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'Meet the 1,300 Librarians Racing to Back Up Ukraine's Digital Archives' by Pranshu Verma
Pranshu Verma writes the following for The Washington Post:
In early March, two weeks into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Carrie Pirmann stumbled upon a website dedicated to Ivan Mazepa, a 16th century Ukrainian politician and patron of the arts. A 44-year-old librarian at Bucknell University, Pirmann had joined an international effort of fellow archivists to preserve the digital history of a country under siege, and the contents of Mazepa’s website, though obscure, seemed worth saving. …
Now, the original website is lost, its server space likely gone to cyberattacks, power outages or Russian shelling. But thanks to her, it still remains intact on server space rented by an international group of librarians and archivists. …
Over the past month, a motley group of more than 1,300 librarians, historians, teachers and young children have banded together to save Ukraine’s Internet archives, using technology to back up everything from census data to children’s poems and Ukrainian basket weaving techniques.
The efforts, dubbed Saving Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Online, have resulted in over 2,500 of the country’s museums, libraries, and archives being preserved on servers they’ve rented, eliminating the risk they’ll be lost forever.
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