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Shinjoung and I were stunned when we heard the news early yesterday morning that our friend — and supreme friend of libraries and the Internet! — Aaron Swartz left this world late friday evening. Aaron was deeply committed to and passionate about internet freedom and making information and knowledge as available as possible. To those ends, he worked on many projects large and small in his short but influential life. He was 26.
The *many* heartfelt remembrances from communities as diverse as journalism, law and open source tech — witness Rick Perlstein, Lawrence Lessig, Glenn Greenwald, Karl Fogel — attest to Aaron’s supreme impact on the world at large (and that’s no hyperbole!).
Before I had even heard of his tragic demise, a few colleagues and I were in the midst of writing letters of support for Aaron’s nomination for this year’s James Madison award from the American Library Association (ALA). This award, named in honor of President James Madison, was established by the ALA in 1986 to honor individuals or groups who have championed, protected and promoted public access to government information and the public’s “right to know” on the national level. I hope now that ALA will award Aaron posthumously!
We’re helping Archive-it staff harvest a Web archive of Aaron’s work, writings, images, videos, and remembrances. If you’ve got a URI that you’d like to be included in the archive, please paste it to this Google Doc.
Remembrances of Aaron, as well as donations in his memory, can be submitted at http://rememberaaronsw.com
The world will miss you Aaron. Be at peace my friend!
Calling all 21st century librarians: the fine folks at Citability and the League of Technical Voters Project are organizing a weekend code-a-thon in Washington DC April 9th – 11th. The goal is to create open source tools aimed at improving government accessibility and accountability. But you don’t have to be a coder to participate. They’re also looking for librarians! Now’s your chance to put your govt information skills toward an amazing project.
If you live in Washington DC area, please Sign up for the DC Code-a-thon today Join with lots of smart people working hard and having fun for the great cause of govt transparency!