We just got back from a showcase at an awesome book festival this evening, where the Internet Archive finished making its 1.6 million digitized books available for use on XOs.
Recently we announced a joint Bookserver project with the Archive to help all authors, libraries, and publishers share metadata in a way that can be more easily aggregated and searched. The Archive’s bookserver implementation for their extensive collection and the ‘Get IA Books’ activity by Jim Simmons and Sayamindu were the first large-scale test of the project.
And at today’s Boston Book Fest, the Archive announced that all of their works will be available in the lightweight EPUB format, which our tests suggest will make almost all of them render elegantly and cleanly on the XO. [you can help us test by trying out the activity and trying to open a few downloaded books with the latest version of Read!]
The Book Fest was awesome in other ways, too – we had a tent in an optimal location, just between the ice cream truck and the Legal Seafood truck, and a 50Mbps connection donated by Comcast which served the entire event. More after the jump…
With our own little Green Wifi Internet cafe, kids visiting the tent were able to browse the Archive’s collections directly. We also showed off the low-bandwidth book searching and the fully offline “library on a stick” option curated by the Rural Design Collective.
The police came by to shut down the tents an hour early on account of really strong winds (at one point five people from our tent stopped what they were doing for a few minutes to keep one of the plastic walls from blowing over the table next to it), but a pair of children closed out the event, staying until the last XO was put away. We had at least sixty people ask how they could buy an XO or take part in G1G1 this year… we still don’t have an answer yet, but it’s great to see that sort of interest. Thanks to Richard Smith, j baumgart, and everyone who helped make our showcase a success – including the delightful mystery guest who appeared out of nowhere and spent hours showing off her detailed knowledge of the project by answering questions.