We back up a lot of stuff from around the web; now it's time to back up the Internet Archive, just in case.
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We back up a lot of stuff from around the web; now it's time to back up the Internet Archive, just in case.
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Client scripts for http://archiveteam.org/index.php?title=INTERNETARCHIVE.BAK/git-annex_implementation

You can use git-annex commands by hand, if you prefer, but the iabak script automates several things for you.

Clone this git repository to somewhere that has a lot of disk space, and run the iabak script to get started.

You can stop running it once it's downloaded enough. Just hit ctrl-C at any time.

This script has been tested on:

  • Linux (any not too minimal distribution)
  • OSX

System Requirements

  • RAM: 2GB (git-annex will need some ram while verifying the files you've downloaded.)
  • CPU: yes (the faster it can hash a file the better)

care and feeding of your backup

To be sure that your backup still exists and is still in good shape, you shoud periodically run either iabak or iabak-cronjob or both. Either of these will check back in and verify that your repo exists. The difference is that iabak-cronjob avoids downloading any more data from the IA, avoids verifying the checksums of the files you are storing, and logs to iabak-cronjob.log.

We recommend setting up a cron job that runs one of these at least once per week, so we can notice when repositories go missing or develop problems.

For example, to run it at 10:30am on Mondays, put this in crontab:

30 10 * * 1 /path/to/IA.BAK/iabak-cronjob

The install-fsck-service installs a systemd timer or cron job that will run iabak-cronjob once a day. This is now set up automatically the first time iabak is run.

checking out additional shards

Running iabak will check out one shard of the IA at a time. Once it finishes the current shard, if you have more disk space available, it will find and check out another shard.

To manually check out a particular shard, you can run the checkoutshard script, passing it the name of a shard, such as "shard3". See the repolist file for a list of shards and their status.

Once you have multiple shards checked out, the next time you run iabak, it will process all them.

flag files

You can touch these files in the IA.BAK directory to control iabak.

  • NOSHUF Prevents shuffling files before downloading.
  • NOMORE Prevents iabak from checking out additional shards as existing shards complete.

Also, these files in the IA.BAK directory can have values written to them to tune its behavior.

  • ANNEXGETOPTS Options passed to git annex get. This is useful to enable concurrent downloads of multiple files. For example "-J10" for concurrent downloads.

  • FSCKTIMELIMIT Limits how much time is spent verifying checksums of files in your backup. The default is "5h", which means it will spend up to 5 hours per shard per run of iabak. Feel free to set this to a smaller time limit like "1h" or "30m". (Note that iabak-cronjob does not perform these expensive fscks.)

    The goal is to verify the checksum of each file in your backup once per month. If it's interrupted by this time limit, or just by your ctrl-c, it will pick up next time where it left off. Once it's verified all files, it will avoid doing any more checksumming until the next month.

tuning resource usage

So you want to back up part of the IA, but don't want this to take over your whole disk or internet pipe? Here's some tuning options you can use.. Run these commands in git repos like IA.BAK/shard1, IA.BAK/shard2, etc.

  • git config annex.diskreserve 200GB This will prevent git-annex from using up the last 200gb of your disk. Adjust to suit. This is prompted for the first time you run iabak, and it is automatically propagated to each new shard.

  • git config annex.web-options --limit-rate=200k This will limit wget/curl to downloading at 200 kb/s. Adjust to suit.

    Note that if concurrent downloads are enabled, each download thread will use up to this rate limit.

instructions for earlier users

If you cloned shard1 by hand before, here's how to convert to managing it with iabak.

  1. Clone this repo to the same drive you cloned shard1 to before.
  2. Stop any running git-annex process.
  3. Move the shard1 repo to IA.BAK/shard1
  4. Go to IA.BAK, and run ./iabak


  • Can I run this on BSD? Not without some serious work. You'll need /bin/bash, GNU awk, and possibly other things I can't think of off the top of my head. Join the IRC channel and chat with other BSD users; they may have more up-to-date information.

  • Can I store the backups on an NFS or SMB filesystem? Kinda. If you're using SMB then you're on your own (but do send us a pull request). If you're using NFS then you'll have to install git-annex manually (as the default install tarball uses symlinks), and you'll have to add "-c annex.sshcaching=false" to the ANNEXGETOPTS file so that git-annex doesn't try to create unix sockets on your NFS filesystem.

  • I keep seeing this error message from git-annex: "Unable to access these remotes: web"; what do I do? This indicates that a file used to exist on archive.org but has since been hidden for one reason or another. The message will also list which git remotes are believed to contain the file; if remotes other than the web remote are listed then you could contact that user and arrange for access to the file. The best way to do this is to set up mutual SSH access.

  • What do I do when git-annex tells me "verification of content failed"? This means that git-annex tried to verify the content of a file it has downloaded, but failed to do so. Most likely the file has changed since we first added it to the shard. This is most common with torrent files and the *_meta.xml files.

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