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The World's Strangest Librarian, Part 1
Episode 1213th July 2023 • Traceroute • Equinix
00:00:00 00:38:12

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In Traceroute’s Season 2 finale, we explore the Herculean efforts to back up the entire internet and save all human knowledge for future generations. But if information becomes commoditized, then who will own history?

As season 2 of Traceroute comes to a close, we take an in-depth look at one of the most important issues in tech today: the intersection between information, access, and ownership. In part one, we’re introduced to Alexis Rossi, the Director of Collections at the Internet Archive, a different kind of librarian (at a different kind of library) that’s attempting to back up the entire internet, as well as the breadth of human knowledge. But undertaking this mammoth tasks forces Alexis—and indeed all of us—to ask some critical questions: who or what decides what gets preserved…and why. But even as we made huge technical strides in preserving our history, more questions arise: as our analog history turns to dust, is the digital representation we replace it with actually history? Is history lost when all the artifacts are replicas, or do we qualify it somehow as an approximation of history?

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Traceroute is a podcast from Equinix, and is a production Stories Bureau. This episode was produced by John Taylor, with help from Tim Balint and Cat Bagsic. It was edited by Joshua Ramsey and mixed by Jeremy Tuttle, with additional editing and sound design by Mathr de Leon. Our theme song was composed by Ty Gibbons.