Last year we mentioned the physical book archive Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive, has started, stockpiling physical books in cargo containers in warehouses against a time when they might be needed in the future. Now the New York Times has noticed, covering it with an article discussing the rationale behind it, the process of archiving the books, and what use they might see in the future.
Part of it is that Kahle wants to keep the books available in case technology should improve and they need to be scanned again. But he also wants to make sure that repository of knowledge is available just in case something catastrophic happens to our current sources of information—whether through natural or political causes.
Regardless, a lot of libraries have been happy to send along the books they want to weed out of their own collections. And even if some doubt the necessity of such an archive, if Kahle feels it is important enough to spend millions of his own dollars on, then more power to him. Hopefully he will endow it with enough funds to make sure that it can continue to operate well after he has passed on—it would be a shame to think of all those books being dumped for lack of funds because people didn’t recognize their value.
(Found via TechDirt.)
Let’s hope this proves to have been unnecessary.