Yet another take on the problem of preserving digital data for posterity. Like this BBC article about digital photography from July last year the author is worried about how we can guarantee that information that we take for granted today is still available in 100 years.
Good question though – how are we going to ensure that the mundane artefacts that become so historically valuable (like stashes of early photos or diaries or invoices or wills or any other document) by simply being old are going to be available to future generations for them to build a picture of our lives? Seriously – how many people still have betamax video players or devices that can play the old 12 inch laser discs? Technology is moving so fast that it’s unlikely that a state of the art hard disk today is going to be easily readable in as little as 10 years from now and that’s on the basis that it’s even still working!
As we become technically more savvy as a culture there is a real risk that the next 10 or 15 years will become an historical black hole as our gadgets move ahead of our ability to maintain the vast amounts of data we are bound to generate.
Thanks to categoryk for getting me started on this one…