Introducing Internet Archive’s Open Library


As part of our mission to enhance discovery of and access to useful and relevant information resources for students and faculty, Milligan Libraries is pleased to now offer an embedded search interface on our website to Internet Archive’s Open Library project.

Started in 1996 with the mission to “provide Universal Access to All Knowledge,” Internet Archive is a non-profit digital repository of internet sites and other cultural artifacts, including books and texts, video, audio, software, and images. The Open Library project focuses on books and includes two primary components: an ambitious goal to build a universal online catalog of every book ever published, and providing a platform for searching and accessing millions of book holdings within Internet Archive. By linking to Open Library, Milligan Libraries instantly expands access to a vast array of book resources for our users.

Book holdings are added to Internet Archive through the digitization of print originals from library partner collections and donations. Book holdings include popular and academic titles on numerous subjects. Of particular interest, in addition to titles in the public domain (books whose copyright has expired and are freely available to the public), Internet Archive also digitizes and provides access to more recent titles that are still under copyright. (Internet Archive currently holds well over two million digitized books. Over one million of these have been published since 2000.) This access is made possible using a framework known as controlled digital lending (CDL).

For digital lending purposes operating within the legal limits of copyright fair use, CDL conceptualizes a digitized copy of a print book owned by Internet Archive (or its library partners) as if it were a physical print book. If Internet Archive owns one print copy of a book it can lend one digitized copy. While the digital copy is lent out the print copy is not circulated. Similarly, if Internet Archive owns 10 print copies of a book, it can lend up to 10 digital copies of that book at one time. Copy protection (known as Digital Rights Management, or DRM) is applied to the digital copies to prevent duplication and control borrowing by authorized users on the Open Library platform.

Getting Ready to Use Open Library

We have added an Open Library tab to the search box widget on the Milligan Libraries website homepage. (You can also select the “Internet Archive’s Open Library” link from the Resources > Specialized Resources A-L dropdown menu to go directly to Open Library.)

Before walking through a search session on Open Library there are a few setup steps to get out of the way first.

Step 1. Create a User Account. You can search the Open Library universal catalog and read public domain books using the online web browser viewer without creating a user account. However, a user account is required if you want to borrow CDL books through the online viewer, or download books to your computer or mobile device. Think of the user account as your Open Library library card. To create a user account, click on the “Sign Up” button at the top right of any Open Library page and fill out the form (click on screenshot to enlarge):

Step 2. Create an Adobe ID. As mentioned above, CDL book files (typically formatted as PDF or EPUB) on Open Library are copy protected to prevent duplication and control lending of copyrighted content. Internet Archive authenticates DRM-ed content using Adobe ID. Create an Adobe ID by signing-in here.

Step 3. Download Adobe Digital Editions and/or Bluefire Reader book reading software. You can bypass Step 2 and this step if you simply want to read books online using Internet Archive’s own web browser reader. However, dedicated software is required if you want to be able to download and read books offline. Books borrowed from Open Library are only readable on a computer or mobile device that supports Adobe ID authentication. Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) for Windows, Mac, Android, or iOS can be freely downloaded from here. An excellent alternative, Bluefire Reader for Android or iOS, can be freely downloaded from the Google Play Store or Apple App Store. ADE and Bluefire Reader are configurable to pre-authenticate with your Adobe ID.

Searching for Books on Open Library

I have been doing some research on the sixth century Roman statesman and scholar Cassiodorus. I wonder what books by or about Cassiodorus might be available on Open Library. I type “Cassiodorus” in the Open Library search box on the Milligan Libraries website homepage.

My search resolves to this results page (click on screenshot to enlarge):

At the top I see my search resulted in 183 hits. I also notice a list of facets in the far right column for ways to limit my search results in various ways (Author, Subjects, People, Times, etc.). To the right of each short result record I see large buttons variously labeled “Not in Library,” “Read,” and “Borrow.” The “Read” and “Borrow” buttons also have a headphone icon that slides over to enable a “Listen” (text to speech) option for print disabled users.

“Not in Library” indicates that a record has been created for this book as part of the universal online catalog, but a copy (or copies) of this book is not currently available on Open Library to be read or borrowed. Of interest, if I open this record, it includes a link to preview the contents of the book, and a link that pushes to the book record in Milligan Libraries’ WorldCat Discovery platform. These are very useful features. The book preview enables me to get a sense of the value of this title for my research, and pushing me into WorldCat sets up an option for me to initiate an interlibrary loan request.

“Read” indicates that the book is available on Open Library as a public domain title. Since copyright has expired on this title, absolutely no restrictions on access are imposed. The book can be freely read or downloaded without a user account.

“Borrow” indicates that at least one digital copy of the book is available on Open Library. But since this title is still under copyright, access is controlled under the controlled digital lending (CDL) framework described above. A user account is required to read or download the book. Incidentally, if all available copies of a book are currently borrowed the button changes to “Checked Out” or “Join Waitlist,” which gives me the opportunity to borrow the book once a copy is returned and made available again.

The default view shows “Everything” that resulted from my search (in this case 183 hits). However, if I click the “Ebooks” radio button at the right of the search box, Open Library only shows me a list of books that are actually available on the platform to be read or borrowed, as in this screenshot — 22 hits (click to enlarge):

Reading an Open Library Book Using the Online Web Browser Viewer

As I scroll down the list of books available to read or borrow on Open Library I see the title of a book written by Cassiodorus that I would like to read, Institutions of Divine and Secular Learning.

I click on the “Borrow” button. Since I am not currently signed-in with my Open Library user account I am prompted to enter my credentials:

Once I click the “Log In” button, the book is launched in Internet Archive’s online web browser viewer (click on screenshot to enlarge). An active internet connection is required in order to use the browser viewer for online reading:

I use the navigation slider or page turning arrows at the bottom of the screen to work my way through the book. Alternatively, I can choose a single page vertical scroll reading option. There is also a grid view for page picking, zoom in or out, full screen toggle, and text to speech audio reader.

The magnifying glass icon at the top left is for searching within the text of the book, and the ellipses icon (…) slides out to offer bookmarking, visual adjustments, sharing, and file download options (more on this in a moment).

The banner at the top of the viewer window indicates book borrowing options, and current borrowing status:

Borrowing options depend on the number of digital copies available for lending on Open Library. If there is just one copy available the book can be borrowed for only one hour at a time. (Note: As long as I continue reading, by page turns or scrolling, I do not have to return the book within the one-hour timeframe.) If Open Library has more than one available copy of a book I can borrow it for either one hour or for 14 days. Up to 10 books can be borrowed at a time. I can keep track of my book loans from my user account page. When I am done reading a borrowed book I can click the “Return now” button, which immediately frees my copy up for someone else to borrow, or I can simply let the loan period timeout on its own.

Download an Open Library Book for Offline Reading

Open Library allows downloading of public domain (“Read”) and available CDL (“Borrow”) digital books to my computer or mobile device (phone or tablet) for offline reading. As indicated in Getting Ready to Use Open Library, Steps 2 and 3 above, this capability requires the creation of an Adobe ID and the downloading and configuration of the appropriate reader software. These steps should be completed before attempting to download book files from Open Library.

I will demonstrate downloading and offline reading using the book I already have open in the online viewer above. I will be reading the book using Adobe Digital Editions. From the ellipses icon (…) I click on the “Downloadable files” option and select between an encrypted PDF or EPUB file. (PDF files retain original book pagination, while text in an EPUB file reflows depending on font size.)

I choose the PDF option, which downloads to my computer as a file labeled URLLink.acsm. You may need to browse or search on your computer or device to locate where downloaded files typically land. Look for a file with a .acsm extension. The advantage of pre-authorizing the reader software with an Adobe ID is readily apparent because launching the .acsm file will immediately launch the book in the reader:

I navigate through the book with single page vertical scrolling. I can adjust the text width or zoom for viewing comfort, and drop bookmarks. When I click on the “Library” button at the top left, Adobe Digital Editions opens a “bookshelf” view where I can see a list of my downloaded books, and time left on my loan. By right-clicking on any title in the “bookshelf” I can return the book or remove it from my library.

This tutorial is intended to help our users get started with Open Library as a remarkable resource for digital books. If we can provide you with specific assistance please do not hesitate to reach out.

11th Annual (2nd Virtual) Edible Books Festival

In many ways it feels like it’s been a very long year since we had to go virtual with the 2020 Milligan Libraries’ Edible Books Festival due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Then again, now that we’ve just concluded our 2021 Edible Books Festival, it sort-of feels odd that a whole year has passed us by already. Maybe that’s a good thing.

The festival rules are very simple. Submissions are received from the larger Milligan University community (students, alumni, faculty, staff, and family members) that are book-themed and edible. That’s it. Otherwise, we encourage creativity and we very much enjoy humor. Submissions receive votes from the community on the Most Creative, Funniest/Punniest, Overall Favorite, and (during normal years) Tastiest.

This year’s festival — our eleventh — ran from Monday-Thursday, April 12-15. Due to the lingering pandemic, we again celebrated the event virtually. Photographs of entries were submitted by the end of day on Monday and posted to the library’s Facebook page. Voting commenced on Tuesday-Wednesday (votes were cast using the appropriate emoji), and the winners were announced on Thursday.

This year, we received 14 submissions. Congratulations to former student Grace Jackson, winner of the Funniest/Punniest award for Cold Mountain Dew, and to Filo Lopez, who won both Most Creative and Overall Favorite awards for his rendition of Dante’s Inferno. (Filo is a Humanities 102 student who also submitted Dante’s Inferno as his Humanities Creativity Project.) Both winners received Dunkin’ gift cards.

You can view all the 2021 Milligan Libraries Edible Books Festival submissions on our Facebook page here. Thank you to everyone who participated.

Here’s hoping that next year we can hold the festival in person so that we can actually sample all the submissions, and cast our votes for the Tastiest!

Professor Kellie Brown’s new book reviewed in The Washington Post

Congratulations to Milligan University Music Professor, Kellie D. Brown on the publication of her new book, The Sound of Hope: Music As Solace, Resistance and Salvation During the Holocaust and World War II (McFarland, 2020)!

Milligan Libraries was pleased to host a virtual book launch party for Dr. Brown on July 24. (You can view the party on our YouTube channel here.) But to top this off, we were very excited to learn that the book has just been reviewed (on August 28, 2020) by Ms. Diane Cole in The Washington Post!

I reached out to Professor Brown to ask her how The Post found out about her book. “I really am not sure how The Post picked it up. But I am, of course, very excited. This kind of exposure creates a tipping point for an author. The wide distribution of a book review in The Washington Post coupled with the accompanying credential it endows opens doors for the book both nationally and internationally.”

I asked Brown about the premise of The Sound of Hope and the role music played during the holocaust. “Music is incredibly powerful. That is the ultimate premise of my book. It can be used to uplift and comfort, and it can also be used to manipulate and deceive. The Nazis were quite effective in their use of music as a weapon, forcing prisoners to perform to entertain the SS in concentration camps. They also used music as a practical means to cover the sounds of screaming during torture. It was also used as psychological manipulation as musicians were forced to play near gas chambers and convoy arrivals to create an appearance that ‘all was well’ for the new arrivals.

“Music was used as part of a meticulously conceived plan to deceive the Red Cross contingent who came to inspect the Terezín concentration camp. The Red Cross representatives were treated to numerous staged concerts by prisoners who were dressed up to look like they were faring well, while all the while, they were starving to death.

“But also, music featured prominently as a way to bring solace or spiritual resistance. People sang together in the cattle cars as they were transported to camps, and they sang together in defiance as they were being hauled into gas chambers. They sang or played or composed in defiance of a group of people (Nazis) who wanted to say that they did not matter, that they were subhuman and that their culture would be erased. Music served as salvation literally for many people who proved useful to the Nazis as musicians and so were kept alive and were able to see the liberation of their camps.”

Finally, other than being excited, I asked Professor Brown if she had any specific thoughts about The Washington Post review. “I think it is important to note how the reviewer is comparing the premise of my book, which is that music has a incredible power to affect and influence individuals and groups of individuals, to the way music has arisen during the pandemic as a means of comfort and solidarity. I support this to a point. I also know that whatever we are going through right now in a virus pandemic can never, nor should it be, equated with the intentional genocide of millions of people. I hope that when readers of The Sound of Hope draw a contemporary parallel that it will be with the renewed quest for racial justice that has been ignited in our country.”

More information about Dr. Kellie Brown’s book, including purchasing information, can be found at The Sound of Hope Facebook page, McFarland & Company, Inc. Publishers, and Amazon.com. Read other reviews on Goodreads.

Library continues community engagement virtually with Story Time and Finals Week Therapy Animals

Recently, I reported how Milligan Libraries successfully pivoted to holding its 10th Annual Edible Books Festival virtually after the campus was closed and classes were moved online better than halfway through Spring semester, in response to shelter-in-place orders surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. We are a library that highly values opportunities to engage with our user community. We have very much missed meeting students and faculty in the library buildings.

We talked as a staff about how we could maintain library services and community engagement during this time. We felt pretty good that we were prepared to deliver needed information resources through a wide array of electronic content accessible from the library website, and we regularly monitor our communication channels (telephone, email, and chat) to respond in a timely way to requests for research assistance. But we knew more informal engagement would require some creativity.

Library Story Time

In addition to the aforementioned virtual Edible Books Festival, we were pleased to invite members of the faculty to record readings of favorite children’s story books and post them in the Library Story Time course on Canvas. We collected 10 readings (with the permission of the publishers) and posted these throughout the month of April. These included:

  • Are You ready to Play Outside? by Mo Willems, read by Research and Instruction Librarian Mary Jackson
  • Hooway for Wodney Wat by Helen Lester, read by Associate Professor of Counseling Christine Browning
  • Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty, read by Associate Professor of Counseling Shauna Nefos-Webb
  • What Do You Do With a Chance? by Kobi Yamada, read by Professor of Music Kellie Brown
  • Inside, Outside, Upside Down by Stan and Jan Berenstain, read by Associate Professor of Nursing Mary Fabick
  • The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams, read by Professor of History and Humanities Tim Dillon
  • Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin, read by Professor of Psychology Lori Mills
  • The Old Woman and The Pig an Old English tale retold by Assistant Professor of Business Administration Kristal Dove
  • El Arbol Generoso (The Giving Tree) by Shel Silverstein, read in Spanish by Associate Professor of Spanish and Humanities Allysha Martin
  • Voyage to the Bunny Planet by Rosemary Wells, read by Associate Professor of Bible and Humanities John Jackson

Virtual Therapy Animals

At the end of every semester since Fall 2013 the Welshimer Library has received special guests during Final Exam Week. Therapy dogs and their owner/trainers — and occasionally kittens, too — would come in to help students cope with this stressful time. Obviously, this wouldn’t be possible this semester. Though not the same, perhaps, we thought we could still deliver the experience of animal visits to students virtually. User Services Librarian Catherine Hammer assembled several video playlists on our YouTube channel, featuring, therapy dogs and cats, cute baby animals, and videos that are relaxing by virtue of their satisfaction they provide while viewing.

Finals Week is winding down — along with the semester and the school year — but there is always time to watch dog, cat, and cute baby animal videos, right?

Milligan Libraries hopes you had a great year, even though the last part was disruptive and a little strange. We hope you have a good summer. Please stay healthy and safe. If you are not graduating, we look forward to seeing you in the Fall!

10th Annual Edible Books Festival goes virtual!

Planning was underway for Milligan Libraries’ 10th Annual Edible Books Festival when the word came down that Spring Break was to be extended for another week and then the campus was to be closed due to the growing threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. With available time shortened, and then with classes moving online for the rest of the semester, what was to become of Edible Books on this auspicious anniversary? Would we have to cancel? No! We would just move the festival online along with classes! “Most folks will be home and close to their kitchens,” reasoned Research and Instruction Librarian Mary Jackson. “In some ways it will be easier for them to bake something up at home than if they were on campus.”

As the name suggests, the simple idea behind the Edible Books Festival is that persons create and submit an edible treat with a book theme. Beyond this there aren’t many rules. The idea originated with the founding of the International Edible Books Festival around 2000. We held our first festival at Welshimer Library in April of 2011. Since then, it has become a Spring tradition — a special event to engage with the Milligan College community.

In normal years, Milligan students, faculty, staff, and family members would submit their entries in person to the Welshimer Room at the Library. On the first day folks would cast votes for Most Creative, Funniest/Punniest, and Overall Favorite. Then on the morning of the second day library staff would sample from the entries to determine the Tastiest entry before the Milligan community was invited back to Welshimer to taste from all the entries. Winning entries each receive a prize.

This year, beginning on Monday, March 30, folks submitted photos of their entry/ies via email along with their name and book title(s). Entries were received through Monday, April 13. We received 28 entries — the most we’ve ever had.

On the days leading up to the submission deadline, highlights from the previous nine Edible Books Festivals were featured on our Instagram channel. An album of entries was created on our Facebook channel, and voting commenced on Tuesday and Wednesday. Using unique emojis, folks voted for their Most Creative, Funniest/Punniest, and Overall Favorite. Unfortunately, this year we could not award a Tastiest entry — though it appears Katherine and her brother are enjoying her entry:

Though not as uniform as when folks voted in person, online voting was still pretty brisk. And the winners are:

Most Creative, awarded a $5 Dunkin’ gift card, went to Katherine Eldridge for How the Grinch Stole Graduation! by Dr. Seuss (receiving 65 total votes)

Funniest/Punniest, also awarded a $5 Dunkin’ gift card, went to Mary Jackson for Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver (receiving 40 total votes)

Overall Favorite, awarded a $10 Dunkin’ gift card, went to Jenny Simonsen for Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne (receiving 107 total votes)

Congratulations to our winners, and thank you to everyone who participated in our 10th Edible Books Festival! “I wasn’t really sure what to expect,” said Mary Jackson. “But we had the highest number of entries we have ever had! There was a lot voting and sharing on Facebook. I am very pleased with how it turned out.” If you haven’t already done so, be sure to take a look at all the entries on our Facebook event photo album.