In this presentation, Kahle discusses the importance of the Internet Archive for ensuring unimpeded access to information. As part of this, Kahle showcases the importance of the Wayback Machine function of the Internet Archive, which stores archive versions of the websites and web pages that no longer exist, in order to ensure that authors are able to quote from electronic sources long after they go offline. This is particularly critical for Wikipedia, that, due to its reliance on volunteer authors, has accumulated, over the past years, millions of links to external sources that are currently broken and are in need of updating with resources that are only available at the Internet Archive.
The Internet Archive is also an important resource for copies of academic books. This is of special importance for maintaining continued access to digital versions of publications that are no longer in demand by their readerships or are overly costly to retain in university library collections. In their efforts to continuously renew their holdings, academic libraries are also likely to seek to periodically reduce the size of their physical collections, for which digital archives are likely to be a preferred option for both maintaining access to book titles that are no longer stored on library stacks and ensuring that rare or out-of-print works can be integrated electronically into borrowing solutions that academic libraries offer to their diverse constituencies, such as registered readers and the general public.
Likewise, the Internet Archive can serve as a repository for books that in their physical form are likely to undergo recycling by commercial book sellers or distributors that constantly optimize the usage of their storage capacities, while being in need of making frequent decisions on which titles to retain in their stocks and which are to be disposed of. Digital collections and archives eliminate the pressures of making binary choices of this type by making it possible to preserve the knowledge that these low-demand books hold in an electronic form for the benefit of libraries, universities and researchers alike.
By Pablo Markin
Featured Image Credits: Internet Archive, October 8, 2010 | © Courtesy of Beatrice Murch/Flickr.