Access to Rare Historical Materials Makes an Ocean of Difference for Stanford Professor

The kind of materials that Stanford English professor Margaret Cohen uses in her work, including the history of ocean travel in the period known as the “Age of Sail,” can be difficult to find.

Professor Margaret Cohen, Andrew B. Hammond Professor of French Language, Literature, and Civilization and Director, Center for the Study of the Novel at Stanford University.

Books and illustrations from the 18th and 19th centuries needed in her research and teaching are often tucked away in rare book collections. For about five years, Cohen has been turning to the Internet Archive for help. And that access was even more critical during the pandemic when physical libraries were closed.

“It’s really enriched the arguments I can make about cultural history,” Cohen said. “The availability of documents and the very intensive work of tracking these down has become so much easier. The Internet Archive is a very user-friendly tool.”

The Biodiversity Heritage Library has been a resource to Cohen in teaching her English class, Imagining the Ocean. She has discovered manuals from Philip Henry Gosse, who created the first public aquarium, envisioning them as beautiful ocean gardens.  Cohen also shares her screen with students to discuss drawings of the sails, seashore and sea-anemones from the Victorian Age that she accesses through the Archive.

Actinologia britannica, 1860, Plate V.

“Access to the history of science is useful to me. I’m a literature professor, but the imagination spans across different areas,” said Cohen, the Andrew B. Hammond Professor of French Language, Literature, and Civilization and Director, Center for the Study of the Novel.

In her own research of oceanic studies, Cohen explores the importance of diversity and reality in marine environments. She tapped into the Internet Archive to fact-check information for A Cultural History of the Sea, (Bloomsbury, April 2021), a six-volume series that she edited chronicling the vital role oceans have played over time.

In researching her upcoming book, The Underwater Eye: How the Movie Camera Opened the Depths and Unleashed New Realms of Fantasy to be published by Princeton University Press, Cohen said the Wayback Machine was critical in confirming sources on websites that were no longer live.

Punch, 1879, Vol 76

The Sci-Fi/Horror collection of the Internet Archive has been useful to Cohen in teaching a course on Gothic film—especially since YouTube recently took down many of its films in that genre, she said.

Much of the material Cohen is looking for is in the public domain (such as Punch, a satirical British magazine that dates back to the mid-1800s ) but the documents are fragile because of their age. She has also  appreciated being able to borrow classic books of literary criticism, such as the collection on novel studies that supports her graduate course, Genres of the Novel. 

 “People’s time is limited and having access to this material facilitates scholarship,” Cohen said of the benefits of digitized documents. “I understand why publishers need to make money and I publish myself, but free access to information, particularly for nonprofit use, is a gift.”

Now Accepting SMS Donations

As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, the Internet Archive is able to survive, thrive, and grow thanks to the generosity of our donors. That’s why we’re happy to announce the launch of a new way to donate easily from anywhere: SMS giving! 

Simply text ARCHIVE to 44321 and you’ll receive a secure link that you can use to make a gift. You can select a preset amount or enter your own, and choose whether to set up a monthly donation or make a one-time contribution. Payments can be sent via credit card, Google Pay/Apple Pay, or by connecting your bank account directly.

Of course, you can also still donate by visiting archive.org/donate, using cryptocurrency, making a legacy bequest, and more—here’s a list of all the ways you can give. There are also plenty of other ways you can help out if a financial contribution isn’t possible right now.

Our work is only possible because of the support of our community—and we’re deeply grateful for the generosity of our patrons. Thank you for helping us advance Universal Access to All Knowledge!

Graduate Student: Internet Archive an “absolutely indispensable resource”

Although Casey Patterson spent much of the COVID-19 lockdown in a dank San Francisco basement apartment, he says he felt lucky in many ways.

The graduate student in English from Stanford University stayed healthy and—despite not having physical access to a library—was able to research his dissertation, teach classes, and prepare for job interviews. This was possible because of online access to materials through the Internet Archive.

Graduate student and educator, Casey Patterson

Patterson, who is entering the sixth year of his doctoral program, offered to teach an online African American literature class to undergraduates as soon as COVID-19 shut down the campus and the university shifted to virtual instruction.

“I just felt a degree of duty to sign up for a lot of teaching. I wanted to be able to support students and knew the transition to online education was going to be rocky,” said Patterson, who also taught an Intro to Black Studies course during the pandemic. “It was chaotic. Obviously, we had a really tough time trying to figure out how to keep students engaged and make education a humane process.”

Instead of expecting students to buy several books, and without the ability for them to check out books in a library, Patterson turned to the Internet Archive. Patterson found works of Black critics such as Toni Morrison and C.L.R. James and their writings about 19th century authors Edgar Allen Poe and Herman Melville to use in class. He downloaded classics including Moby Dick and Huckleberry Finn to the Canvas learning management system and made them immediately available to students.

“Using the Internet Archive, I could lay hands on basically everything I needed. It was an absolutely indispensable resource at the time.”

Casey Patterson, graduate student

“It’s super helpful when you’re asking students to read 10 short passages from three different novels,” Patterson said of using the Internet Archive. “It would be cruel to ask them to buy all of the books or track them down to the library. This way you put them right at the students’ fingertips.”

Patterson also relied on text from the Internet Archive for his own research. For his dissertation, he is examining the role of educational history as a way of understanding African American literary studies and the institutionalization of Black studies as a discipline.

This spring, he interviewed for an academic job in which he was asked to prepare a lesson plan syllabus for a teaching demonstration. Having access to The Book of American Negro Poetry, works of African-American poet Phillis Wheatley, and essays by Alice Walker enabled Patterson to put together materials from the convenience of his apartment on a tight deadline.

Selection of poems by Georgia Douglas Johnson from “The Book of American Negro Poetry” (1922).

“Using the Internet Archive, I could lay hands on basically everything I needed,” Patterson said. “It was an absolutely indispensable resource at the time,” he says.

In the summer of 2019, Patterson had used the Internet Archive in his Fandom research, another area of interest. He’d run across a citation to a website that was no longer available online and was able to track it down through the Wayback Machine. But since the pandemic, Patterson says he’s come to value the Internet Archive for its collection of primary sources.

“Knowledge is for everybody. The more we can do to break down the barriers that make it inaccessible, the better off everyone is,” said Patterson. “The Internet Archive is one great example of how we can do that almost with a click of a button.”

Reading Online Books a “Highlight” for Students During Pandemic

Motivating students to stay engaged with online instruction can take some creativity.

Working at a special education learning center in Los Angeles, Luca Messarra found the promise of choosing a book to read for fun after a lesson kept his 9- to 11-year-old kids going. Although access to physical books was limited during the pandemic, he found digital versions in the Internet Archive that made all the difference.

Educator and graduate student Luca Messarra.

Messarra’s individual work with students moved online in March 2020, in the early days of the pandemic. He continued to help them learn to read and write by doing drills remotely, using online instruction materials provided by the learning center. It did not have access to digital works of fiction, but Messarra says those were the books that most excited the students.

“That was the most fun because it was an opportunity for them to see the fruits of their labor. They could read a book, finally,” says the 25-year-old who lives in Palo Alto. “It’s far more entertaining to read a book than to do drills over and over again. That was the highlight for a lot of students—to finally be able to read a book of their own choosing.”

Since wrapping up his job at the learning center, Messarra has been enrolled in a graduate English program at Stanford University where he is specializing in digital humanities and postcolonialism.

Looking back on his teaching experience during the pandemic, Messarra says he values the resources from the Internet Archive. “It was incredibly helpful and quite essential to boost the morale of students. They were bored and frustrated because of the pandemic,” he says. “For one of my students, it was his goal to read Harry Potter. Once he was able to read it, he was super excited and eventually bought the book because he was having such a good time.”

Reflecting on 9/11: Twenty Years of Archived TV News – Special Event and Resources

On Thursday, September 9, the Internet Archive will host an online webinar, “Reflecting on 9/11: Twenty Years of Archived TV News” Learn from scholars, journalists, archivists, and data scientists about the importance of archived television for gaining insights into our evolving understanding of history and society.

Participants include the Internet Archive, The American Archive of Public Broadcasting, and The Vanderbilt Television News Archive. Speakers will include Roger Macdonald (Founder, Internet Archive’s TV News Archive), Jim Duran (Director, Vanderbilt Television News Archives), Karen Cariani (David O. Ives Executive Director, GBH Archives and GBH Project Director, American Archive of Public Broadcasting), Kalev Leetaru (Founder, Global Database of Events, Language and Tone Project), and Philip Bump (Washington Post national correspondent focused largely on the numbers behind politics)

Please register in advance for the September 9 webinar (11:00 AM – 12:30 PM PDT)

Journalists and scholars: as you prepare 20th anniversary 9/11 reporting and analysis, these unique resources are available:

  • Internet Archive’s 9/11 Television News Archive – a browsable library of TV news from U.S. and international broadcasters from 19 networks, over seven days, from the morning of September 11 through September 17, 2001. Contact: Josh Baran 917-797-1799
  • The Vanderbilt Television News Archive (VTNA) – Founded in 1968, the Archive’s collection includes TV news of attacks on 9/11/2001 coverage during the following weeks broadcast by ABC, NBC, CBS and CNN. Over 270 hours of footage is available for viewing and research. The VTNA records and preserves national television broadcasts of the evening news on ABC, CBS, and NBC with the addition of the primetime news program on CNN in 1995 and the Fox News Channel in 2004. In addition to these nightly recordings, the VTNA also monitors television news networks for breaking live events. Contact: Jim Duran – 615-936-4019  
  • The American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) marks the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks by releasing a new 9/11 Special Coverage Collection of 68 public television and radio programs from stations across the country covering the events of the attacks and the aftermath. Among the featured programs are coverage of 9/11 and its anniversaries by The Newshour with Jim Lehrer, the PBS News Hour, and much more. The AAPB is a collaboration between Boston public media producer GBH and the Library of Congress to preserve and make accessible culturally significant public media programs from across the country. Contact: Emily Balk, GBH External Communications Manager – 617-300-5317
Interface for browsing TV news on 19 networks – September 11, 2001 through September 17th – Internet Archive

Background:

  • 500+ archived 9/11-related websites curated by The National September 11 Memorial Museum using the Internet Archive’s Archive-It service
  • Internet Archive’s Open Library offers a list of 2,630 published works about the 9/11 attack
  • A decade ago, on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, NYU’s Department of Cinema Studies hosted a conference that featured work by scholars using television news materials to help us understand how TV news presented the events of 9/11 and the international response. “Learning from Recorded Memory”
  • This fall, the Internet Archive celebrates its 25th anniversary.
  • The Internet Archive’s TV News Archive repurposes closed captioning as a search index for nearly three million hours of U.S. local and national TV news (2,239,000+ individual shows) from mid-2009 to the present. The public interest library is dedicated to facilitating journalists, scholars, and the public to compare, contrast, cite, and borrow specific portions of the collection. Advanced quantitive analysis opportunities and data visualizations are available via the collaborating GDELT Project’s Television Explorer and AI Television Explorer.
  • Roger Macdonald, founder of the Internet Archive’s TV News Archive, is available for background interviews and to help journalists access the archive.

Internet Archive 9/11 Event and Resources Media Contact:  pressinfo@archive.org

Back to School with the Internet Archive: Fall 2021

Back in March 2020, teachers were asking themselves a nearly unthinkable question: “How are we going to get books in students’ hands with our schools & libraries closed?” We’ve heard from hundreds of teachers about the challenges they faced in connecting remote learners with books during COVID. Here is their story:

And here we are in August of 2021, with another school year about to start, and educators are still asking this same question. As a nonprofit dedicated to Universal Access to All Knowledge, the Internet Archive provides a number of free resources for parents, students, teachers, and librarians around the world. Check out these tools for remote learning:

Curated Collections

  • Our site is packed with free, kid-friendly learning resources
  • Looking for ways to bring diverse representation into your classroom reading? Find books that support the LGBT+ community in Open Library.
  • In 2015, ten-year-old Marley Dias set out to increase representation of books in which black girls are the main character with her #1000BlackGirlBooks campaign. Inspired by Marley, we want to support schools to make learning more inclusive. Find more than 300 of the curated titles in our library. 

Lesson Plans

  • Looking for lesson plans? Browse our collection to find detailed notes on hundreds of books and themes this summer, including Gulliver’s Travels and Don Quixote.
  • Do your students struggle with math? Online tutor The Math Sorcerer has put together a list of math books and resources for self-studying, covering a range of topics and abilities. Borrow the books and help your students gain confidence with math.

Tips for Using Our Library

How long can I borrow a book? How many books can I check out at once? Find all the information you need to know about borrowing books from the lending library in our online tutorials and get reading!

Learn More

Follow #LearnWithIA on Twitter throughout the month of August for additional tips & resources!

Supreme Court of Canada Reaffirms Public Access as a “Primary Goal of Copyright”

The Supreme Court of Canada has decided the much-anticipated York University v. Access Copyright case, reaffirming—in an unanimous opinion—that “public access to and dissemination of artistic and intellectual works” are “a primary goal of copyright.” We join our friends at the Canadian Association of Research Libraries, CIPPIC, and all throughout Canada in applauding this important decision.

The Access Copyright case was centered around the question whether educational institutions in Canada were required to pay certain tariffs to Access Copyright. Access Copyright had argued that its tariffs were mandatory for educational institutions, and recently attempted to raise them from $3.38 to $45 per student, per year, along with a variety of other changes. In response, York University argued that its use was fair dealing and, as a result, that it was not required to pay a tariff or any other fee for such use. After a lengthy court battle, the Supreme Court of Canada has now ruled in favor of York, holding that the tariffs are not mandatory and emphasizing the importance of “protect[ing] users from the potentially unfair exertion of . . . market power” by big copyright interests like Access Copyright.

While the Court did not address the specifics of York’s own fair dealing, it was sure to emphasize “the nature of fair dealing as a user’s right” in Canada. As the Court explained:

Copyright law has public interest goals. . . . [T]he public benefits of our system of copyright are much more than “a fortunate by-product of private entitlement” [citation omitted].  Instead, increasing public access to and dissemination of artistic and intellectual works, which enrich society and often provide users with the tools and inspiration to generate works of their own, is a primary goal of copyright. “Excessive control by holders of copyrights and other forms of intellectual property may unduly limit the ability of the public domain to incorporate and embellish creative innovation in the long-term interests of society as a whole” (Théberge v. Galerie d’Art du Petit Champlain inc., [2002] 2 S.C.R. 336, at para. 32, per Binnie J.).

York University v Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency (Access Copyright), 2021 SCC 32

Copyright can only serve its true purpose when due attention is given to user’s rights and the public interest. But all too often, in courts around the world, the public interest is not fairly addressed. The Access Copyright decision helps ensure that Canadian courts do not make this mistake; as Professor Michael Geist has noted, it “removes any doubt that the Supreme Court remains strongly supportive of user’s rights in copyright.”

Internet Archive Can Provide a New Home for your Beloved Books & Media: Details on Making a Physical Donation

When Marygrove College closed, they donated the entire library to the Internet Archive for preservation & digitization.

During the pandemic, perhaps you have been cleaning out some bookshelves in your house. Or maybe you are a librarian, planning to be back in your building for the first time in more than a year and restarting collection management activities.

If you are wondering what to do with your excess materials, the Internet Archive can help. The nonprofit library accepts donation books, records (CDs, LPs, 45rpm, 78rpm, cylinders), films, and microforms that it does not already have in its collection. The Archive preserves one copy of everything it receives and tries to find good homes for duplicates. Then, as funding allows, the Archive digitizes the materials and helps them reach a wider audience online.

“No donation is too far away or small to be considered by the Internet Archive.”

Liz Rosenberg, donations manager, Internet Archive

At a recent webinar, staff from the Archive explained the process for donating and  encouraged the public’s help as it works to provide universal access to everything ever published.

“No donation is too far away or small to be considered by the Internet Archive,” said Liz Rosenberg, donations manager. She has helped coordinate donations of entire libraries, including collections from Marygrove College in Detroit and Bay State College’s Boston Campus.

Donation Process

To find out more about what’s involved with physical donations, Rosenberg suggests going to the Help page for details about shipping instructions or dropping off donations smaller than about 20 boxes. All others are asked to complete a physical item donation form to provide all the information to make a larger donation happen, including where the items are located, an accurate count, and other special considerations for the offer.

Part of the donation of 18,000 records from a collector in Washington D.C.

Once submitted, staff begin the planning process to determine if the collection is in a format that can be accepted, if there are duplicates, and the project timeline. Arrangements then can be made for packing and shipping. In the case of larger collections, the Archive typically is able to provide assistance with transportation costs.

Sometimes donors pack their own items and then the Archive pays for the shipping. That was the case for a recent donation of 18,000 records from a music enthusiast in Washington D.C. The donor was looking for a “forever home” for his beloved vinyl and the Archive was happy to schedule a pickup and preserve the rare collection, Rosenberg said.

Why Donate?

For donations of 50 or more items, the Archive can create a collection to both honor the donor and make their donation accessible all in one place. “The ability to access all of their media in one place really reassures our donors that they will still have access to their items even once they’re no longer in their physical possession,” said Rosenberg. Some stories behind major contributions are covered by the Archive in its blog.

Better World Books, a socially responsible bookstore that has a longstanding relationship with the Internet Archive, regularly donates books for preservation and digitization. It receives many of its books from library partners around the world. The Archive accepts many materials that BWB will not.

Internet Archive team members having fun with the task of packing & shipping an entire library collection from Bay State College.

“We love more than anything to get large collections—entire intellectual units, such as a reference collection that is curated,” said Chris Freeland, a librarian who works at the Archive. “It helps us round out our collection, and helps our patrons. If someone has a collection that no longer fits their collection development priorities, think of Better World Book or the Internet Archive for those materials.”

The Archive is open to over-sized items, such as maps, and books that do not have to have an ISBN number. What about loose periodicals? The Archive does not want a few scattered issues but does have interest in long runs of a magazine.

Once digitized, patrons with print disabilities can access the materials and some are selected to be accessible via Controlled Digital Lending and for machine learning research. Together, we can achieve long term preservation and access to our collective cultural legacy.

Internet Archive Joins IDS Project for Interlibrary Loan

The Internet Archive is pleased to announce it has joined the The Information Delivery Services (IDS) Project, a mutually supportive resource-sharing cooperative whose 120 members include public and private academic libraries from across the country.  As a member of the IDS Project, the Internet Archive expands its ability to support libraries and library patrons by providing access to two million monographs and three thousand periodicals in its physical collections available for non-returnable interlibrary loan (ILL) fulfillment. 

“The Internet Archive is a wonderful addition to the IDS Project’s team of libraries.  It is a great honor to be able to help IA reach more libraries and more patrons through the integration with IDS Logic,” said Mark Sullivan, Executive Director of the IDS Project.

If you want to learn more about the IDS Project and the Internet Archive, I will be speaking at the 17th Annual IDS Summer Conference on July 29th.

In addition to the IDS Project, the Internet Archive is also piloting a program with libraries through RapidILL. If there are other resource sharing efforts that we should investigate as we expand our ILL service, please reach out to me at brewster@archive.org.

Why CDL Now? Digital Libraries Past, Present & Future

Register now: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_b4R4ayfzSj2-GIvbpabumA

Libraries have historically been trusted hubs to equalize access to credible information, a crucial role that they should continue to fill in the digital age. However, as more information is born-digital, digitized, or digital-first, libraries must build new policy, legal and public understandings about how advances in technology impact our preservation, community, and collection development practices.

This panel will bring together legal scholars Ariel Katz (University of Toronto) and Argyri Panezi (IE University Madrid/Stanford University) to discuss their work on library digital exhaustion and public service roles for digital libraries. They will be joined by Lisa Radha Weaver, Director of Collections and Program Development at Hamilton Public Library, who will discuss how library services have been transformed by digital delivery and innovation and Kyle Courtney of Library Futures/Harvard University, a lawyer/librarian who wrote the influential Statement on Controlled Digital Lending, signed by over 50 institutions. The panel will be moderated by Lila Bailey of Internet Archive.

August 3 @ 10am PT / 1pm ET
Register now: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_b4R4ayfzSj2-GIvbpabumA

Background reading