What is the biggest storage of books and other printed documents in the world?

The two biggest collections of books and other printed materials in the world are the Library of Congress (which is in effect the national library of the USA) and the British Library.

The Library of Congress has reported that its collection of 150 million books, papers and documents fills about 745 miles of shelving while the British Library near Euston says it has a mere 388 miles of shelves with only 25 million books.

But when we look not just at “books” but at all the stored “items” it is reported that there are 160 million items in all known languages and formats in the British library. This includes not only books but also  journals, newspapers, magazines, recordings, patents, maps, prints and drawings. Indeed the British Library holds and stores manuscripts and historical documents dating back to 300BC.

Publishers have a legal obligation to provide The British Library with a copy of each new book that is produced, and so the Library receives copies of all books produced in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, including all books published outside the British Isles but distributed in the UK.

As if that were not enough, to keep the collection up, the Library purchases many items which are only published outside Britain and Ireland.  As a result it adds about three million items every year.

Perhaps one of the most amazing things about the Library is that it is in principle open to everyone who has a genuine need to use its collections.

Fortunately most of us don’t have storage needs that are quite as large as the British Library, but we do, like the BL, need to know that our printed material is safe and secure, and that we can access it quickly when needed.

Which is what Admiral provides.

You can find out more at our website.

If it is on a computer, the chances are it will go missing

The fact that there are around 8 million hits on Google for sites that deal with issues of data loss ought to tell us something – something such as the fact that digital technology has a problem: data gets lost.

I don’t want to dwell on the issue too much for fear that it might seem as if I am trying to issue notices of doom and gloom, but in summary data seems to get lost in no less than six ways:

  • Everyone forgets where on the computer the information was filed.  (We often don’t admit this, but it is amazing how often this happens.)
  • Someone leaves a memory stick on a train or sends data on a CD which the courier loses.
  • A hard drive corrupts, and there is no adequate back up (or the back up uses old technology and so can’t be accessed any more) so the data is lost.
  • An aggrieved individual (such as an employee or ex-employee) walks out of the office with data on a memory stick and uses it maliciously.
  • Someone breaks in electronically and removes the data.
  • A virus or a Trojan attacks your system and corrupts everything.

In short, what we can say for sure is that:

  1. Digital data goes missing
  2. Most companies feel that it can’t happen to them because they are either too careful or they have good protection systems in place.

Of course I can’t argue with you about your own protection systems, but the fact is that data regularly goes missing from major companies, government ministries, and from individual computers (as when people put in their own credit card details).  And that’s just about everywhere.

So what’s to be done?  Should we all go back to paper?

Of course that’s impossible. Increasingly our society is based on digital technology – but it is clear that if you really want things to stay where they should be (contracts, legal agreements, historic data for HMRC etc) then having a paper based system is helpful.

All you need then is somewhere to store it.  Somewhere that only you and your colleagues can access.

And that’s what we provide.  The antidote to lost digital data.  The classic storage facility.

If you would like to know more go to our website or give us a call on 0800 783 9516.