Please stand with the Internet Archive to Protect Net Neutrality by writing to your congressperson. Today, many organizations are putting “Internet Loading” symbols on their sites to bring awareness to the stakes to those of us that would be at the mercy of the Cable and Phone Companies to selectively slow down our sites for profit or just because they may not like our policies.
China started blocking the Internet Archive again a couple of months ago, we believe, because they do not like our open access policies. In this way, we have started to understand the power in the hands of the Internet service providers. Lets keep our access to Internet sites “Neutral” and not at the discretion of companies and governments.
Please write to your congressperson.
The BBC has an article about Kalev Leetaru’s project to extract images from millions of Open Library pages.
You can read about how it works…
The Internet Archive had used an optical character recognition (OCR) program to analyse each of its 600 million scanned pages in order to convert the image of each word into searchable text. As part of the process, the software recognised which parts of a page were pictures in order to discard them.
Mr Leetaru’s code used this information to go back to the original scans, extract the regions the OCR program had ignored, and then save each one as a separate file in the Jpeg picture format. The software also copied the caption for each image and the text from the paragraphs immediately preceding and following it in the book. Each Jpeg and its associated text was then posted to a new Flickr page, allowing the public to hunt through the vast catalogue using the site’s search tool.
“I think one of the greatest things people will do is time travel through the images,” Mr Leetaru said.
… or just check out some of the results. Images plus citations plus metadata! We couldn’t be happier. Free to use with no restrictions.
by Robert Miller, Global Director of Books, Internet Archive
“Reading a book from the inside out!”. Well not quite, but a new way to read our eBooks has just been launched. Check out this great BBC article:
And this fabulous Flikr commons collection:
What is it and how did it get done?
A Yahoo research fellow at Georgetown University, Kalev Leetaru, extracted over 14 million images from 2 million Internet Archive public domain eBooks that span over 500 years of content. Because we have OCR’d the books, we have now been able to attach about 500 words before and after each image. This means you can now see, click and read about each image in the collection. Think full-text search of images!
How many images are there?
As of today, 2.6 million of the 14 million images have been uploaded to Flikr Commons. Soon we will be able to add continuously to this collection from the over 1,000+ new eBooks we scan each day. Dr. Simon Chaplin, Head of the Wellcome Library says, “This way of discovering and reading a book will help transform our medical heritage collection as it goes up online. This is a big step forward and will bring digitized book collections to new audiences.”
What is fun to do with this collection?
Trying typing in the word “telephone’ and enjoy what images appear? Curious about how death has been characterized over 500 years of images – type in “mordis”. Feeling good about health care – type in medicine and prepare to be amazed. Remember, all of these images are in the public domain!
We will be working with our wonderful friends at Flikr to make this collection even more interesting – more images, more sub-collections and some very interesting ideas of how to use some image recognition tools to help us learn more about, well, anything!
Questions about this collection, projects or things to come?
Email me at email@example.com
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.