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Music Nostalgia Technology Video

Internet Archive: Free Media

internetarchiveContinuing our series on the Internet Archive, I figured we’d start with the obvious bits. At the Internet Archive, you have access to a wide variety of public domain or owner-donated texts, audio, videos, and photos. That’s right, it’s just a like a library online, because that’s exactly what it is!

There are over 8 million texts available to browse or download in eBook formats on the Internet Archive, anything from text books for higher education to US government studies into UFO sightings. If what you’re looking for isn’t freely available for download at the Internet Archive, stop by its side-project, the Open Library for even more titles available to check out in eBook formats.

There are almost 3 million audio files available to stream or download, including voice recordings, radio shows, music, whole albums, audio books, and almost 2 hundred-thousand full live concerts. You’ll never need to buy an album or pay for a streaming music service again, unless you wanted to hear recently released music of course.

There are just over 2 million videos available to stream or download, including movies and television. If you’re feeling nostalgic, stop by the Perlinger Archives for over 6 thousand public service announcements and educational films, or perhaps almost 1 million TV news clips.

There are over 1 million images available to browse and download. From NASA Images to 16th Century artwork, it’s your history stored digitally in so many ways.

Take some time to tour the Internet Archive and see what you can find, and don’t forget, they take donations to keep everything freely available. Next time? Software!

Categories
Nostalgia Technology

The Internet Archive

internetarchiveThe Internet Archive has been one of my favorite sites for quite a few years, and many of its hidden powers are not that obvious at first glance, so I figured I might as well write up a few posts. With that said, this is part 1 of a 6 part series.

What is the Internet Archive? According to their about page:

The Internet Archive is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that was founded to build an Internet library. Its purposes include offering permanent access for researchers, historians, scholars, people with disabilities, and the general public to historical collections that exist in digital format. … Now the Internet Archive includes texts, audio, moving images, and software, as well as archived web pages in our collections.

That sure is a lot to take in, and from a non-profit organization too! In short, the Internet Archive is dedicating to digitally preserving both our physical and digital history, and making it all freely available to the world, in many ways more than any other library or museum out there. Besides its core offerings, the Internet Archive has a large number of fascinating connected projects, including Open Library and most recently Political TV Ad Archive which collects this year’s political ads and reports some fascinating data.

There sure is a lot going on at the Internet Archive, and that’s why they’re always open to donations. There are quite a few things I couldn’t do without the Internet Archive, and over the next few days (weeks?) I hope to share some of the far less obvious ones with you. For now, browse around it and see what you can discover!

Categories
Technology

The Revisionaries of Wikipedia

wikiquestionWikipedia has been with us for fourteen years, and I’m willing to bet that everyone has made use of it at least once. Perhaps some of you have even contributed content or editorial help to Wikipedia. It is, after all, the encyclopedia editable by everyone, right?

Over the past eleven years, a group of core editors has been working behind the scenes, choosing which edits live or die while handing out lifetime bans for edits they consider to be not factual (regardless of evidence). Recently, they choose to ban editors defending articles from vandalism, rather than ban the vandals themselves. Is this a reaction to the impossibility of policing an encyclopedia which is editable by the entire world? Of course, but then why advertise it as such?

The whole situation reminds me of The Revisionaries, a documentary detailing how a small group with clear biases has commanding control over exactly what and how history is portrayed in our textbooks. If you have not seen it yet, I recommend it, as it may also speak towards a grim future for Wikipedia, given recent events.

An encyclopedia editable by the entire world needs to be policed somehow, but when deciding the knowledge which is passed down, how do we trust the right choices are being made? After all, they even discard corrections from scholars accompanied by published evidence. Does this mean that established yet incorrect “facts” may never be corrected in the eyes of Wikipedia? Perhaps the problem is that too many people think of facts as a matter of opinion, not as a result of evidence.

Where do we go from here? I believe The Internet Archive is the answer. The Internet Archive does not strive to make history editable by the masses, nor does it make rulings on fact vs. fiction. The Internet Archive simply exists to preserve as much history as it can for as long as it can. If you see a book written by one man preserved in The Internet Archive, you can trust that it is the opinion of that one man. If the evidence in that book holds up, you known that opinion is indeed a fact. How much of a Wikipedia article is fact? We may never know. Everyone has their hands in Wikipedia, with one possibly biased group holding the power of final judgement.

I guess I see it as a choice between what’s more important for the future of history itself. Should it be the ability to preserve history forever, or the ability to edit history whenever we want to?