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The Internet’s Oldest Archive Can Safeguard Your Heritage, Too

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What did Google look like when it launched in 1998? Remember when seemingly every person and business on the Internet kept their homepage on Geocities?

AI_logo_69x71Since 1996, the nonprofit Internet Archive and its popular “Wayback Machine” have invited millions of online visitors to peruse the World Wide Web that was. But as fun as it might be to point and laugh at your garishly decorated personal homepage from 2002, the Internet Archive’s real mission goes far beyond nostalgia. Comparing itself to the ancient Library of Alexandria, which is said to have once contained a copy of every written work in the world, the organization aims to provide a permanent storage vault for the online portion of our civilization’s cultural heritage.

Without their efforts, an enormous volume of information on the Internet would already have been lost for retrieval and study by future generations, just as surely as the majority of the texts of the ancient world are lost to us today. As of October 2012, the Internet Archive was storing more than 10 million gigabytes of historical material, and the rate of its growth continues to accelerate every month.

Staying ahead of that burgeoning growth while preserving its contents indefinitely requires extremely powerful data storage technology. When the Internet Archive launched, no suitable storage solution existed, so the organization developed its own. In 2006, the Internet Archive launched Archive-It, making its core technology available to outside parties for the first time. Reed Tech is now pleased to work alongside the Internet Archive in offering this unique digital preservation service to any organization grappling with large-scale archival requirements. Archive-It is the tool your library, museum, government office, or comparable institution needs to ensure the archival integrity of its web-based records.

The Smithsonian Institution, the Department of Energy, the National Institutes of Health, the City of Seattle, and the National Gallery of Canada are just a few of the high-profile institutions that have entrusted their digital legacy to Archive-It.

Archive-It outsources all the collection and storage tasks associated with document retention and preservation and puts it in the hands of the same team that powers the Internet Archive. As an Archive-It subscription customer, your document retention and web archiving plan won’t have any need for IT resource planning. No technology staffing needs. Your organization can place its archival focus where it belongs: on curation.

Electronic documents pose wholly different challenges to archivists and preservationists than their ink and paper antecedents, and Archive-It is demonstrably the most heavily tested, most widely used, and most mature platform available. Learn more about how your organization could benefit from Archive-It by contacting us.

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