If you've ever used the Wayback Machine online to find an old website, you know old web pages are kept somewhere. But where? Alexandria, Egypt, famous for being the site of one of the ancient world's greatest libraries, is now home to the modern Bibliotheca Alexandrina. The Bibliotheca Alexandrina (BA) stores copies of every web page that has been posted since 1996. The Internet Archive, which started in San Francisco in 1996, signed an agreement with the BA in 2002 to create backups for their archives, which have the capacity to hold 3.7 petabytes of information. That's a lot of data.
Currently, the BA has about 1.5 petabytes of information stored on 880 computers, but this is expanding all the time. The entire collection is available free of charge to anyone with a computer, a browser and an Internet connection. The BA archive is the first collection of its kind established outside the United States.
More about archiving the Internet:
- Web pages, Egyptian and US television broadcasts, archival films and digitized books from 1996 to 2007 are all available from the Bibliotheca Alexandrina.
- Digital archivist Brewster Kahle, creator of the Internet Archive, implemented the Wayback Machine in 2001.
- The Internet Archive project is funded through traditional libraries, as well as through private donations.