Category Archives: Memory of the world

In solidarity with Library Genesis and Sci-Hub

December 1, 2015 Memory of the world

Contact: little.prince@custodians.online

In Antoine de Saint Exupéry’s tale the Little Prince meets a businessman who accumulates stars with the sole purpose of being able to buy more stars. The Little Prince is perplexed. He owns only a flower, which he waters every day. Three volcanoes, which he cleans every week. “It is of some use to my volcanoes, and it is of some use to my flower, that I own them,” he says, “but you are of no use to the stars that you own”.

There are many businessmen who own knowledge today. Consider Elsevier, the largest scholarly publisher, whose 37% profit margin1 stands in sharp contrast to the rising fees, expanding student loan debt and poverty-level wages for adjunct faculty. Elsevier owns some of the largest databases of academic material, which are licensed at prices so scandalously high that even Harvard, the richest university of the global north, has complained that it cannot afford them any longer. Robert Darnton, the past director of Harvard Library, says “We faculty do the research, write the papers, referee papers by other researchers, serve on editorial boards, all of it for free … and then we buy back the results of our labour at outrageous prices.”2 For all the work supported by public money benefiting scholarly publishers, particularly the peer review that grounds their legitimacy, journal articles are priced such that they prohibit access to science to many academics – and all non-academics – across the world, and render it a token of privilege.3
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Free Libraries for Every Soul

October 15, 2013 Memory of the world

Hacker/cyber-librarian Marcell Mars, researcher Edwin Gardner and the association for arts and media Constant invite you to a 24h hackathon where we’ll work on shapes, platforms and workflows that facilitate free access to books. Graphic designers, hackers, interface-designers, librarians, independent bookpublishers, webdevelopers and programmers … if you have skills and/or ideas related to DIY-printed matter, e-books, OCR, peer-to-peer libraries etc. please join us and contribute to a 21st century incarnation of Melvil Dewey’s dream!

http://www.monnik.org/Free-Libraries-for-Every-Soul