It’s interesting over the years how often I see people say that all the stuff at Hermetic Library is public domain. That’s just never been true. In fact, for the first 10 years almost everything was copyrighted, but hosted with permission.
Since I took over, I’ve gone to great pains to add interesting and important material, sometimes transcribing for the first time for presentation on the web, things related to the overall subject matter. So there’s now more material sourced from the public domain.
But, I continue to seek out new materials from creatives and authors that are not public domain, and for which I can be given permission to present for everyone, whether that’s restoring archives or someone’s corpus.
Examples of archives are things like the Key 23 / Key 64 board, the Beast Bay board, and mirroring things like Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition. And, many more.
Examples of presenting a corpus that I’ve added with permission are Joscelyn Godwin, Bob Black, and other new Fellows, like the newest which is Jürgen Hubert’s CC0 licensed English translations for the first time of German folktales. And many more.
Hermetic Library has been around long enough that it has out-survived so many other sites and services. Back in the early days, there was an obnoxious self-serving narrative people told themselves that anything online was free to copy and public domain, which is, of course, absurd on the face of it. But, it’s what people told themselves, and actually said aloud.
So many sites and torrents have direct copies of Hermetic Library pages I’ve lost count. Some more egregious than others. But, that’s the way of things, unfortunately.
Ultimately, although I’ve come to use the term, it was pretty much always true that Hermetic Library was, for all intents and purposes, an Open Access Repository, a place where many copyrighted documents are provided with cost to access.
Of course, that means that I’ve had to come up with other ways to support the massive work of both keeping the site online as an Open Access Repository and continuing to add new material, both copyrighted material and also preparing and presenting interesting and important related work that’s in the Public Domain.
Digital preservation doesn’t happen by itself! And, I quite seriously spend an incredible amount of time almost every day, every week, working on things related to Hermetic Library.
Hence, things like trying to offer merch, having options for patronage on Patreon and subscriptions on Bandcamp and, newly offered, membership to this list, and other things like the annual anthology and digital publications like the zine.
I literally could not keep doing this, any of it, without the generous and ongoing support of Patrons and other supporters who pitch in to help, even just $1/mo into the tip jar, but those who can pitch in more have lots of neat perks.
I still have not yet reached a minimum level of funding for all the ongoing work. I currently have just over 70 Patrons who pitch in, but need at least 111 to make ends meet with the basic funding necessary to keep going like I do. For years, I’ve been running a deficit and haven’t been able to fully fund the site and my work. The struggle is real.
My point is this, the few and fabulous, erudite and beatific Patrons and supporters make Hermetic Library possible for everyone! Will you join them?