News from the Internet Archive
No. 7, 15 February 2013
(You’ll find the hypertext version of the following items, complete with images, audio, and more, at http://blog.archive.org/2013/02/15/news-from-the-archive-0007-librivox-back-forty-its-a-gas/ Also, you’ll find information about subscribing and unsubscribing at the end of this edition.)
2013 began on a somber note when Aaron Swartz, a champion of the open world, committed suicide. Working at the Internet Archive, Aaron was the architect and first coder of OpenLibrary.org, a site to open the world of books to the Internet generation. As a user of the site, he helped put public domain books that had been locked up on the site.
As a volunteer, he helped make the RECAP system to offer free public access to public domain government court documents. He took the bold step of seeding this system by going to a public library to download the public domain and then uploaded the documents to the Internet Archive—this got him in trouble with the FBI. Now many millions of public domain documents have been used by over six million people for free, including researchers that could never have afforded the high fees to gain access.
Aaron was steadfast in his dedication to building a better and open world. Selfless. Willing to cause change. He is among the best spirits of the Internet generation. I am crushed by his loss, but will continue to be enlightened by his work and dedication.
We held a moving memorial service for Aaron at the Archive on January 24; he’ll be missed.
—Brewster Kahle, founder and digital librarian
We’re grateful to everyone who helped with our end of the year campaign to get four new Petaboxes; that’s four thousand terabytes of storage. We look forward to filling the fifteen hundred plus hard drives with all sorts of interesting material. Stay tuned!
From the Archive’s Mailbox
I just want to thank you for existing. I suffered a concussion three weeks ago, and your audio books have been a huge blessing as I’m not allowed to do whole lot while I recover, but listening to audio books like Harry Potter is one of the few things I am allowed to do, and those things are so expensive to buy that I could only afford to buy one, fortunately after I finished that one I found you. Anyway being able to listen has kept me sane over these last few weeks and I want to thank you for that.
You’re welcome; here’s the entire collection:
Picks from the Archive
More Dangerous Than Dynamite
We’ve all had this experience: we’re tired, or just trying to save a few dollars, so we decide to skip a trip to the dry cleaners and clean our clothes with gasoline in the kitchen. Well, it turns out this practice can be dangerous, as this film from the Prelinger Archives demonstrates. And the special effects are, well, really special.
—recommended by Gareth Hughes
Back Forty Live at Founders on January 19, 2013
The band’s Internet site claims that their music combines, “funk, bluegrass, rock, folk, reggae, Irish, jazz, experimentation, blues, and swing elements.” Have a listen and see if you don’t agree.
—recommended by Sally McDermitt
The English Dance of Death, from the Designs of Thomas Rowlandson; 1903
This book is split into two volumes and was originally published in twenty-four monthly parts (1814-16). The subject beautifully portrays the “necessary end” of us all using superstition, highly artistic engravings and skillfully written poetry: “… but frolic nature will undo, the works of art and genius too …”, “… justice slept, while reason saw the deed and wept …” This is a literary gem that lets any curious reader contemplate their journey to the grave.
—recommended by Atlas D. McLamb III
What are your Archive favorites? Please suggest a link or two and a few words about why you appreciate your recommendation to:
—David Glenn Rinehart
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David Glenn Rinehart is an artist in residence at the Internet Archive as well as a cartoonist, composer, filmmaker, musician, and writer. His work is at http://stare.com/ and elsewhere.