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Internet Archive Celebrates 25 Years

One thing must be said about the Zoomtimes: location, location, location. I live in Oakland, where drought has plagued us in Northern California for years. The United States Drought Monitor website shows that we are experiencing Exceptional Drought here. So, when the rains were heading into the Bay Area around sunset on Thursday, I enjoyed listening to the Internet Archive’s gala celebration of 25 years, I was accompanied by orange/pink/grey clouds in my neighborhood.

It was a pleasure to hear the familiar voices of Brewster Kahle and Cory Doctrow whom I’ve met at various tech events in the Bay Area. I stopped in my tracks when a fellow Minnesotan, Anneteke Adoga, was introduced. Bob Dylan, Prince, Judy Garland, and Amy Klobuchar move over! This young woman’s talk, “From the TikTok Generation. Your Attention Please,” reminded me that digital (mostly social) media can be a useful tool rather than a destructive weapon. Yes, the weapon/tool dichotomy lives on TikTok too. Adoga’s uplifting strength diminished my dystopian fears as I enjoyed the flame-colored sky in Oakland. She articulately spells out how her prize-winning speech drew ad hominem barbs about her socioeconomic status and appearance. The intricacy of her ideas is precisely what we need as a society if we are going to maintain democracy. Discuss and bridge rather than rant and divide.

Speaking of fire… this morning I finished reading Richard Ovenden’s Burning the Books: A History of the Deliberate Destruction of Knowledge,  which issues a terrifyingly detailed account of how quickly and easily—and often brutally—a culture’s memory can be destroyed. In the chapter titled “The Digital Deluge,” Ovenden praises the Internet Archive’s ability to scrape and save websites through its massive Wayback Machine. Ovenden’s only concern about the Internet Archive is the organization’s “long-term sustainability.”

Me too. I round up my PayPal purchases with a donation to them (and my Lyft rounding up goes to Black Girls Code). You do not need to make your donations in drips and drabs. Help the Internet Archive in its mission to provide universal access to all knowledge directly.

I was looking for the Internet Archive’s mission statement and my new search engine (Neeva) led me to Jill Lepore’s 2015 New Yorker profile of this heroic non-profit. How appropriate that my favorite cartoonist’s work ties into the theme of this post!