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29 March 2017

New Arctic ‘Doomsday Library’ Aims to Preserve the World’s Knowledge

Following the success of the Global Seed Vault, a ‘Noah’s Ark’ of sorts designed to house vast stores of seeds in order to repopulate the Earth in case of global catastrophe, a similar effort is now taking place this time focusing on the plethora of books, cultural text and other writings currently held only in a fragile physical form.

The entrance to the Global Seed Vault   - Img: Erlend Bjørtvedt
Within the new library, located in Svalbard, Norway, important texts will instead be stored on film, rendering them invulnerable to the cyber-attacks that are only increasing in prevalence in recent years. The storage facility itself is designed to ensure that the data survives the most extreme conditions, including nuclear war.

The storage technology used to preserve the data has been created by technology firm Piql, which developed the film with funding and support from the EU, the Norwegian Research Council, and Innovation Norway.

Speaking to Norwegian national broadcaster NRK, Kartrine Loen Thomson from Piql said, “We believe that we can save the data using our technology for a whole 1,000 years.”

Norway, Brazil and Mexico will be the first countries to saves copies of their files within the vault.

The vault itself is located in a deep mine known as Mine 3, frozen in the permafrost of the Norwegian archipelago. The location has been selected due to the ramifications of the 1920 Svalbard Treaty, which gave Norway sovereignty over the area and essentially rendered Svalbard a demilitarised zone.


Pal Berg, from SNSK, a Norwegian coal mining firm, said, “We can be reasonably confident that no military attack will happen.”


Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor in an attempt to expand his horizons.