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A fire damaged the Internet Archive's scanning center located in San Francisco late last night, though luckily no one was hurt and no existing data was lost, the organization said. The Internet Archive is the non-profit group responsible for the Wayback Machine, a digital archive of the web spanning 364 billion webpages, allowing visitors to see what sites looked like several years ago.
While no existing data was damaged, some physical materials that were in the process of being digitized went up in flames. Most of the materials being scanned were in a separate locked room and not lost, and of those that did catch fire, around half had already been archived.
That's the extent of the good news. Unfortunately, the fire did about $600,000 worth of damage to high end digitization equipment. To keep expanding the project, that equipment will need to be replaced, and the Internet Archive is reaching out the community for donations.
"This episode has reminded us that digitizing and making copies are good strategies for both access and preservation," the Internet Archive stated in a blog post. "We have copies of the data in the Internet Archive in multiple locations, so even if our main building had been involved in the fire we still would not have lost the amazing content we have all worked so hard to collect."