Open Library will be down from 6:00PM to 8:00PM SF Time (PDT, UTC/GMT -7 hours) on August 19, 2014 due to a scheduled hardware maintenance.
We’ll post updates here and on @openlibrary twitter.
Thank you for your cooperation.
The Internet Archive had a booth at Wikimania in London. The booth was in the Community Village section of the conference. We hope you stopped by and said hello, grabbed a sticker or a handout, and learned a bit more about our book scanning projects and told us what you were up to. If you’d like to pick up digital copies of our handouts, PDFs are here.
We also went to a lot of programs that were really worthwhile, the free/open culture vibe was palpable and exciting with 2500+ people all getting together to find ways to share more content in more ways. A few other documents we picked up that might be interesting to other folks.
- Teaching students how to edit: Wikipedia Assignments (pdf) – for educators who are Wikimedia curious but don’t know how to get started
- Wikimedian in Residence 2014 review – talks about outcomes and other words that make programs like this appealing to organizations with bottom lines and boards of directors
- How to work successfully with Wikipedia: A guide for galleries, libraries, archives & museums – helping forge partnerships across cultural heritage organizations
For people who like working on Wikipedia but are often flustered by paywalls, you should know about the Wikipedia Library which has a project to help editors access reliable sources. The Wikipedia Loves Libraries project is gearing up for a month of wiki-workshops and edit-a-thons at libraries around Open Access Week in October/November.
Amazon’s “Kindle Unlimited” announcement has been helping raise awareness of Open Library.
Last week, Amazon informed us that for ten dollars per month, Kindle users can have unlimited access to over six hundred thousand books in its library. But it shouldn’t cost a thing to borrow a book, Amazon, you foul, horrible, profiteering enemies of civilization. For a monthly cost of zero dollars, it is possible to read six million e-texts at the Open Library, right now. On a Kindle, or any other tablet or screen thing.
July 12, 2014 marked the passing of an extraordinary librarian, Zoia Horn. Ms. Horn was best known in library circles for spending three weeks in jail in 1972 for having refused to testify before a grand jury regarding information relating to Phillip Berrigan’s library use. Ms. Horn stated: “To me it stands on: Freedom of thought — but government spying in homes, in libraries and universities inhibits and destroys this freedom.”
Throughout her life, Ms. Horn was on the forefront of the protection of academic and intellectual freedom, especially in libraries. She was an outspoken opponent of the PATRIOT ACT. She won numerous awards for her work, and a Zoia Horn Intellectual Freedom Award was inaugurated in 2004 by the California Library Association.
The Internet Archive is proud to have been a recipient of that award in 2010, and Brewster Kahle was presented with the award by Ms. Horn herself.
Along with so many others who have fought for freedom, we will greatly miss Ms. Horn, and we honor her memory by continuing her work.
As the Archive moves more widely into the archiving of software, it quickly becomes apparent that there’s going to be an awful lot of programs online without much indication of what they are. With many thousands of programs or program collections to choose from, determining what might be inside becomes a pretty involved task.
In the case of movies, images and texts, there are previews that help show what is contained in the files in a given item. These are extremely helpful, as they not only show the quality or style of the works, but give all sorts of information that might not be reflected in the metadata.
Starting now, the same will be true for many types of software.
Using a combination of the JSMESS emulator and screen capturing software, the Archive has begun automatic “playing out” of sets of programs, snagging shots of what the software does, and then providing it as a guidepost of what is to come with that program.
For example, work has just been completed on the playable Sega Genesis Library, where the directory view of the items in the collection show helpful screenshots, and individual games show animated playthroughs of the beginning of the cartridge.
The process is still evolving – currently it requires real-time capture (that is, capturing the first five minutes of a program takes an actual five minutes), but with multiple machines moving through collections, screenshots will be available for huge amounts of programs in coming weeks and months.
Along with the obvious graphical prettiness comes an even greater cultural benefit: the freeing of screenshots.
As these shots have often been done manually or have been gathered by hand, there has risen a tendency to put watermarks or credits with the images to indicate who did the work. While it’s an understandable urge to want some kudos for the effort, it meant that the very work being lauded (the graphics of the program) was being vandalized to ensure credit where credit was due.
None of the screenshots we are generating will have watermarks, and can be used freely for other purposes as you see fit.
To celebrate this, we’ve created a compilation of all the Sega Genesis screenshots generated by the project so far. The compilation is here. Be warned – it’s 4.3 gigabytes of 16,900 screenshots of 573 cartridges! (There’s a way to browse it at this link.)
Many screenshots are simply informative, but many more are truly works of art, as artists and programmers strained the edges of these underpowered machines to create the most evocative images possible. With this screenshotting effort underway, that work will hopefully get a new life and respect on the web.
Free the Screenshots!
The Internet Archive joined Our Fair Deal along with EFF and Public Knowledge to stop the US from using the Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty from changing our copyright laws. The coalition sent two open letters to TPP negotiators today on critical issues that you can learn about here. Let’s foster open debate and proper process before further changes to copyright laws restrict public access even more.
Please consider joining this coalition.
Open Library will be down from 5:00PM to 7:00PM SF time (PDT, UTC/GMT -7 hours) on July 1, 2014 due to scheduled hardware maintenance. We’ll post updates here and on @openlibrary twitter. Thank you for your cooperation.