Tech Tree: Ebooks to be archived for 1,000 years

eBooks.com partners with GitHub to preserve a core collection of computing titles in a deep underground vault

A selection of tech-related ebooks will stored for 1,000 years alongside GitHub's massive code repository

Are your titles on a list of technology books set to be preserved in a vault deep in the Arctic permafrost?

eBooks.com has partnered with GitHub in an international project to archive a broad selection of tech-related titles beneath a mountain in Svalbard, Norway.

Svalbard is an archipelago between mainland Norway and the North Pole. It is already home to a massive archive of computer code assembled by GitHub. So far the Silicon Valley company, which is home to most of the world’s open source software, has committed 21 terabytes of code to hardened microfilm and stored it in a decommissioned coal mine. (To put that in context, the entire contents of the US Library of Congress amounts to under 15 terabytes.) Millions of developers around the world contributed to the open source software now stored in the Arctic Code Vault.

Now, with the help of eBooks.com and other partners, GitHub is assembling a library of books as a “Tech Tree” — a body of knowledge that explains how current technology works, and how it’s used. The books in the collection will provide context for future readers, helping them to make sense of the existing computer code archive. And, just like the code archive, these books will also be printed on hardened microfilm.

Inspired by the Long Now Foundation’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.

GitHub’s Jon Evans said, “Encapsulating the world’s cultural context and technical history is a challenging prospect, and we expect the Tech Tree to evolve and iterate over time. We’re grateful for the help provided by eBooks.com in assembling a key component of the Arctic Code Vault.”

Contributing publishers include Wiley, Packt, O’Reilly, Springer, Cambridge University Press, and Oxford University Press.

and talks with other publishers are ongoing.

Are your titles on the list?

Check out the list of the works selected by GitHub’s community for the Tech Tree. If your books are listed and you’d like to discuss permissions, please contact us and we’ll introduce you to the appropriate contact at GitHub. Just to be clear: No publisher’s books go into the archive unless the publisher has granted the necessary permissions. So don’t worry.

More about the archive program

Security

Ebook files will be secured by eBooks.com’s military grade encryption throughout the project. They will be used once: to print each book onto durable media, and then deleted. Thereafter the microfilm will be locked in a container in a locked chamber beneath 280 meters of permafrost near the North Pole. Extra secure.

Subject areas

The Tech Tree is loosely divided into sixteen sections, including titles on programming languages, hardware architecture, networking and so on. But it also extends to a broader cultural context, with titles in areas such as language, women and technology, and the arts.

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