — but no one else has the same legal protections that Google has. Would the parties to the settlement amend the settlement to extend legal liability indemnification to any and all digitizers of orphan works? If not, why not leave orphans out of the settlement and compel a legislative solution instead of striking a private deal in a District Court?

The Book Rights Registry Monopoly: The settlement creates what is effectively a monopoly in the Book Rights Registry. The Books Rights Registry will be a privately-held, privately-administered exclusive marketplace where digitized books are priced. Why should this function be handed over to a monopoly controlled through the Authors Guild and AAP? Why can’t there be an open framework that allows for more than one registry – giving rights holders and others a choice? For domain names, consumers and businesses have a choice of where to register a domain name – creating competition. Would Google and its monopoly partners endorse an open registry system?

Privacy: Despite repeated requests, Google has declined to give any details about what privacy controls it would put in place on its Book Search product. Will Google track the books that we are reading and make this information available to sell advertising against it? Will Google refuse to share information with the government about what books people are reading, as libraries routinely do? Will Google even publish a robust privacy policy on its Book Search product before the settlement issue is resolved?

More and more people are recognizing the Google Book Settlement for what it really is — an insider deal cut between powerful, private interests that creates a profit-making monopoly over the greatest source of our culture’s common knowledge. We urge everyone who cares about books to come to their rescue.

Making Books Apparent

Friday, July 17th, 2009

A workshop sponsored by the Internet Archive*
October 19-20, Fort Mason
San Francisco, California

* (By invitation –only)

The Internet Archive, in conjunction with its partners, O’Reilly Media, Threepress, Book Oven, Feedbooks, OLPC, and others, will highlight the development of an open platform for electronic books at a workshop for developers and early implementers.

Making Books Apparent will introduce the Archive’s Bookserver Project, on-going work on the OPDS Catalog specification and enhancements to the Open Library, the largest editable library on the web. The meeting will provide an opportunity to demonstrate and enhance interoperability through collaborative development at an on-site hackfest.


The Bookserver Project enables readers to discover, acquire, and read books. Using a family of existing and new open standards (e.g., OPDS Catalogs), open formats (e.g., EPUB), and open data, Bookserver defines a distributed, web-based approach to allow content creators to publish catalogs of their available works; for customers to find titles from many different publishers and libraries; and for readers to get content onto a wide range of devices.

The catalog format enables search engines to serve as a gateway for basic information about books; allows the information provided by publishers, bookstores, and libraries to be combined and enriched by aggregators such as Internet Archive’s Open Library, Amazon, or Ingram; and encourages bloggers, niche portals, and others to make their own “good reads” sourced from across the book industry.

Publishers, libraries, and reading system developers will demonstrate early Bookserver implementations. Exploration into alternative lending and vending models will also be highlighted.


The largest open source library on the web, Open Library will showcase new interfaces that enable the easy upload of new catalog data into Open Library, with a particular focus on small collections, both institutional and personal.

The Open Library team will demonstrate new collection development services, and a refreshed user interface that will make Open Library a compelling site for the enrichment of book information online, supporting the goal of a web page for every book ever published.

LOCATION. Fort Mason Center, San Francisco CA.

DATE. October 19-20, 2009.

MORE INFORMATION. Please contact peter at archive org

Achievements for Humanity

Sunday, July 5th, 2009

The Open Content Alliance includes hundreds of member libraries who are stretching their limited resources in order to digitize their public domain holdings and to make them available with no restrictions whatsoever.

So it was surprising to read recently in a New York Times article that Google’s leadership thinks that they have been alone in the ambitious scanning of books. The article quotes Sergey Brin as saying:

“I didn’t see anyone lining up to scan books when we did it, or even now …. Some of them are motivated by near-term business disputes, and they don’t see this as an achievement for humanity.”

Well, true, the Internet Archive wasn’t exactly lining up to scan books when Google did: we were scanning books long before. We started with our sourcing technology and a donation of 100,000 books to the Million Books Project in 2002. This involvement led to the development of our University of Toronto scanning center in 2004, months before Google publicly launched its Library Project. We now have 19 scanning centers in 5 countries scanning 1,000 public domain books a day–without restriction.  And even before our efforts began, Project Gutenberg and others were scanning and posting freely.

Like Brin, we see the marvelous work done by the University of Toronto and other partner institutions as an “achievement for humanity.” And, further, we believe that the principles of the OCA — truly open content and truly broad access — present an important alternative to the impressive but closed, proprietary, and now monopolistic model advanced by Google.


New Archive Book Reader

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

We’ve got a new release of our book reader, which we’ve been working on for the past few months.

In addition to a new theme and user interface, the reader has the following special features:

  • the reader includes unique (and simple to understand) URLs for each page, which update as you move through a book. These URLs can be used in citations and bookmarks, making it easier and more legible when referring to a particular page of a book.
  • books can be viewed in one or two-page mode.
  • in one-page mode, images can be zoomed up to 100% of the original scans. Because the Internet Archive scans are in color, this is an especially nice feature with illustrated books.
  • it has the capability of accommodating books that read right-to-left, such as those books in our Yiddish collection.
  • the reader is supported by all browsers (but IE 6).
  • there is an auto-play feature, so that you can set the pages to turn automatically.
  • As always, the reader is open source. If you have suggestions or bug reports, please add them to the book reader’s launchpad page so the engineers will see and prioritize them.

To test the reader, go to the book’s details page and, in the “View the Book” box, click on the “Read online” link or the animated gif.

Work on the book reader has been done primarily by Michael Ang and Raj Kumar with funding from the Sloan Foundation and the Library of Congress. Icons by Jeffrey Ventrella. We will be developing new features in the future.

If you have comments or questions, please share them with us below.


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Recent Published Pieces on the Future of Digital Books

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

The Washington Post recently ran this op-ed by me, titled “A Book Grab by Google,” in which I lay out some (but not all) of my problems with the proposed settlement between Google, the AAP, and the Authors Guild. It’s gotten picked up by many blogs, twitterers, and websites, but, for readers of this blog who might not have seen it, I link to it here as well.

I’ve also got a short piece in a new report from Congressional Quarterly Researcher on the future of books, in counterpoint with Dan Clancy of Google, answering the question why I don’t think the settlement will increase digital access to books in the long run. Click on the tab on the left that says “Pro/Con.” (Unfortunately, I’m the “con,” but am looking forward to a return to my usual “pro” self soon enough!)


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Cornell Removes Restrictions on Public Domain

Monday, May 18th, 2009

We welcome the news that last week Cornell University Library removed all restrictions on its digital public domain holdings. It did so in conjunction with a donation of more than 70,000 digitized public domain books to the Internet Archive.   As these books are processed, they will appear on

Cornell has removed restrictions not only on non-commercial use but commercial use as well. University Librarian Anne Kenney explains: “We decided it was more important to encourage the use of the public domain materials in our holdings than to impose roadblocks.”

We applaud Cornell for this move and hope that others will be inspired by its leadership in this vital area. The public domain belongs to everyone and to no one. Attempts to restrict it promise to have a chilling effect on the collective digital library we are trying to build.

Hats off to Cornell!

Brewster Kahle Interviewed on Democracy Now!

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

Today Democracy Now! broadcast an interview between Amy Goodman and Brewster Kahle about digitization, the Google Book Search Settlement, and the future of books and libraries (taped on April 17 in San Francisco):

Internet Archive files Intervention Request

Friday, April 17th, 2009

Greetings. The Internet Archive is seeking leave to file a motion before the Southern District of New York U.S. District Court to intervene in the matter of The Authors Guild Inc. et al. v. Google Inc. as a party defendant.

Below is the letter delivered to the Court of the Honorable Dennis Chin.

View Request at Scribd: Archive intervention in Google Book Search

New Book Reader

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

The Internet Archive has released a new book reader in beta. The new version of our book reader provides support for several critical new features. The reader is widgetable, so it can be embedded easily in blog posts or digital asset repository pages. We also support full text search against books, and the new reader can display extremely high resolution images, up to the limit of the archival scan. Finally, a highly desired feature: it supports books written in right to left languages, such as our fantastic new Yiddish collection, and certain CJK historical or display variants.

But best of all: it is open source.

The new reader can be chosen by selecting “FlipBook Beta” off of any book page; an example display on our home — the San Francisco Presidio — can be found in a historical survey (which is pretty cool, itself).

Comments are welcome!

Peter Brantley joins the Internet Archive

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

I am thrilled to announce that Peter Brantley will be joining the Internet Archive as our newest Director.   In this role, he will direct our efforts and help coordinate with partners in building an open library and distributed publishing system.

His experience in running the Digital Library Federation and coordinating between publishing, library, and high tech organizations gives him an almost unique ability to succeed in helping books find accessible and profitable forms in the digital age.

We hope you all will welcome him into this new position.

(peter at archive dot org)