April, 2012

The Fine Arts

Posted on April 30, 2012 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: 1 Comment on The Fine Arts

Nature and the muses are finally awakening in May. What kind of artistic feelings do the following 10 gems from our catalog awaken in you?

Building all kinds of housing – nests, burrows, hives – is a major occupation throughout the animal kingdom. One of the biggest achievements of man in this art is certainly the high gothic style, described in detail by John Ruskin in The Seven Lamps of Architecture.

What to do when huddled together in a drafty cave? Talking of course. The step to singing is but a tiny one. How to do it properly, is taught in How to Sing by Lilli Lehmann, considered one of the best singers of her time.

No great voice? You can learn an instrument instead! Clumsy fingers? In that case, the last resort is to become a critic. In How to Appreciate Music, Gustav Kobbé explains all you’ll need for the job.

A well versed and highly dangerous critic hides behind the mask of The Phantom of the Opera. Read the famous novel by Gaston Leroux and glimpse behind the scenes of the theater at their artists and patrons.

Homer De Vere has worked as an actor for ages, but now his voice is failing. The solution for his family is quickly found in the new – silent – film industry. Laura Lee Hope describes in The Moving Picture Girls how they adjust to the new medium.

Paintings cannot move or change. Except for The Picture of Dorian Gray of course, which records every little transformation of its motive, who instead lives on in eternal beauty. Have fun with our dramatic reading of Oscar Wilde’s horror story; or listen to a German translation of it.

William Blake is known for his dark and scary paintings, but also for his Poems. This collection contains his Songs of Innocence and of Experience.

Collecting famous paintings can be a very pricey hobby – and also a dangerous one. The lives of a nurse, a pawn shop owner and an art collector meet in The Pagan Madonna, an intriguing novel by Harold MacGrath, set in Shanghai.

Austria is where The Street of Seven Stars is located. Harmony studies violin to become a professional musician. When money runs out, Peter is determined to protect her. But who of them will have to sacrifice their passion? Find out in the love story by Mary Roberts Rinehart.

Sarrasine, a young French sculptor, is also madly in love – with La Zambinella, an Italian singer. Honoré de Balzac describes the winding roads the youth is willing to travel in search for his art and his muse.

Enjoy – and be creative!


100 Million Downloads and a Mellon Foundation Grant

Posted on April 5, 2012 by | Posted in about LibriVox, News | Comments: 26 Comments on 100 Million Downloads and a Mellon Foundation Grant

LibriVox.org, the world’s largest producer of free public domain audiobooks, and the Internet Archive are pleased to announce a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, on the heels of a recent landmark achievement: 100 million downloads free LibriVox audiobooks from the Internet Archive.

A Tech Infrastructure Overhaul

The Mellon grant will go towards rebuilding LibriVox’s technical infrastructure, and improving accessibility of the LibriVox website (we’re hiring a dev and project manager on contract, if interested, please apply, info here: LibriVox hiring).

“It’s fantastic to get this support from the Mellon Foundation,” said LibriVox founder Hugh McGuire. “It will be put to good use, helping our hard-working volunteers create many more free audiobooks. We’ve made 5,500 free audiobooks to date, and we hope to make many more in the future.”

LibriVox, a volunteer project of the Internet Archive, gets volunteers from around the world to make audio recordings of public domain texts, and gives those recordings away for free. All LibriVox audiobooks are hosted at the Internet Archive.

5,467 Free Audiobooks

Founded in 2005, LibriVox has to date produced 5,467 free audiobooks, in 31 languages. Popular audiobooks include “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes,” by Arthur Conan Doyle, “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain, and “Jane Eyre,” by Charlotte Brontë. In addition to novels, the LibriVox collection includes numerous texts of importance from philosophers such as Kant, Descartes, and Hume, political documents such as the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” and scientific texts including as Einstein’s “Relativity,” and Darwin’s “Origin of the Species.”

100 Million Downloads

“The LibriVox collection is one of the most popular on the Internet Archive,” said Brewster Kahle, Founder and Director of the Internet Archive. “100 million downloads is awesome. LibriVox is an integral part of our commitment to making important texts available to the world in the best format for people, and we are thrilled at the support from the Mellon Foundation.”

Cori Samuel, a long-time LibriVox volunteer, who has recorded some of the project’s more popular books, was in shock at the numbers. “It’s hard to believe that what started out as a small project among some passionate people on the web has turned into something so big. It’s incredible to imagine that we could have touched the lives of 100 million listeners.”

For More Information

For more information, please contact Hugh McGuire, LibriVox founder: hughmcguire@gmail.com.


[UPDATE] Jobs! We hired a PHP developer and a tech project manager

Posted on April 5, 2012 by | Posted in about LibriVox, News | Comments: 9 Comments on [UPDATE] Jobs! We hired a PHP developer and a tech project manager

[UPDATE: We recruited in May 2012 and now have two great people on board for this project. We are not recruiting further at this time.]

LibriVox is very happy to announce that, thanks to a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, we are undertaking a tech overhaul, and we are hiring (on a contract basis):

* a technical project manager
* a sysadmin/advisor
* a PHP/Ruby developer

Pay range is “starving non-profit contract price” … or somewhere between $35-50/hour.

The objectives of the technical overhaul are:
1. To implement a LibriVox website redesign
2. To improve LibriVox’s internal workflow systems
3. To improve catalog accessibility through API
4. To complete a security audit
5. To assess server infrastructure

We are looking for some great people. Maybe you?

(see very bottom for how to apply).

PHP & Ruby developer

about 25-40 hrs/week over 20-30 weeks

The PHP & Ruby developer will be responsible for:

  • Working with the technical project manager to define the scope of work
  • Doing a full code review of existing LibriVox software
  • Defining software engineering decisions and specifications for refactoring the work planned
  • Refactoring existing LibriVox code
  • Implementing a number of fixes and new features

You should have at least 2 years experience in software development, with expertise in:

  • PHP
  • Ruby
  • MySQL
  • LAMP stacks
  • WordPress

The ideal candidate will have a degree in software engineering or computer science, or significant experience in developing and implementing web software. You should be comfortable working in a distributed project. And we’re looking especially for developers with experience in non-profit and open source communities, with many extra points for having experience in the LibriVox community.

Scroll down to see how to apply.

Technical project manager

10-20 hrs/week over 20-30 weeks

The technical project manager will be responsible for:

  • coordinating work with the LibriVox volunteer community to better understand specific technical needs under the scope of the project
  • defining the detailed scope of work with the other contractors, in conjunction with Internet Archive staff and senior LibriVox volunteers
  • establishing a more detailed work plan
  • ensuring timely delivery of technical progress
  • establishing a detailed budget
  • ensuring the project stays under budget and on time
  • communicating progress to the LibriVox community (volunteers, listeners), to the Internet Archive, and to other stakeholders

Ideally you’ll have an Engineering or Management degree, or significant technical project management experience.

We’ll be happier if you’ve got experience working in non-profit, open source communities, and even happier if you have experience in the LibriVox community.

Scroll down to see how to apply.

Sysadmin/systems architect

The sysadmin/systems architect will be responsible for:

  • Evaluating the current LibriVox systems and server setup
  • Overseeing a security audit
  • Working with the developer and project manager to propose an ideal hosting solution, including reduced costs
  • Making a recommendation about longer-term hosting arrangements, with cost being a significant factor
  • Depending on scale of work, possibly moving LibriVox to a new server setup.

The ideal candidate will have 5 years experience running MySQL systems, with particular experience running servers with big installations of phpBB forum software and WordPress installations.

Scroll down to see how to apply.

How to apply!

To apply please send the following items to jobs@librivox.org:

1. a brief description of why you’d like to help LibriVoix
2. a CV with references
3. a comment on your favourite LibriVox recording


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