The Computer History Museum announced today that Google.org has provided a grant of $500,000 for the Museum to preserve its valuable digital collection chronicling the birth of computing through the modern networked world.
Support from Google.org will allow the Computer History Museum to create a Digital Repository infrastructure that will effectively preserve its present digital collection as well as future acquisitions, to prevent the loss of digital material through physical degradation and digital obsolescence, as well as support increased storage capacity, to allow the Museum to expand its collection to include new media, such as email, websites, databases and datasets.
The Museum has actively digitized content for the past six years, including moving images, photographs, documents and sound recordings, accessed extensively for exhibits and research. The Museum currently holds a digital collection of over 84 terabytes, growing at a rate of 12-15 terabytes annually.
Additionally, for two decades, the Museum has purposefully acquired “born” digital assets, positioning it as the world leader in historic software holdings among public institutions. The Computer History Museum’s comprehensive collection is unique; no other institution is dedicated to large-scale software acquisition. Encompassing the largest quantity of software still in existence from the mainframe and minicomputer eras, its collection exceeds 20,000 software items on a diversity of media from paper tape to hard disk drives.
With support from Google.org, the Computer History Museum will create and implement a digital repository infrastructure designed to provide reliable, long-term access to a fully realized and well-managed digital asset collection that preserves digital objects in their created native formats while also migrating these digital assets through time as differing technologies emerge, to guarantee that these digital assets will be recognizable and authentic.
The Computer History Museum (CHM) in Mountain View, California is a nonprofit organization with a four-decade history as the world’s leading institution exploring the history of computing and its ongoing impact on society. The Museum is dedicated to the preservation and celebration of computer history and is home to the largest international collection of computing artifacts in the world, encompassing computer hardware, software, documentation, ephemera, photographs and moving images.
CHM brings computer history to life through an acclaimed speaker series, dynamic website, docent-led tours as well as physical and online exhibits. Current exhibits include “Charles Babbage's Difference Engine No. 2,” “Mastering the Game: A History of Computer Chess,” and “An Analog Life: Remembering Jim Williams.”
The Museum’s signature exhibit on the history of computing, “Revolution: The First 2000 Years of Computing,” opened in January 2011.