January 24, 2022

Part of Internet Archive Building in San Francisco Damaged in Fire, Physical Items OK

UPDATE November 7

In an Internet Archive Blog Post, Brewster Kahle estimates that the IA’s scanning center received about $600,000 worth of damage in the fire.

This episode has reminded us that digitizing and making copies are good strategies for both access and preservation.  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.

An early estimate shows we may have lost about $600,000 worth of high end digitization equipment, and we will need to repair or rebuild the scanning building.   It is in difficult times like these that we turn to our community.

Read the Complete Post, Learn How/Where to Donate


The Internet Archive facility in the Richmond district of San Francisco was damaged in a fire last night. Details below.

First, some good news.

1. No one was injured &

“It doesn’t look like any collections of physical materials, that were being processed now, were destroyed in anyway,” [Brewster] Kahle said.

We wish Brewster and the entire IA team the very best in the rebuilding/retooling process.

As we’ve said many times on infoDOCKET the work the IA does is useful and essential.

Make a donation here.

About the Fire

From CBS San Francisco

Firefighters battled a two-alarm blaze Wednesday morning that damaged an internet archive has displaced at least eight people in San Francisco’s Inner Richmond neighborhood, a fire dispatcher said.

The fire did destroy the scanning equipment for the non-profit, which digitizes old books, movies and documents and preserves old websites.

Direct to Full Report (Including Video, and Audio Reports)

From the Richmond District Blog:

The blaze consumed the side office of the Internet Archive, which housed the archive’s equipment for scanning books and old movies.

No one was injured in the fire, and Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle said the 7 to 10 office staff that worked in the building will temporarily relocate to their Richmond, CA facility.

Kahle was in remarkably good spirits when we spoke to him around 9am this morning, and was optimistic about their plans to rebuild the office.

Read the Complete Blog Post

Note: The fire took place at the IA facility in the Richmond District of San Francisco. The Archive also has a facility in Richmond, CA (a suburb of San Francisco). It opened in 2011. You can learn more about this facility and the IA’s “physical collection” in these infoDOCKET posts.

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.