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Aruba Becomes First Nation to Use the Internet Archive to Back up Their Entire History

The Indigenous population of Aruba was first colonized by the Spanish, and then the Dutch – which has given the Caribbean island a diverse history. As archivist Stacy Argondizzo also explains, “they were one disaster away, basically, from losing everything.” Back in 2018, the Internet Archive first began discussions with the country about helping them preserve all of their artifacts in the vast data stores of the San Francisco-based nonprofit.

Given that the nonprofit frequently faces lawsuits from both record labels and traditional publishers, this endorsement of Aruba is particularly timely and important. If more small nations choose to leverage the infrastructure of the Internet Archive to preserve their own cultures, it can allow the Internet Archive to tell a broader narrative about why they are important and provide a necessary service for humanity.

Alongside their mission, this story does also raise some big questions about how history should be “backed up” in the first place, what to do about “imperfect history” and who should hold the responsibility to ensuring our achievements and existence can survive any natural or unnatural disaster. 

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