I have written about The Internet Archive several times. You can see my past articles if you start at http://goo.gl/vQWH4. You can also watch my video interview of Brewster Kahle, founder of The Internet Archive, at http://goo.gl/20X1z. Now The Internet Archive is hosting a public event on Thursday, Oct. 25, starting at 6:30 p.m., to officially mark the organization reaching an important milestone – 10 petabytes worth of digital material stored. You can read about the Ten Petabyte Party at http://blog.archive.org/2012/10/10/the-ten-petabyte-party/.
NOTE: One byte is the amount of data needed to store one character (letter). If the average word is 6 characters long, then the average word is 6 bytes. For a 500-word essay, that’s 3,000 bytes.All of that is available to you right now at http://www.archive.org. Best of all, it is all available free of charge.
1,000 bytes equals one kilobyte
1,000 kilobytes equals one megabyte
1,000 megabytes equals one gigabyte (That’s equivalent to 30 feet of books standing side by side on a shelf.)
1,000 gigabytes equals one terabyte (or 30,000 feet of books stored on shelves)
1,000 terabytes equals one petabyte (or 30 million feet of books stored on shelves)
Now The Internet Archive contains 10 petabytes of information. If my math is correct, that's roughly the equivalent of books filling 300 million feet of shelving or of 200 million four-drawer filing cabinets filled with text. If you prefer to measure electronic values, 10 petabytes is roughly the equivalent of 15 million CD-ROM disks full of information.
The Internet Archive is based in a former Fourth Church of Christ, Scientist Church, on Funston Avenue in San Francisco. One room is filled with several custom-built machines that help the archive digitize about 1,000 books per day. Workers place books under glass plates, which keep the pages flat while two digital cameras take their photos. The archive also has 32 scanning centers in seven other countries, including Canada, Guatemala, Brazil and China.
You can search The Internet Archive by starting at http://www.archive.org. I did a search for the word "genealogy" and received 77,138 "hits." That gives some idea of the amount of material available. That doesn't include many of the historical pictures, books, movies, and audio recordings. Even a search for "Eastman genealogy" returned 22 hits, including complete digital copies of several older books written on the family name. All information on The Internet Archive may be downloaded and stored to your own computer. Most of the books may be downloaded in multiple formats, including PDF, EPUB, Kindle, Daisy, DjVu, and full text ASCII. Books and documents are available in many languages, not just English.
If you have not yet used The Internet Archive, I suggest you do so now at http://www.archive.org. If you have used it in the past but not recently, I will remind you that about 1,000 books are being added every day. You might want to check again.
My thanks to Ritchie Hansen for telling me about the Ten Petabyte Party.
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