The Library Project is about building a library of knowledge that is resilient enough to last for centuries. The purpose of such an archive is to help ensure a post-human or trans-human civilization based on ours, for us or our children or even our machines. With the Archive, we work towards the long-term success of intelligence in the universe. It is the single most important thing we can do to improve the likely hood of achieving this post-human intelligence, if not from this civilization then maybe for the next. This is the key to why the Foundation is so committed to the creation of the archive.
In order to measure our progress we have divided our goal into discrete tasks, and further, placed them in order of priority and dependence. Then used that as a lite classification system around being able to measure our success as well as denote project phase status, and further give us the basis for detailed project management. Those Library classifications are as follows.
Library Level 1 – The Soft archive
The level 1 archive is our immediate goal. This includes the collection of books and media in a form that can be printed and otherwise used, cataloging that material and using it to create an electronic version of the archive. Part of doing this is to approach publishers and other groups with existing material in usable formats. ‘Books’ or other source materials need to cover every science and every foundational bit of knowledge from Astronomy to Zoology, and everything that we need to support those fields, contained in a form that would allow us to create the key tools and required elements from scratch for every field.
Approaching publishers and content providers also include dealing with rights and other related issues so that the level 1 archive can be mass produced and stored with the core equipment needed to use the archive such that there is redundancy. Having access(through whatever media) which can be given away to contributors and Foundation members as part of fundraising should also be a part of this effort. While producing the level 1 Archive we expect to start all the appropriate research to layout the plan for achieving Level 2 as well and to further detail plans for moving forward.
Library Level 2 – Soft and Paper Archive
The Level 2 Archive means that we essentially have the content from the Level 1 archive in a form that does not require any significant technology, for example, paper books, the problem clearly is preserving those books. While this can be done, it is a relatively unstable method of preserving paper books for millennia. This physical library would be built at a public location away from any major metropolitan area but be open to any nonprofit group and especially universities. It would also be available for any number of programs undertaken in the facility wrapped around the physical library as well as being the location for higher level archive versions (i.e. 3, 4 or 5). The level 2 archive should contain a paper version of all Level 1 material and ideally in at least two locations. This archive is not meant really to be independent of curation for long durations and it is expected this will require some minimal maintenance at the very least. Level 2 then means the acquisition of land for the archive and building the archive and acquiring or producing the needed books and printed material. During the level 2 construction we may add to the level 1 archive, not just in more material but also in material that may not have been in electronic format.
Library Level 3 – Short-Term Stable Archive
Once the level one and level two archives are complete the level 3 archive is about long-term stability. Faraday cages for computers for the level 1 archive as well as multiple backups including power support. Redundancy in the paper archive including long-term climate control based on sustainable technology to support the long-term functionality of the paper archive or library. From our standpoint, the difference between Levels 1 and 2 vs. level 3 is really long-term viability, not just in the archive but in the organization, its structure and developing a supportive mythos around the archive project from sponsoring educational programs and related projects to developing archivists to maintain the archive. Post level 3 it is time to plan data content structure and an improved layered approach for the next phase of the archive to make it easier to digest. We should be starting to really nail down manufacturing for the disks in the level 4 and 5 archives.
Library Level 4 – Hardened Archive
The Level 4 Archive includes getting the Archive data better organized, an educational tree where subjects and difficulty are organized, such that it is easier to learn by order of complexity and data dependency, for as much knowledge and technical material as possible. Further, in this phase, we want to burn or micro-etch disks or develop some other way to make a relatively compact version of the entire archive in a form that requires no more technology then simple lenses AND is a form that can last for 1 million years w/o data corruption such as an etching or engraving. Once this is complete than the production of at least 2 full archives at two different locations would have to be achieved to be able to say we have completed the level 4 archive
Library Level 5 – The Immortal Archive
Achieving the Immortal Archive is the most important task we have set up for ourselves as an organization. The Immortal Archive or Level 5 Archive includes improvements to the Level 4 disks and enough technical knowledge to be able to manufacture the archive disks ourselves even if actual production is out-sourced. Further, the long-term durability of the disks even if it’s a function of packaging needs to be increased hopefully to something approaching 10 million years, further redundancy of this archive needs to include 3 off-world locations including the moon, Mars and somewhere in the outer solar system.
And Where do we go from here? Next Steps,
Next steps for the Foundation are really specific tasks around the Level 1 Archive also including some initial work towards level 2, 3 and 4 archives so we can have better context through the course of the project. We will be a focus on publishers and sources for printable data and be acquiring the rights to use such data, raising money to manufacture the Level 3 discs and on the layout format and organization, we will use. We hope to have a form of the Level 1 discs to help with fundraising or sponsors as well as organizing our campaign and milestone planning.
Why so important?
The Library Project comes out of our vision of long-term preservation of knowledge with the intent of it lasting 1million years for humans and or post-humans that we might someday pass beyond the earth into the universe with ourselves, our children or our machinations.
In the absence of any other intelligence, we must assume we are the only ones and it is up to us to populate the universe if for no other reason than that there would then be meaning in all things. With the Library, we work towards the long-term success of intelligence in the universe. The Project is the single most important thing we can do, given the current state of civilization, to improve the likely hood of achieving post-human intelligence, if not from this civilization then maybe for the next. This then is the key to why the Foundation is so committed to the creation of the archive.
For the foundation, the archive is key to the Long-term survival of intelligence in the universe given the known baseline. We must move past the current fragile state of civilization to the long-term survivability of intelligent civilization and help lay the foundation for a post-human or trans-humanist future.