An Aaron Swartz Reader

Monday, January 14, 2013

I’ve compiled this list of blog posts, articles, and writing by and about Aaron Swartz together as someone who has been amazed by what I’ve learned after the online community lost a clearly brilliant and dedicated man. In particular, I’m compiling it because the quantity of material makes it hard to keep up with everything, let alone know where to start.

Obituaries, news coverage


Select examples of Swartz’s writings

  • If I get hit by a truck…: Unfortunately, Swartz’s instructions for his website, digital assets, and grave have to be executed all too soon.

  • HOWTO: Be more productive: Swartz wrote this sensible essay on procrastination and productivity in 2005, which resurfaced on Hacker News yesterday.

  • Bake, Don’t Fry: Swartz made the case for static blogs years before generators like Jekyll became popular.

  • Who Writes Wikipedia?: Intelligent and terse look at the people behind Wikipedia articles. His findings were in contrast to the accepted wisdom that a few hundred volunteers were mostly responsible for the online encyclopedia. Instead, a wide base of people contribute content, which a small group organizes and polishes.

  • Aaron Swartz: Aaron Swartz was one of the many profiled by The Setup on what he used to “get stuff done.”

Archives and collections


Other link compilations


  • January 15, 2013, 11:56 CST: Remove notice about MIT-hosted sites being down. Add links section.

  • January 22, 2013, 19:38 CST: Small fixes and add colons after links. Add quoteblog link. Add link to interview.

  • January 27, 2013, 13:27 CST: Add link to a site searching through #pdftribute. Add video section.

  • February 20, 2013, 21:17 CST: Add links to Democracy Now! programs. Add link to search on HNSearch.

  • March 20, 2013, 01:11 CET: Change section header “News stories about his death” to “Obituaries, news coverage.” Fix broken link to HNSearch. Add links for several people to their Wikipedia page.

  • June 2, 2013, 10:33, 22: CEST: Fixed some broken links found with linkchecker. Fixed mailto link.

Submissions and corrections are gratefully accepted. You can send them to my email address. To facilitate sharing, I release this blog entry under the public domain, specifically CC0.