Posted by: bluesyemre | February 7, 2018

Will we finally get a national digital #PublicLibrary?

East Boston Public Library (5)

Fourth time the charm?

Since 2005, there have been three much-ballyhooed efforts to create a national digital public library for readers to access e-books just as they get physical books from their local library: easily, and for free.

None of these ambitious ventures – the Google Books initiative, the Open Content Alliance, nor the Digital Public Library of America – achieved that goal. There is still, as the former codirector of the Harvard Library Innovation Lab David Weinberger wrote in this space in 2015, “a library-shaped hole in the Internet.”

Comes now the San Francisco-based, nonprofit Internet Archive (“Our mission is to provide Universal Access to All Knowledge”), presenting an ambitious and controversial digital library program. The IA and its founder, Brewster Kahle, are famous for inventing the Wayback Machine, which claims to have archived 279 billion defunct web pages (!).

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