The Internet Archive
photos by jwz
was kind enough to
give me a tour of The Internet Archive
They do amazing, important work, and I've been a huge fan for many
years, but I hadn't visited before.
Their San Francisco presence is housed in a former Christian
Science church, lending it a certain gravitas. Their enormous
conference room not only has racks of drives sitting at the back, but
also has a working pipe organ! (Make your own series of tubes joke
Inexplicably, they are also constructing a terracotta army of
avatars of their long-term employees. I assume these are to protect
Brewster in the afterlife.
The racks of drives are just kind of scattered all over the place,
climate control provided opening windows. Each
is a 2TB drive. They have mirrors all over the world, too.
The book-scanning operation is pretty sweet. There's an angled
backplate with a correspondingly-angled piece of glass that hinges
down over it to hold the pages flat, and a pair of Canon 5D Mk 2
cameras pointing at each page. Apparently once you get into the
rhythm of it, you can scan an entire book in 8 minutes. Volunteers
and interns: cheaper than robots!
Random libraries (and individuals) around the world ship them crates
of books, they scan them, and ship them back.