Brewster Kahle's Internet Archive is a non-profit that was founded "to build an Internet library, with the purpose of offering permanent access for researchers, historians, and scholars to historical collections that exist in digital format."
It stores over 150 billion web pages.
The Archive operates a scanning center that was affected this week with one of a bibliophile's greatest fears: fire.
Here's an excerpt from Brewster's November 6th blog post.
This morning at about 3:30 a.m. a fire started at the Internet Archive’s San Francisco scanning center. The good news is that no one was hurt and no data was lost. Our main building was not affected except for damage to one electrical run. This power issue caused us to lose power to some servers for a while.
Some physical materials were in the scanning center because they were being digitized, but most were in a separate locked room or in our physical archive and were not lost. Of those materials we did unfortunately lose, about half had already been digitized. We are working with our library partners now to assess.
The San Francisco Fire Department was fast and great. Our city supervisor and a representative of the mayor’s office have come by to check up on us. There has been a pulling together on the Internet as news has spread.
This episode has reminded us that digitizing and making copies are good strategies for both access and preservation. We have copies of the data in the Internet Archive in multiple locations, so even if our main building had been involved in the fire we still would not have lost the amazing content we have all worked so hard to collect.
An early estimate shows we may have lost about $600,000 worth of high end digitization equipment, and we will need to repair or rebuild the scanning building.
To read the complete article, see:
Scanning Center Fire — Please Help Rebuild
Wayne Homren, Editor
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