The Internet Archive is hitting CTRL+C on itself. It’s clicking “Save As” Canuk edition. It’s finally getting around to creating that offsite backup everyone knows they should have but always forgets to do. The purpose of the San Francisco-based digital nonprofit library is to preserve billions of webpages and other digital documents for the historical record. And now it’s building a backup archive in Canada because it’s nervous about what could happen in Donald Trump’s America.
Founder Brewster Kahle released this statement:
On November 9th in America, we woke up to a new administration promising radical change. It was a firm reminder that institutions like ours, built for the long-term, need to design for change. For us, it means keeping our cultural materials safe, private and perpetually accessible. It means preparing for a Web that may face greater restrictions. It means serving patrons in a world in which government surveillance is not going away; indeed it looks like it will increase. Throughout history, libraries have fought against terrible violations of privacy—where people have been rounded up simply for what they read. At the Internet Archive, we are fighting to protect our readers’ privacy in the digital world.
The statement goes on to explain that the Internet Archive strives to “give everyone access to all knowledge, forever. For free.” And it does that while protecting reader privacy (the site doesn’t even collect visitors’ IP addresses). Since 1996 the Archive has been documenting everything from web pages to movies to concerts to texts to video games to educational and software items (plus it even lets you play arcade games right on your browser). As of 2012 it was home to 10 million gigabytes (10 petabytes) of information. And while that’s not a lot compared to, say, the 100 petabytes of photos and video Facebook housed around the same time, it’s still an impressive feat.
As Kahle’s statement explains, creating a Canadian copy of the Archive will protect against everything from earthquakes to legal regimes to institutional failure. So if you don’t want the Internet Archive to go the way of the Library Of Alexandria, you can make a donation right here.