MacArthur 100&Change: Internet Archive—Bringing Libraries & 4 Million Books Digital
Today, people get their information online—often filtered through for-profit platforms. If a book isn’t online, it’s as if it doesn’t exist. Yet much of modern knowledge still lives only on the printed page, stored in libraries. Libraries haven’t met this digital demand, stymied by costs, e-book restrictions, policy risks, and missing infrastructure. We now have the technology and legal frameworks to transform our library system by 2020. The Internet Archive, working with library partners, proposes bringing 4 million books online, through purchase or digitization, starting with the books most widely held and used in libraries and classrooms. Our plan includes at-scale circulation of these e-books, enabling libraries owning the physical works to circulate digital copies. By 2020, we can spark a new “Carnegie moment” in which thousands of libraries unlock their analog collections for a new generation of learners, enabling free, long-term, public access to knowledge.