The Arctic World Archive

The story

The Arctic World Archive results from a collaboration with Store Norske, a Norwegian state-owned mining company based on Svalbard. We were inspired by the work done by the Svalbard Global Seed Vault to protect the world’s plant seeds, and wanted to create an ultra-secure data vault to protect our digital memory.

Store Norske had the resources and facilities to help us turn the idea into reality. They provided us with access to a former mine, where the Seed Vault was located when it was first opened in 1984.

Svalbard is a great location for several reasons. Situated between mainland Norway and the North Pole, Svalbard is an archipelago under Norwegian sovereignty. The Svalbard Treaty from 1920 declares it to be a demilitarized zone with no military activity. The treaty is signed by 43 nations, including the United States, Russia and China.

Environmental protection is imperative on Svalbard, and the Arctic World Archive meets all requirements. The arctic climate with permafrost is perfect for long-term storage of film. We can literally place the film on the shelf and leave it there for hundreds of years with no need for electricity or other human intervention.

In March 2017, the Arctic World Archive was officially opened. The National Archives of Brazil and Mexico, and the Norwegian Inter-Municipal Digital Archives (KDRS) were the first to deposit data in the vault. The opening was covered by mass media worldwide, including CNN, TIME Magazine, Huffington Post, The Verge and the World Economic Forum.

The Arctic World Archive is located in mine 3 on Svalbard. The mine is owned by the Norwegian state through Store Norske.