View Full Version : Video on the Internet Archive (archive.org) - Digitizing Books, etc.

05-08-2013, 08:13 AM
This is (IMHO) a must-see video (13 minutes). The first few minutes are about the mechanics and philosophy of saving the Web: the building, the server, preserving data, etc. (non-geeks may find this part boring).

Further along (about 6:15) is about digitizing books, and at just a glance they're rivaling Google Books. They're also SAVING a physical copy of every book they digitize(!).

Archive is a documentary focused on the future of long-term digital storage, the history of the Internet and attempts to preserve its contents on a massive scale.

Part one features Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive and his colleagues Robert Miller, director of books, and Alexis Rossi, director of web collections. On a mission to create universal access to all knowledge, the Internet Archive’s staff have built the world's largest online library, offering 10 petabytes of archived websites, books, movies, music, and television broadcasts.

The video includes a tour of the Internet Archive’s headquarters in San Francisco, the book scanning center, and the book storage facilities in Richmond, California.

05-08-2013, 05:33 PM
They're also SAVING a physical copy of every book they digitize(!).
This is standard practice for Library digitization projects (don't know about Google.)

From a library perspective, digitization is about access, not about preservation. A well-bound book can potentially withstand centuries of benign neglect and still be readable. Digital formats, on the other hand, change quickly -- and the physical media they are on deteriorates rapidly (from an archival perspective).

That's why we have books that are a thousand years old, but have already lost the data from the first Mars landing.

For librarians, digitization facilitates preservation by allowing you to provide free access to the material, while keeping the physical manifestation locked away under archival conditions.

Edited to add: Awesome that the archives.org people are doing it right, (rather than the fast-and-lose Google way of doing things, which drives Librarians batty).

05-08-2013, 09:18 PM
Ditto to what LindaJeanne said, and bravo to Archives.org. Digitization is a boon to educators and researchers because it eliminates restrictions or waiting times to access rare or fragile sources. The preservation of the original is a boon to cultural preservation as well as good solid common sense in having a hard copy back-up.