I was invited to participate in the 2016 Library Leaders Forum[1] which took place at the Internet Archive (IA) in San Francisco the last week of October. John Jay is a digitization partner with the IA, with which we have so far digitized 823 books, serial issues and pamphlets readable on their platform.[2] The first day was a celebration of the 20th birthday of the IA. Subsequent days gave us a deep dive into all the IA projects, which included their well-known website archive called “Wayback Machine” as well as the machines which provide microfilm, audio, film and book digitization. We were also introduced to the newly launched Political Ad Archive[3], which provides searchable coverage of the 2016 election and its aftermath, and GifCities: The GeoCities Animated GIF Search Engine.[4] We also learned about IA initiatives in research data management, website preservation and imaging standards. The forum included a diverse mix which included librarians, data archivists, technology specialists, lawyers, programmers and digital curators.

Take-aways from this conference are services that the Lloyd Sealy Library might consider using, should staff and funding become available, to solve some thorny digitization needs beyond books, which we will continue to digitize with the IA. Possibilities include using the IA’s “Archive It” to digitally preserve John Jay College webpages and submitting video in the College Archives to be preserved on the Moving Image Archive.[5] There is also the possibility of using the IA for digitizing microfilm in our collection, including our Criminal Trial Transcript Collection.

Some libraries have been using the Internet Archive to make post-1923 books that they physically own, digitally available using the IA Open Library[6] platform to lend them to one user at a time. This was called the 1/1/1 rule meaning one physical book can make one digital book which is lent to one user at a time. This has been particularly helpful for making print books digitally available in DAISY format to blind, low vision or other accessibility challenged readers, which has been interpreted as allowed by copyright law. An informative session on copyright implications of such practices was led by Michelle Wu, Law Librarian and Professor, Georgetown University Law Library and Lila Bailey, a legal counsel to the Internet Archive.

The conference included many opportunities to contribute to and shape the Internet Archive’s vision for Libraries in 2020. A white paper on this vision, written by IA founder and director Brewster Kahle – who called it version 0.0 - has been distributed for comment. Links to these and other resources on these topics are provided here: libraryleadersforum.org/learn-more.

I am available to discuss past, present and future Library digitization efforts with any interested member of the John Jay College community. We want these efforts to be helpful and relevant to the curriculum, criminal justice research and our collections as well as responsive to the needs of our patrons as we too move toward 2020. Please email me.


1. libraryleadersforum.org

2. archive.org/details/johnjaycollegeofcriminaljustice

3. politicaladarchive.org

4. blog.archive.org/2016/11/01/gifcities-the-geocities-animated-gif-search-engine

5. archive.org/details/movies

6. OpenLibrary.org

See also: Thorough report on the program from Yasmin Alnoamany

Photo of Library Leaders 2016 participants taken from the ceiling of Internet Archives Headquarters (posted by the IA on Twitter). The IA recently bought and moved into this former church because it looks just like their 20 year old logo (in center of photo).

Ellen Belcher


Read more from the Fall 2016 issue of Classified Information, the Library newsletter