‘Democracy’s Library’ by The Internet Archive Contains Government Research Accessible for All

The Internet Archive Has Created Democracy’s Library, a Repository of Government

Photo: BIZOON/Depositphotos

Democracy is under a global threat. From the violent January 6 insurrection in the U.S. to democratic backsliding in Europe, participatory governments are at a critical historical point. As developed by the ancient Greeks, democracy requires participation from an informed citizenry to function properly. The Internet Archive has created a resource to help facilitate this political engagement. Democracy's Library is a repository of free, online, trustworthy sources published by democratic governments.

The Internet Archive has been preserving billions of web pages since 1996 through its Wayback Machine. As a member of the American Library Association, it has also expanded to host millions of free books, audio recordings, and videos. The site functions as an accessible, free repository of thousands of years of knowledge and culture. Its latest offering—Democracy's Library—is a collection of 500,000 documents and reports. They come from U.S. agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management and the Foreign Broadcast Information Service. Public Accounts of Canadian provinces are also available, as well as vast reservoirs of data. You can browse historic U.S. Congressional Hearings or Global Public Safety Codes.

The library has been created for a simple reason: “Because democracies need an educated citizenry to thrive.” In the age of internet disinformation, unreliable sources are a direct threat to this solid basis of government. “Governments have created an abundance of information and put it in the public domain, but it turns out the public can’t easily access it,” says Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive. Knowledge is power—and knowing what your government is doing and saying offers opportunities for democratic participation at the ballot.

For resources on identifying and avoiding fake news and misinformation, check out this handy infographic or this guide.

The Internet Archive has created Democracy's Library, a free, online database of over 500,000 documents by democratic governments and for democratic citizens.

The Internet Archive Has Created Democracy’s Library, a Repository of Government

Photo: WRANGEL/Depositphotos

h/t: [Open Culture]

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Madeleine Muzdakis

Madeleine Muzdakis is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and a historian of early modern Britain & the Atlantic world. She holds a BA in History and Mathematics from Brown University and an MA in European & Russian Studies from Yale University. Madeleine has worked in archives and museums for years with a particular focus on photography and arts education. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys hiking, film photography, and studying law while cuddling with her cat Georgia.
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