A fire at the Internet Archive's San Francisco scanning center has destroyed an estimated $600,000 of digitization and scanning equipment. Fortunately no one was injured in the blaze, but the property damage has ruined "some physical materials" that were yet to be digitized, and restricted the nonprofit organization's ability to record the history of the web.
Of the physical materials the fire destroyed, about half had already been digitized. The Internet Archive says it's now working with library partners to assess what can be replaced. None of the Internet Archive's digitized data was lost in the fire as backups are held in multiple locations.
None of the Internet Archive's digitized data was destroyed in the fire
The Internet Archive was founded in 1996 with the intention of building a permanent repository of digital information, including websites, movies, and software. It's home to more than 10 petabytes of data and responsible for the Wayback Machine, a searchable record of old websites that provides snapshots of internet history.
The organization is seeking donations and scanning assistance to replace its hardware, and repair or rebuild the affected building. Thanks to a "fast and great" response from the San Francisco fire department and a smart backup policy, the fire hopefully won't restrict the Internet Archive's admirable efforts too much.