Lisa Rein: I wanted to get right to our speakers, because we have a lot of them. I did want to let you know John Perry Barlow unfortunately can’t make it tonight. He is in the hospital. He’s doing better. He had a pericardial effusion surgery that was completely successful. So I wanted to let everybody know before they had a chance to worry too much that he’s on the mend and he gives his regards. He’s sorry he couldn’t be here, but he’s definitely here in spirit.
Alison Macrina is on an airplane, or hopefully landing already by now, and she hopefully will be speaking tonight, just in a little different order than we had planned. So hopefully she’s going to come and tell us all about the awesome Library Freedom Project. I wanted to make sure you knew about them.
Next I have Giovanni Damiola, who has resurrected, with a team including Jessamyn C. West, they have revamped the Open Library Project that Aaron started when he was 16. It was actually his first big project after Creative Commons.
The first that that happened when they sort of cleaned house a little bit was they found 500,000 books lying around in there that were now part of the index. So a half-million book payoff right away for picking things back up. He’s going to tell you a little bit about the project.
Giovanni Damiola: Hi, everyone. I never met Aaron in person, but I was deeply inspired by his work and ideas, like many other hackers and activists all over the world. So last year it was natural for me to come here to the Internet Archive for the hackathon to remember Aaron, celebrate his birthday, and do some good coding, and keep his ideas alive. And like today it was very exciting to meet a lot of people and work together in the morning Saturday on Aaron’s projects like SecureDrop or HTTPS Everywhere.
During the hackathon, Brewster invited me to come for an interview and eventually they hired me to work here on the Internet Archive. I’m very happy and honored to find myself working for this great organization and to be the engineer in charge of keeping Aaron’s beloved project Open Library up and running, a huge wiki with the goal to have a web page for every book ever published. That is a great goal to work for.
Tonight I am very happy to say that Open Library is healthy, with more than 9 million visitors every month, serving and reaching the metadata of more than 25 million editions, 6 million authors, and we even serve 7 million covers through an API. We are also lending books at the rate of 3 per minute, allowing users to read books in digital format, including for the print-disabled community. And I think that Aaron would be happy to know that Open Library is giving access to thousands of books to people with no access to public libraries all over the world, making possible browsing from book to book, from person to author, subject to ideas, making all this knowledge accessible to everyone from Italy to Indiana, from India to Peru.
And here in the Internet Archive we really love books. We scan around 800 books every day and we really love Open Library. We’re still looking for volunteers and curious and smart engineers that want to work with us and help us to continue with this work. And we are doing great things, so come visit us.
Thank you, everyone.