Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are there condition requirements for donating items to the Internet Archive?

We are generally seeking items that are in suitable condition for archiving. Unfortunately we cannot accept any media that has had any water damage, or items in a condition where handling will cause further damage to the object. We also cannot accept any items that contain mold or other hazardous material, for the safety of our staff and our archives. If you are unsure whether your items will be in good shape for digitizing, please feel free to fill out the donation form and our team will be glad to discuss with you. Our donation form can be found here.

2. Can I have my items back once they have been digitized?

Items donated to the Internet Archive become the property of Internet Archive, and will be recorded as an unrestricted gift. Items are not returnable after donation.

3. Where will my donation items be stored and can I visit them?

Once donated, your items will be stored in our physical archives and the items’ locations will be recorded in our pallet manager system. As our physical archives are archival, rather than library, environments it is possible to locate items in storage by request but it is not possible to “visit” items on shelves like at the library.

4. When will my donation items become accessible on archive.org?

We try to digitize materials and make them available publicly as funding allows– we make no guarantees as to if and when this might be. It is difficult to estimate the timeline for digitization as it depends on many factors such as ongoing projects and available funding. While we generally estimate anywhere from a couple months to one year from receipt to digitization, we cannot make any guarantees.

5. How can I find my items on archive.org once they have been digitized?

This depends on your donation! For larger institutional donations, we often create a digital collection on archive.org so all of the items can be visited in one place. For smaller donations, the easiest way to check if your items have been uploaded is to simply search for them on archive.org. Unfortunately we cannot give updates on the digitization status of items donated to the Internet Archive.

6. Can the Internet Archive estimate the value of my donation items?

Should you need a receipt, the Internet Archive can provide one that says the donation was accepted, but we cannot ascribe an appraised value. If you should need a determination of value, please secure an independent appraisal prior to donation. If you would like to pursue an appraisal please complete an inventory of your items prior to shipping.

7. Can the Internet Archive accept this very specific media type?

If you are unsure whether we can preserve and digitize your media, please check our Media Types for Donations page but feel free to fill out our donation form for further assistance. Generally we cannot accept physical objects like computers, cameras, etc. Our donation form can be found here.

8. I am beginning to make estate plans and would like to include my physical collection as a gift to the Internet Archive – is this possible?

Yes! Please reach out to our team at donations@archive.org and we would be glad to assist in your estate planning.

9. How should I pack my donation to the Internet Archive?

For all donation items we request that donors use sturdy double-walled boxes of a consistent size and pack boxes densely. Packing densely helps protect the media when it is stacked on pallets for shipping to our digitization centers, and also helps reduce shipping costs too. We request that all donations be packed by media type (ie. separate boxes for books and other media).

For books, please see our book packing basics guide for detailed instructions on how best to pack for shipping.

For records, we recommend packing discs vertically and densely with a sleeve or sheet of paper between the records to prevent grooves from chafing.

10. Why haven’t I received a response to the letter I enclosed in my donation box?

If your kind donation was packed according to our instructions, your box will likely not be opened until it has reached the digitization center! While we cannot make any guarantees or estimate the timeline for digitization, this step could take anywhere from a couple months up to a year or more. If you would like an acknowledgement or to share background information about your donation items, the best way to do so is to send a note to our team at donations@archive.org ahead of donation.

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