Page 1 of the NYTimes! “In a Flood Tide of Digital Data, an Ark Full of Books”

On the front page of the Sunday, March 4th New York Times is an article about the Physical Archive of the Internet Archive titled “In a Flood Tide of Digital Data, an Ark Full of Books” by David Streitfeld of the New York Times.

It is about the 500,000 and growing collection and why librarians and others are donating their old books and movies to the Physical Archive for the long term storage and eventual scanning.  We hope this inspires others to do the same.

Please read it and pass it on!

If you have books music of video (or money or time) to donate, please send them to us at Internet Archive, 300 Funston Avenue, San Francisco CA 94118, or contact Ginger Bisharat .



20 thoughts on “Page 1 of the NYTimes! “In a Flood Tide of Digital Data, an Ark Full of Books”

  1. Jonathan Copulsky

    As an author, I would be interested in donating a copy of my book. Does the Internet Archive want it and where should I send it?

    1. brewster Post author

      We would love it! Please send books to

      Internet Archive c/o Ginger Bisharat
      300 Funston Avenue
      San Francisco, CA 94118

  2. James Dillon

    Hi Brewster
    Back in the mid 90’s I was channel surfing and came across a program describing the
    problem that libraries ( especially big collections) where having with warehousing books. Apparently paper makers where using a drying ingredient, Alma, to to speed up the paper making process. Much later in time librarians were finding that the interior papers of the books where breaking down into brittle little pieces.
    That said, I love reading paper books. My candidate for your collection would be the original printing of “The Secret Teaching of All Ages” by Manly P. Hall.
    Good luck and thanks.
    James Dillon

    1. brewster Post author

      You are right about the acid problem on books. I hear that books from around 1900 to around 1990 were often made with paper that is decaying pretty quickly. A good process for de-acifification costs about $20/book, which is more than we have right now. Maybe good articles like this one in the NYtimes will bring advice, money, and books.


  3. Sean

    We often donate books to our local library sale, but would be happy to ship them to you instead (at least the ones in decent condition). Do you want large donations like that from people’s collections (by large I mean 10s of books at a time)? With large donations you could have not only the best collection of books for posterity, but the most amazing used book store to help pay for the cost of running this very cool project.

    1. brewster Post author

      Yes, we would love donations of all sizes. We got 130,000 from the Friends of the SF public library book sale. We are interested in books we do not already have, and we are finding that most books that are donated we do not have yet.

      Internet Archive c/o Ginger Bisharat
      300 Funston Avenue
      San Francisco, CA 94118


  4. Glenn Pearson

    I understand from the Times article that you are interested only in books for which you don’t already have a copy. Do you have a web page where I or anyone can enter the ISBN (or title if no ISBN) to see if you already have it? I want to avoid unnecessary boxing/shipping.

    Also, do you take unbound magazines (some in archival slip boxes)? Same question: do you have a site where I can enter the ISSN (or title) + see what volumes/issues you already have them?

    1. brewster Post author

      The site to look at is and you can search with an isbn. We are working on building API’s if you are more technically inclined.

      On unbound periodicals– we are not as good at these. We have not been digitizing many and do not have a record of them. We are interested, but again, it is early days for us.


  5. simon

    hey good for you – the site is a fantastic resource – it just looks pretty awful and is almost completely impenetrable to navigate – but it’s worth the rooting around..

    All the best

  6. Homer O. Goodall, Jr

    Been cleaning off old hard drives and a whole host of CDs and DVDs of banned and censored cartoons. I left a note about books. The libraries must pull books written before 1985 because they are afraid of lead. This will be a chance to save these old books for future generations.

    1. ColanR

      “The libraries must pull books written before 1985 because they are afraid of lead.”

      I had no idea. Since when has that been a requirement?


      1. BJ

        Never heard of that requirement. I work in a library and we do have books still in our stacks that were printed before 1985.

  7. Lynne Sanders-Braithwaite

    I have loved the Archive for years now. I don’t know how to help. What I am wondering about is why the Texts section is not showing the options of ” Read online” and ” full text” etc. Only the http files which aren’t suiting me at all.
    Thanks again for the mega job you all do. I surely would miss those options if they have been removed. Yrs. nellibell49

  8. Marie from Quebec

    I’ve helped create a public library in my village and in that process, we collected a lot of books we just don’t have room for. I also personally have many books I’d easily donate, but my funds are limited, so here are two (three) questions:

    1. Do you have any fund/postal agreement for the sending of (heavy) books to you?
    2. Do accept/want books in French (and if not, here is #3: do you know of any similar project for books in French?)?

  9. Chris

    A critical discussion about the storage of the books has been started on the NYT-Article. In my opinion there are important arguments made about the necessary preservation of the paper before there are kept in the containers.

  10. Dawn Estep

    I am thinking about donating my collection of books, most of them are STEM (that is, science, technology, engineering and mathematics) related. I am wondering, do you pay for the shipping fee or does the donator pay? I have over a hundred and it would be a great pain to pay a hundred bucks shipping cost or even more…
    Also most books are still under copyright protection, I am not sure you care about that.

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