Giovanni Damiola has just been added as a speaker for Saturday’s Celebration of Hackers and Whistleblowers. He will say a few words about how he and Jessamyn West have been working on the Open Library project this past year. The Open Library was one of Aaron’s first projects, right after Creative Commons.
Giovanni was a hacker at last year’s San Francisco Aaron Swartz Day
Hackathon. He ended up getting a job at the Internet Archive shortly after last year’s event, and has now taken on Aaron’s beloved Open Library project, which attempts to create “a page for every book” in existence. Giovanni revamped the site to be more stable, and a re-index found 500,000 books, authors and editions lying around. Here’s an up to date “status report“ on the project from Librarian Jessamyn West. It’s also a project you can hack on at the hackathon this weekend.
The Open Library lends books to people in countries with no public libraries, and Jessamyn frequently uses Google translate just to read and reply to email from all over the world.
Although originally envisioned by Aaron as providing, “a page for every book, so you can find the book, so you can buy it, or borrow it, it’s become much more than that, and is, in fact, a lifeline to information for many countries.
As Jessamyn explains, “I was around when Open Library was first getting started, and I think the people who built it and designed it were way ahead of their time. I’m really happy to get to carry-on Aaron’s legacy of sharing as much as possible to as many people as possible.”