Saving the world's books in a giant ark
In a wooden warehouse in this industrial suburb, the 20th century is being stored in case of digital disaster.
Forty-foot shipping containers stacked two by two are stuffed with the most enduring, as well as some of the most forgettable, books of the era. Every week, 20,000 new volumes arrive, many of them donations from libraries and universities thrilled to unload material that has no place in the Internet Age.
Destined for immortality one day last week were “American Indian Policy in the 20th Century,” “All New Crafts forHalloween,” “The Portable Faulkner,” “What to Do When Your Son or Daughter Divorces” and “Temptation’s Kiss,” a romance.
“We want to collect one copy of every book,” said Brewster Kahle, who has spent $3 million to buy and operate this repository situated just north of San Francisco. “You can never tell what is going to paint the portrait of a culture.”
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