Internet Archive becomes archive of physical books, too

The Internet Archive, alarmed to see that many libraries discard books after they are digitized, has decided to start collecting copies of every book ever published, cataloging and storing them in modified shipping containers that serve as long-term archival storage. The stored print-books are to serve as canonical references for the digitized editions.

Based on this success and the increasing availability of physical materials, a production facility leveraging this design will be launched in June of 2011 in Richmond, California. The essence of the design from the book's point of view is to have several layers of protection, each able to be monitored and periodically inspected:

* Books are cataloged, and have acid free paper inserts with information about the book and its location,
* Boxes store approximately 40 books with labeling on the outside,
* Pallets hold 24 boxes each,
* Modified 40′ shipping containers are used as secure and individually controllable environments of 50 or 60 degrees Fahrenheit and 30% relative humidity,
* Buildings contain shipping containers and environmental systems,
* Non-profit organizations own and protect the property and its contents.

Why Preserve Books? The New Physical Archive of the Internet Archive