The Internet Archive launches Canadian facility campaign

December 1, 2016 // 11:02 a.m.

Tags: #archive #archiveorg #brewster-kahle #donald-trump #internet-archive #library #the-internet-archive #wayback-machine

The Internet Archive has announced plans to build a mirror facility in Canada, as a means of heading off any potential governmental interference following the recent US presidential election.

Founded with no lesser aim than to digitise and preserve every scrap of information possible, from audio and video recordings to software and books, the Internet Archive has been responsible for some impressive projects in its history: just since 2013 the Archive has launched publicly accessible and in-browser versions of vintage computer software, arcade games, Amiga software, neutered malware, and a massive cache of documents from gaming pioneer Infocom. Despite being hit by a fire in 2013, the volunteer-driven non-profit project has gone from strength to strength - but now its founders have concerns regarding its future.

'The history of libraries is one of loss. The Library of Alexandria is best known for its disappearance. Libraries like ours are susceptible to different fault lines: earthquakes; legal regimes; institutional failure,' wrote the Archive's Brewster Kahle in a blog post announcing a plan to keep the service safe. 'So this year, we have set a new goal: to create a copy of Internet Archive’s digital collections in another country. We are building the Internet Archive of Canada because, to quote our friends at LOCKSS, "lots of copies keep stuff safe."'

The key trigger for the project, Kahle explained, was the surprising result of the recent US presidential election that saw businessman Donald Trump triumph over politician Hillary Clinton. '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,' Kahle explained. '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.'

The project to create a duplicate Internet Archive in Canada will cost, Kahle has claimed, millions of dollars; accordingly, the not-for-profit project has called for users to donate as much as they can to the effort.
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