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For immediate use

Sept. 11, 2000 -- No. 459

Red Hat Center, UNC-CH join forces with $4 million gift to launch

CHAPEL HILL -- Red Hat Center, a private foundation established to champion the free exchange of ideas, today (Sept. 11) announced a five-year collaborative project with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The project, funded with the centerís $4 million gift to the university, will launch a new World Wide Web site called ibiblio (

Dubbed "The Publicís Library" by organizers, ibiblio will offer software archives, music archives, large text database projects and special exhibits. The site is dedicated to maintaining the open source philosophy in the development and management of its collections.

Some of the Internetís most respected and most-used software archives reside on ibiblio. Organizers say ibiblio will become the largest collection of freely available and publicly accessible information on the Web.

"ibiblio is a unique community of contributors sharing tricks of the trades across disciplines," said Paul Jones, professor of information and library science at UNC-CH. Jones founded ibiblio and MetaLab, an earlier and pioneering Web site based at the university. "When we at MetaLab came up with the idea for ibiblio, we were intent on keeping a close relation to the open source model in the compilation and sharing of collections. We have compiled items as varied as KGB archives, material from an international chemistry society and Cajun folk music, all for the purpose of sharing information with everyone Ė hence the title Ďthe publicís library.í"

Bob Young, co-founder of Red Hat Inc. and chairman of Red Hat Center, said the gift to ibiblio is perfectly aligned with the centerís goals.

"ibiblio holds true to Red Hat Centerís mission of advancing and promoting the principles underlying the open source movement Ė most notably, the free and robust exchange of information and the development of technology that is both publicly accessible and comprehensible," he said.

Red Hat Center and UNC-CH launched the Web site today on the university campus with remarks by Roger McGuinn, a musician formerly with the Byrds who testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee this summer on musical copyright issues.

Also participating were Young, Jones and UNC-CH Chancellor James Moeser. Attendees saw and heard videos and recordings such as the siteís new collection from Goldband records.

"We pride ourselves as a university on the forefront of technology, and have been delighted with the success that MetaLab has experienced over the past eight years," Moeser said. "With the gift from Red Hat Center, ibiblio will increase its already unprecedented collection and share its content with an even broader segment of the public."

Red Hat Center was endowed by Young and Marc Ewing, the founders of Red Hat Inc. in Durham. The center was founded in January to create a framework to apply the open source philosophy to other fields. The center aims to aid in the promotion of open communication between developers, users, public policy leaders and businesses.

The gift to UNC-CH is the centerís largest to date. More information about the center is available at and

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UNC-CH contact: Nancy Davis, 919-962-2011,

Red Hat Center contact: Jennifer Horney, 919-549-8388 ext. 225,

Ruder Finn Public Relations contact: Annie Godwin, 404-760-1511,

Fact Sheet

What is ibiblio?

ibiblio is a diverse and expansive collection of information on the Internet, created and maintained by the public, for the public. It is the ultimate collection of freely available information and the future of Internet librarianship.

The beginning

In 1992, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill founded SunSITE, an archive and information-sharing environment designed to be contributor driven and content managed. Now known as MetaLab, the environment has grown to host one of the Internet's most active and respected software archives, coexisting with music archives, large text database projects and special exhibits.

The diverse management and content models of MetaLab complement and inform each other to give users the most useful and relevant information about topics. Examples include:

single content manager archives that range from folk music to travelogues.

academic- and librarian-managed archives, such as historical archives.

enthusiast-managed archives, such as the Pearl Harbor archives.

author-managed archives involving more than 100 active authors with special interests such as the Linux Documentation Project.

Through these types of archives, MetaLab resources range from free applications and operating systems software to graphics and art and also include fiction, poetry, literature, music, religion, politics and cultural studies. MetaLab also offers streaming audio and video. MetaLab now averages about 1.5 million information requests a day.

The Evolution

As outreach efforts continue, MetaLab collections stress excellence and active contributor involvement above all else. In order to do this, MetaLab must provide for the extension of both the breadth and depth of the collections by offering more advanced tools for the creators of the collections. This evolution is called ibiblio, and will become the largest collection of freely available and publicly accessible information on the Web.

Why ibiblio stands above other digital libraries:

ibiblio maintains a:


close relation to the open source models for development and management of collections.

strong history of contributor participation and autonomy.

flexibility of forms and of management styles.

diversity of collections that maintains depth and excellence and creates synergy.

large community of contributors sharing their knowledge across disciplines.

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