Shadow libraries

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Library Genesis
A host to 3 million books. Est. 2008.

Provides mass and public access to 60 million research papers. Est. 2011 by Alexandra Elbakyan.
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Hosts theory and fiction. Est. 2001 by Sebastian Lütgert/ROLUX.

Originally focused on critical theory, gradually expanded to the arts, humanities and social sciences. Est. c.2004 by Sean Dockray as part of the Public School.
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Memory of the World
Started as a proof of concept of the Public Library initiative. Est. 2012 by Marcell Mars and Tomislav Medak.
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Initially a media art research initiative, Monoskop gradually expanded toward avant-garde media studies. Est. 2004 by Dušan Barok. Monoskop Log library has branched out in 2009.
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Started as a resource for visual and sound poetry, soon expanded to the historical and contemporary avant-garde. Est. 1996 by Kenneth Goldsmith.
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Conferences, workshops, exhibitions, seminars

Interventions, research, projects


Literature, resources


  • Javna knjižnica / Public Library, eds. Tomislav Medak, Marcell Mars, and WHW, Zagreb: WHW & Multimedia Institute, 2015, 144 pp. Texts by McKenzie Wark, Tomislav Medak, Marcell Mars, Manar Zarroug, and Paul Otlet. (English)/(Croatian)
  • Davide Giorgetta and Valerio Nicoletti's interviews with Dušan Barok, Geert Lovink, Janneke Adema, Henry Warwick, 2015. (English)
  • Guerrilla Open Access, ed. Memory of the World, Coventry: Post Office Press, Rope Press, and Memory of the World, 2018, 34 pp. Texts by Memory of the World, Christopher Kelty, Balázs Bodó, and Laurie Allen. (English)
  • The Library Is Open, Rotterdam: Piet Zwart Institute (XPUB Special Issue 09), Jul 2019, 92 pp. Website. (English)
  • Aesthetics of the Commons, eds. Cornelia Sollfrank, Felix Stalder and Shusha Niederberger, Zurich: diaphanes, Jan 2021, 275 pp. (English)
  • Interfacing the Law, Rotterdam: Piet Zwart Institute (XPUB Special Issue 3), Jun 2017. (English)
  • Interfacing the Law, Rotterdam: Piet Zwart Institute (XPUB Special Issue 06), Jun 2018. (English)
  • The Library Is Open, Rotterdam: Piet Zwart Institute (XPUB Special Issue 09), Jun 2019. Publication PDF. (English)
  • Inverse Reader, ed. Dušan Barok, Monoskop, Sep 2019ff. A collection of 64 texts, talks and conversations about shadow, independent and artists’ digital libraries. [15] (English)

Essays, talks, statements, interviews

Journal issues and special sections


Academic research and writing

  • Roger Chartier, "Bibliothèques sans murs", ch. 3 in Chartier, L'ordre des livres, Aix-en-Provence: Alinea, 1992. (French)
    • "Libraries Without Walls", trans. Lydia Cochrane, Representations 42: "Future Libraries" (Spring 1993), pp 38-52; rev. as ch. 3 in Chartier, The Order of Books, Stanford University Press, 1994, pp 61-88, n108-112, PDF.

Further reading

Texts listed on the wiki pages of respective initiatives: UbuWeb, Aaaaarg, Monoskop, Library Genesis.

See also