While roaming our storage stacks recently, I ran across a small hymnal printed in 1889. Its pages were yellowed and thin; no one had bothered with it for at least 20 years or more. But I found myself being uplifted by the content. There were no musical notes to this hymnal and most of it was not recognizable as hymns. The short stanzas seemed more like devotional readings, although at one point I did recognize the words of a hymn or two.
I was happy to discover that the Internet Archive has preserved this title online. In fact, they have digitized many other versions beyond what our library owns. And these books have been viewed hundreds of times online! So while our copy sat languishing, the digital copies were being perused and used. I felt that I had found something special that people had been missing out on seeing and using, but that was fortunately not the case! Others were finding this hymnal online and (I assume) finding joy in its words just like me. What's even better is that now I can have my own personal digital copy to keep. I can share it with many, many friends, all at the same time even. The Internet Archive offers the book in many different downloadable formats, whereas the little volume I found in our storage stacks can only ever rest in one person's library or hands.
It reminded me too of all the wonderful resources that Internet Archive is preserving. Recently someone was looking for DVDs with old newsreel clips, as were often shown in theaters before the movie. And we do have several DVDs with these clips. But it turns out, Internet Archive also has many of these newsreels online. And the Internet Archive is much easier to search when looking for specific content. So with the Olympics coming up I looked for newsreels about the Olympics and found this. So fun! But be careful: you could spend a whole snowy day, and night, exploring once you get started!
Internet Archive is a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites, and more.
Over the years, As You Like It has featured a few book reviews of a unique items digitized by the Internet Archive -- here's your chance to read them now if you missed them the first time around:
What does Jaegermeister have to do with a book review? Originally posted on October 9, 2015, Jeff S calls our attention to a beautifully illustrated book on the raptors of Germany and Central Europe.
Delightful discovery via digitizing. Originally posted on February 5, 2015, Jeff S shares an insider's story of finding a previously unknown letter written by Daniel Boone when preparing to digitize an older book about Kentucky.
Beloved in America, not so much in France. Originally posted on January 21, 2015, a digitization project of French pamphlets from the French Revolution, leads Jeff S to a more current book in ACPL's collection.
And this post provides a detailed look at the Internet Archive:
Preserving information for generations to come. Originally posted on August 21, 2013 this post written by Becky C includes a behind-the-scenes look at the Internet Archive. Photos!