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posted by Fnord666 on Sunday March 29 2020, @06:31AM   Printer-friendly
from the reading-is-fundamental dept.

Internet Archive offers 1.4 million copyrighted books for free online

One of the casualties of coronavirus-related social distancing measures has been public libraries, which are shut down in many communities around the world. This week, the Internet Archive, an online library best known for running the Internet's Wayback Machine, announced a new initiative to expand access to digital books during the pandemic.

For almost a decade, an Internet Archive program called the Open Library has offered people the ability to "check out" digital scans of physical books held in storage by the Internet Archive. Readers can view a scanned book in a browser or download it to an e-reader. Users can only check out a limited number of books at once and are required to "return" them after a limited period of time.

Until this week, the Open Library only allowed people to "check out" as many copies as the library owned. If you wanted to read a book but all copies were already checked out by other patrons, you had to join a waiting list for that book—just like you would at a physical library.

Of course, such restrictions are artificial when you're distributing digital files. Earlier this week, with libraries closing around the world, the Internet Archive announced a major change: it is temporarily getting rid of these waiting lists.

"The Internet Archive will suspend waitlists for the 1.4 million (and growing) books in our lending library by creating a National Emergency Library to serve the nation's displaced learners," the Internet Archive wrote in a Tuesday post. "This suspension will run through June 30, 2020, or the end of the US national emergency, whichever is later."


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  • (Score: 5, Informative) by TheReaperD on Sunday March 29 2020, @09:21AM (1 child)

    by TheReaperD (5556) on Sunday March 29 2020, @09:21AM (#976888)

    Oh yes. For groups that want things that are harmful or contrary to society know: 'Never let a good tragedy go to waste.' The reason they were able to pass the US PATRIOT act so quickly was because law enforcement and intelligence agencies had a wish list ready for the right tragedy that would allow them to pass it unquestioned. We went to war in Iraq the second time because Cheney and company were waiting for the perfect opportunity to settle an old grudge with Saddam Hussein, illegally seize an OPEC oil field, and turn a profit doing it. Did any of them cause 9/11? Outside of the opinions of the unhinged, no, they didn't. They just didn't let the opportunity go to waste. They were prepared for the day the Twin Towers were stuck down, even though they didn't know that's what the event would be. The same thing is happening right now with the Coronavirus pandemic. It'll take a while before we discover it all. One I already know of is the EPA suspending environmental rules [blogspot.com] such as requiring oil companies to monitor and repair oil pipelines that are/may be leaking into water supplies. This request was made by the American Petroleum Institute, of course.

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  • (Score: 2) by bzipitidoo on Sunday March 29 2020, @01:50PM

    by bzipitidoo (4388) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 29 2020, @01:50PM (#976924) Journal

    Yeah, I heard about that EPA move.

    How about, abortions being deemed not medically necessary? Abortion clinics are to preserve their medical supplies for Coronavirus victims.

    However, Americans should keep going to work, because the economy depends on it. And, that's face time, not just telecommute.

    But I think the bad bull that is being cleared away will outweigh the curtailment of the good. One thing telecommuting revealed is just how much most companies distrust their workers. They'll cite all sort of other reasons why telecommuting is no good, but in the main, it's their fundamental slave-driving mentality that people are naturally lazy and must be constantly watched and goaded to get work done.

    It's about time this publishing artificial scarcity bull was ended. I've used the Open Library before. "Checked out" a book, copied it by taking screen shots, and "returned" it less than an hour later. It was incredibly silly. Felt like I was in a Monty Python sketch, Ministry of Silly Book Borrowing Rituals.

    I wonder if we can at last say bye-bye to the printed sales receipt. Stupid, BPA coated, archaic "proof" of a sale that's a pain to manage when you have hundreds.... I never used to use the back pockets of my pants, then I realized that was an excellent place to stick a receipt. That is, as long as I don't forget to take them out before throwing the pants in the wash.