Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Saturday, February 12, 2011

RootsTech -- Final Day

Chris van der Kuyl of BrightSolid introduced the Keynote Speaker Brewster Kahle. You may not know the name BrightSolid but you might know their online databases such as ScotlandsPeople and Findmypast. He announced an alliance with the British Library Newspaper Archives to start digitizing their holdings over the next ten years. This is a very important milestone. 

Brewster Kahle is the founder of the Internet Archive.  His presentation focused on migration and preservation. Getting Personal Archives online. He addressed the issues involved in preserving all of the personal material lying in people's homes; personal letters, movies, photos etc. It is now getting difficult to find ways to migrate VHS and other tape media. He talked about Gordon Bell, who put his whole life's communication online. 

Primary materials going online is another important topic. The Internet Archive is creating the free genealogy. They re-did the entire U.S. Census Records, 40,000,000 pages. Effort is to get all of this material up and out to the Internet. They contribute the hardware and software to the BYU scanning effort. The entire Library of Congress can fit on 26 Terabytes. The Internet Archive did a print on demand mobile book printing service. This is now spreading all over the world. They now have over 1 million digital books free to the print disabled.

Every child a laptop program. Internet Archive has made all of their books available to this program. They are also making their books available on tablet computers and helping giving access to the blind and other handicapped people. 

How do you do all this? They have built their own scanning equipment and hired unemployed single parents to man the project. Scanning center all over the world and starting a free lending program with about 10,000 books at Open Library. ( The idea is that you can check out a digital copy of the book from the library as long as no one else is using the book.

Audio is not as much as books. There are about 2 to 3 million disks out there and they are digitizing all of the unclaimed items, such as the Grateful Dead concert recordings. 4000 fans with 80,000 concert recordings of artists who will allow this to happen. The Internet Archive provides free hosting for all items. 600,000 items in over 100 collections.

Moving images of out-of-copyright items. There is not that large of collection of movies, but they are also doing the old educational films. Now using films for new and different things. The best we have to offer is not yet on the Internet. They are putting all the whole spectrum of movies including TV shows. Recording ten channels of TV 24 hours a day for years to preserve. Now recording 50 channels of TV every day all day.

They are also preserving the old video game. They are also preserving all of the Internet in the WayBackMachine.  Average web page only lasts about 100 days before it is eliminated or changed. They are also emphasizing foreign sites.

Preservation. Write on something very durable and hide it. Their idea is to keep it in use and store it. The WayBackMachine is in one place in a storage container. They are now storing 3 Petabytes. Don't just have one copy. They make copies at the new library at Alexandria in Egypt. About 200TB. The idea of having all your information in one place is really worrisome. Can we learn the stories of our ancestors? Will our descendants know our story? Are we making a good enough record of who we are? Can our descendants learn our story?

My comment: I really like this. It is so wonderful.

1 comment:

  1. I took away major AMAZEMENT from Brewster's talk. My goodness, I'm blown away. And wondering how they afford to do it all. You've given a very good recap, James. Thank you!