Weaving Together the Knowledge Found in Books
The Internet Archive has announced its intention to link references from 130,000 Wikipedia citations to 50,000 digitized Internet Archive books. Users will be able to check cited sources in Wikipedia entries by following links to specific pages in those digitized volumes, complete with the appropriate context of a limited number of surrounding pages. If critical to the information task, users will be permitted to borrow copies of the books through the IA's controlled digital lending practice.
The sample article referenced in the blog posting by Brewster Kahle announcing the initiative was the Wikipedia entry on Martin Luther King, Jr. As it happens, that particular entry contains more than 350 citations for information resources used in the collaboratively-authored article. The very first reference in the list is to a 2004 title by Charles Ogletree, All Deliberate Speed: Reflections on the First Half Century of Brown vs. Board of Education. The link built into the Wikipedia list of citations takes the reader directly to page 138 of Ogletree's book, with a pop-up notification that the book may be borrowed in digital form for a period of 14 days from the Archives Open Library.
The title of Kahle's post, Weaving Books Into the Web, is taken from a quote included in his post:
“What has been written in books over many centuries is critical to informing a generation of digital learners,” said Brewster Kahle, Digital Librarian of the Internet Archive. “We hope to connect readers with books by weaving books into the fabric of the web itself, starting with Wikipedia.”
Additional coverage of the Internet Archives' initiative may be seen in such publications as The Verge, Engadget, and Gizmodo. The Gizmodo article offers some hard numbers about the scanning process and its scope:
IA’s bot scans from a collection of 3.8 million books, a collection which, according to Graham, is currently being scanned by 100 paid workers at 22 worldwide locations at a rate of 1,000 books per day, with millions waiting in storage centers in California, in addition to operations out of the Getty, the Boston Public Library, the Library of Congress, and Princeton University.
The Internet Archive recently became a member of NISO's Library Standards Alliance. It is registered as a library within the State of California.