San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) December 21, 2006
The Internet Archive's efforts to digitize content and make it freely accessible online has received a tremendous boost from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The foundation is awarding Internet Archive a grant to bring historic collections from eminent cultural institutions online without any restrictions on their use. In addition to winning this grant, the Internet Archive through its work supporting Open Content Alliance principles of free and open access to knowledge has reached a milestone of 100,000 digitalized books now publicly available at http://www.archive.org.
"The Sloan Foundation is proud to support the digitization of these high-value collections from five of the nation's leading cultural institutions and to ensure that these materials will always be available through public channels for future use," said Doron Weber, Program Director of Public Understanding of Science and Technology at the Sloan Foundation. "Brewster Kahle and the Internet Archive are pioneers in this exciting and historic opportunity to create a universal digital library that is both open-access and non-proprietary. The capability to digitize all recorded human knowledge now exists for the first time, and it is important that we seize this moment and ensure that public works and the public domain at large remain in the hands of the public."
Scanning materials under open principles allows cultural institutions to ensure the preservation and public access to their holdings in digital form. With the new funding, several historical and influential collections will be added to the open library.
These collections include:
- Boston Public Library: The John Adams collection, which is the complete personal library of the Founding Father, lifelong book collector and second President of the United States.
- The Getty Research Institute: Major collection of books on art and architecture and an alternate collection on the performing arts.
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art: The archive of publications issued by the Metropolitan Museum through the present.
- Bancroft Library of the University of California at Berkeley: Key primary texts documenting the California Gold Rush and Western expansion.
- Johns Hopkins University Libraries: The James Birney Collection of Anti-Slavery materials.
"This rare collection of anti-slavery materials, first presented to Johns Hopkins for preservation in 1891, has tremendously far reaching value for the scholarly community as well as for increasing the general public's understanding of our nation's history," said Winston Tabb, Sheridan Dean of University Libraries at Johns Hopkins University. "We are thrilled to be able to extend its preservation digitally through partnering with the Internet Archive, whose commitment to keeping knowledge freely accessible will ensure that this wealth of historical writing can enable others to learn from and build upon it, for the benefit of our society."
"Fortunately, many great libraries are weighing the alternatives and choosing to go open instead of putting public domain materials under perpetual restrictions," said Brewster Kahle, digital librarian and Founder of Internet Archive. "With the support of the Sloan Foundation and the addition of new members we are more certain than ever that the brightest future for knowledge is one in which information is shared openly."
The Internet Archive has made over 100,00 books available in little over a year since the announcement of the formation of the Open Content Alliance (OCA) in October 2005. The collection brings together books from over a dozen libraries in Canada, the United States and India and was digitized at University of Toronto, University of California and various Indian libraries. While the books are hosted by Internet Archive, these volumes are also available to be indexed by any search engine following OCA's philosophy concerning open access of digitized content.
About Internet Archive:
Internet Archive is a 501(c) non-profit organization headquartered in San Francisco, California, with facilities also in Amsterdam and Alexandria, Egypt. It was founded in 1996 with a mission to build an "Internet library" providing permanent access for researchers, historians, and scholars to historical collections that exist in digital form. Built on open source software developed by Internet Archive and the International Internet Preservation Consortium, Internet Archive itself is the largest publicly available web archive in existence. It currently archives 65 billion pages from 50 million websites worldwide, including texts, audio recordings, moving images and software as well as archived web pages.
About the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation:
The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, founded in 1934, makes grants in science, technology and the quality of American life. A relatively new program, Universal Access to Recorded Knowledge seeks to increase access to recorded human knowledge by encouraging digitization of material in the public domain, assuring archiving of this material as well as more recent knowledge on the Internet and fostering the availability of books on demand.
In addition to its support of the Internet Archive and the Open Content Alliance, Sloan has also supported the Library of Congress, the Biodiversity Heritage Library, the New Orleans Public Library and On-Demand Book Machines. The Sloan program is led by Doron Weber, Program Director for Public Understanding of Science and Technology, which includes books, radio, public television, commercial television and film, theater and new media.
Media and Analyst Contact:
Pia Chatterjee for Internet Archive