Acceptance Speech, Paul Jones

I was trying to set an example in brevity…

More seriously, I am delighted in this recognition of the work done at ibiblio.org.

When we proposed a site on the then-small Internet where people could share information freely and legally to Sun Microsystems back in 1991, we had not idea how quickly things would grow and change. In fact the site was originally supposed to help make Free Software available to Sun users, but in my proposal I said that if UNC were to host this project that we would take a broader view; we would help spread all kinds of information in all kinds of formats by all kinds of protocols including the emerging Gopher, WAIS and World Wide Web.

Remember the Web was hardly World Wide in 1991. Thanks to having great people to work with including Judd Knott, Jim Fullton, Jonathan Magid and many wonderful and creative others over the years, we were involved early and deeply in many ground breaking projects.

From the beginning, I asked that we not just collect interesting collections for information sharing but that we assist interesting people who were interested in creating and evolving interesting collections. We were collecting the collectors. Now it sounds obvious, a Web 2.0 strategy in fact. But then creating a loud crazy Jacksonian people’s library and archive seemed revolutionary.

Luckily Sun and especially John Gage, Kathy Webster, Kevin Roebuck, Emil Sarpa and Michael Majdalany managed to understand, or to ignore, the complicated things we were trying to do with information sharing and archiving. They continued to support SunSITE.unc.edu for the first eight years.

For our part, we not only exceeded our proposed milestones every year, but we served as a model for a worldwide network of SunSITEs.

Since then ibiblio.org has had strong support from IBM, Cisco, Red Hat, Center for the Public Domain, and others as well as help from grants from the National Science Foundation, the Institute for Museum and Library Services and other agencies.

Bob Young, Red Hat founder, with his Center for the Public Domain made the current ibiblio possible. He and Frank Batten, Jr. deserve very special thanks.

The School of Information and Library Science and the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill have made the project possible by their sustained support. Not enough can be said in gratitude to their Deans past and present. Marian Moore and Bill Graves, UNC CIOs, were consistently supportive over the years.

We were able to be the first in many areas including internet radio (WXYC was the first simulcast station on the net and we still work with them to keep them in the lead), legally shared music (with eTree and Roger McGuinn’s FolkDen), e-books (we are home to Project Gutenberg), Open Source Legal discussions (GrokLaw) and of course we’re a major distributor of Open Source software.

Overall, we host not only terabytes of Open Source software, but over 2000 non-software related sites. We are moving information at a sustained rate of nearly 500 megabytes per second and dealing with as many 16 million information requests per day.

Our contributors are worldwide and highly varied in their information presentation and in their content. From US Presidential speeches to Tibetan Monks to schoolchildren in Africa to islands off Chile to American folk practice. We have materials from people who surprise even us!

I like to say that we are passionately and obsessively dedicated the idea of Open Source, Open Information, Open Access, and, like the Wilson Trust, Open Knowledge.

With that in mind, I want to openly thank the Wilson Trust for this recognition, which is not so much a recognition of me, but a recognition of all the folks involved with ibiblio as workers, visionaries, students, contributors, funders and supports of all kinds over the past 14 years.