Norway Plans 1,000-Year Digital Archive for Everything

ZDNet.com reports that near the Arctic Circle, experts at the National Library of Norway’s (NLN) secure storage facility are implementing an astonishing plan for digitizing everything ever published in Norway: books, newspapers, manuscripts, posters, photos, movies, broadcasts, and maps, as well as all websites on the Norwegian domain.

The work was begun 12 years ago and will likely take 30 years to complete.

According to the article, the library has more than 540,000 books and 2 million newspapers in its archive. Because the materials have been mass-scanned and OCR-processed, their content is free-text searchable.
NLN’s mandates are for long-term safe storage and to make the archives available to the public online.

“Just to be able to handle the large amounts of data, we must have it online,” said Svein Arne Solbakk, department director for digital library development at the NLN. “If I get a PDF file from a newspaper, I know this format won’t last for a thousand years. I’ll have to convert it to a modern format, probably several times during those thousand years.”

Given the relatively short life of hard disks, the NLN has a rolling program of disk replacement, swapping out entire disk cabinets when they reach their expected lifespan of five years. Plus, the library stores everything in triplicate: one copy is on hard disk and two more are on tape. The tape storage is an archive system based on Oracle SAM-FS.

Some 83% of all books and 40% of all newspaper pages have been digitized.

“We are ambitious, but it’s very important to document the present for the future,” Solbakk told ZDNet.


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