April 16, 2021

GitHub Archive Program: The Journey of the World’s Open Source Code to the Arctic

From the GitHub Blog:

On February 2, 2020, we took a snapshot of all active public repositories on GitHub to archive in the vault. Over the last several months, our archive partners Piql, wrote 21TB of repository data to 186 reels of piqlFilm (digital photosensitive archival film). Our original plan was for our team to fly to Norway and personally escort the world’s open source code to the Arctic, but as the world continues to endure a global pandemic, we had to adjust our plans. We stayed in close contact with our partners, waiting for the time when it was safe for them to travel to Svalbard. We’re happy to report that the code was successfully deposited in the Arctic Code Vault on July 8, 2020.

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Every reel of the archive includes a copy of the “Guide to the GitHub Code Vault” in five languages, written with input from GitHub’s community and available at the Archive Program’s own GitHub repository. In addition, the archive will include a separate human-readable reel which documents the technical history and cultural context of the archive’s contents. We call this the Tech Tree.

Inspired by the Long Now’s Manual for Civilization, the Tech Tree will consist primarily of existing works, selected to provide a detailed understanding of modern computing, open source and its applications, modern software development, popular programming languages, etc. It will also include works which explain the many layers of technical foundations that make software possible: microprocessors, networking, electronics, semiconductors, and even pre-industrial technologies. This will allow the archive’s inheritors to better understand today’s world and its technologies, and may even help them recreate computers to use the archived software.

Read the Complete Blog Post, View Images (approx. 1100 words)

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.

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