The highly influential Whole Earth Catalog, in addition to a plethora of associated publications, has been digitized and made accessible to the public through The Internet Archive. This invaluable collection can now be freely accessed via the Whole Earth Index, an online repository. As reported by Wired:
In an extraordinary move that marks a significant milestone in the preservation and dissemination of countercultural and environmentally-conscious literature, the Whole Earth Catalog, accompanied by an extensive assortment of related publications, has been meticulously digitized and made readily available to the global community through The Internet Archive. This expansive digital library, known as the Whole Earth Index, represents a groundbreaking resource that encapsulates the spirit of the catalog and its ethos of empowering individuals with knowledge.
This remarkable undertaking brings together a treasure trove of materials, not only from the original Whole Earth Catalog but also from its affiliated publications, spanning topics as diverse as sustainable living, self-sufficiency, eco-conscious design, and holistic well-being. As society continues to grapple with pressing environmental concerns and a renewed interest in holistic lifestyles, the Whole Earth Index arrives as a timely and invaluable resource.
Wired Magazine applauds this initiative as a pivotal moment in the democratization of knowledge and the preservation of a crucial part of countercultural history. In an era where information and inspiration are at a premium, the availability of the Whole Earth Catalog and its companions online for free opens up new horizons for learning, exploration, and the promotion of sustainable living practices. This digital archive empowers present and future generations to access the wisdom of the past, providing a wellspring of ideas and insights to shape a more enlightened and ecologically conscious future.
The Whole Earth Catalog was the proto-blog — a collection of reviews, how-to guides, and primers on anarchic libertarianism printed onto densely packed pages. It carried the tagline “Access to Tools” and offered know-how, product reviews, cultural analysis, and gobs of snark, long before you could get all that on the internet.
At the time of its initial publication in the late 1960s, the periodical became a beacon for techno-optimists and back-to-the-land hippies. The Whole Earth Catalog preached self-reliance, teaching young baby boomers how to build their own cabins, garden sheds, and geodesic domes after they had turned on, tuned in, and dropped out — well before they grew wealthy enough to buy up all the three-bedroom single-family homes. The catalog also had a profound impact on Silicon Valley’s ethos and is credited with seeding the ideas that helped fuel today’s startup culture.