What happens to the Library of Congress when the asteroid hits?
October 1, 2006 7:24 PM   Subscribe

What efforts are currently being made to preserve human knowledge and culture (great literature, scientific theory, et cetera) for far-future generations, or in the event of a worldwide catastrophe?

I'm thinking about something with the same kind of timescale as the Long Now project. I feel there must be an archival project of this type out there, but my Google-fu has failed me on this one.
posted by fermion to Society & Culture (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
There's vague talk of putting an "ark" of sorts on the moon. Boing Boing had a ton of links about it this summer.
posted by BackwardsCity at 7:48 PM on October 1, 2006

Pardon the tangent, but I always liked the iconoclastic treatment of the subject in Hayao Miyazaki's Nausicaa (spoilers).
posted by alexei at 7:52 PM on October 1, 2006

The Rosetta Project:

"The Rosetta Project is a global collaboration of language specialists and native speakers working to develop a contemporary version of the historic Rosetta Stone. In this updated iteration, our goal is a meaningful survey and near permanent archive of 1,000 languages. Our intention is to create a unique platform for comparative linguistic research and education as well as a functional linguistic tool that might help in the recovery or revitalization of lost languages in unknown futures."

Here's an article about the project from Wired.
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:52 PM on October 1, 2006

Not a current plan, but one I found intriguing: Library on the moon.

"Hollow lava tubes on the Moon could be used as a giant digital library...In addition to being able to relay information to Earth like geosynchronous satellites, a lunar-based system could also process and store information..."
posted by Phire at 7:57 PM on October 1, 2006

Similar in spirit: Norway is building an arctic vault to store samples of the world's crop seeds, against the possibility of massive disease or infestations etc killing off crops. Here's a New Scientist article about this.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:13 PM on October 1, 2006

Best answer: Two wikipedia pages that offer jumping-off places:
Universal library
List of digital library and archive projects

A link to an article about the Rosetta Disk project from 2000; I'm not sure how things have changed in the meantime. Some interesting discussion of what to make the disk out of, for example.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:34 PM on October 1, 2006

No one's mentioned Project Gutenberg yet?
posted by fogster at 9:13 PM on October 1, 2006

The complete works of L. Ron Hubbard are being engraved on stainless steel plates and stored in an underground bunker by the church of Scientology (WP).
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 4:05 AM on October 2, 2006

Do landfills count?
posted by DenOfSizer at 10:10 AM on October 2, 2006

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