January, 2013

Calling App Developers: Testing New LibriVox API!

Posted on January 26, 2013 by | Posted in about LibriVox, News, site & admin | Comments: 2 Comments on Calling App Developers: Testing New LibriVox API!

Hi there, everyone out there who has or would like to build an app or web service on the LibriVox catalog. We are in the process of revamping our API.

You can find the latest information on our Forum Thread, including links to the latest documentation:



Aaron Swartz, 1986-2013

Posted on January 14, 2013 by | Posted in News, on the web | Comments: 14 Comments on Aaron Swartz, 1986-2013

This weekend the Public Domain lost one of its most gifted and passionate advocates when Aaron Swartz committed suicide, at age 26.

Aaron was a programmer, a campaigner for social justice, and a believer that the public domain truly belongs to the public. He helped create Reddit, was a chief architect of the Open Library and Creative Commons, was a founder of Demand Progress, which helped defeat SOPA, and kept the Internet open, safe for projects such as LibriVox.

Aaron, who had written publicly about past experience with depression, killed himself two years after he was arrested for downloading, at MIT, millions of academic journal articles (many in the public domain) from JSTOR, a non-profit journal repository. The authorities were seeking punishment of 35 years in jail, $1 million in fines. It’s been estimated that his defense would have cost $1.5 million in legal fees.

It’s hard to express the scale of loss to all of us, the community of the Internet. I met Aaron only once, but I’ve admired his work for years. By 26, he had done more than most of us will ever do in our lifetimes, driven by his vision of the public good. While it is always shocking when someone we have met dies, the greatest pain is contemplating everything that Aaron Swartz would have done for the world, which he will never get the chance to do.

And so, those of us who were inspired by Aaron’s vision of the world — perhaps some of you who are just now discovering what Aaron stood for — are left to contemplate a future where it is up to us, without Aaron’s help, to make the world a better place. I hope we don’t let him down.

— Hugh

If you’d like to read a bit more about Aaron:


After the Apocalypse

Posted on January 1, 2013 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: 1 Comment on After the Apocalypse

Happy New Year! And happy it is indeed, as we have just survived the latest apocalypse of 21. December 2012… However, it’s never too early to prepare for the next one – with 10 gems from our catalog.

The major problem of people predicting the End of the World is that hardly anyone believes them. This happens in H. Beam Piper’s novel The Edge of the Knife: A man sees a nuclear war, the rise of the Terran Federation and, finally, the start of space travel.

If you do meet alien peoples – not necessarily from outer space – being able to communicate is essential. Wouldn’t a language designed for easy learning be perfect for the purpose? Take a class with Helen Fryer, The Esperanto Teacher.

Although uninhabited, comets certainly come from outer space, and the one in Camille Flammarion’s novel is going to hit. Read Omega: The Last Days of the World and see how the world is coping with imminent destruction.

The most popular strategy in such cases is to run and hide. This is what the protagonists in the Decameron do, they flee from a plague to the countryside. To escape boredom they tell each other stories in Giovanni Boccaccio’s masterpiece, which we have staged as dramatic reading.

When a plague strikes, you’ll have a lot of sick people to care for. For a manual on how to do this lovingly and efficiently, read Notes on Nursing by Florence Nightingale, regarded as the founder of modern nursing.

But what if all treatment fails? In the novel by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Lionel Varney is the only one immune to a violent illness that slowly but surely kills all mankind except him. Find out how he deals with being The Last Man.

At least Adam is not completely alone after natural desaster strikes – luckily he has Robin. How the two strive to learn everything they need to survive is described in The Master Knot of Human Fate by Ellis Meredith.

Food is the primary ingredient to successful survival – but what if the ingredients are scarce? Dr. Albert P. Sy, a professor of chemistry, wrote the WWI pamphlet Food Preparedness about how to get maximum nutrition out of minimum supply.

Avis Everhard witnesses the rise of an oligarchic tyrannny in the US. 700 years later, her diary is published with correcting commentary by Anthony Meredith. Read The Iron Heel by Jack London, only one of many scenarios for a dystopic future.

Judgement day will come for all of us, at least if you are religious. Dante Alighieri’s epic poem The Divine Comedy gives a glimpse of the afterlife awaiting us. This book is also available in German and in the original Italian.

Enjoy – and get prepared!


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