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Monday, 10 May 2010


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The impermanence of electronic storage media of the computer age is something we all need to be reminded of. It might be that storage formats have come and gone so quickly in part because we are simply living through the beginning of the computer age (looked at on a large time scale) and that as more and more of society depends on electronic media, the inertia of whatever we use presently will become harder and harder to overcome. So willful format changes (5.25 floppy to 3.5 floppy, etc) will happen less often moving forward.


Even so, I've been told by others with more experience with archiving data that nothing really has yet been invented that beats good quality acid free paper stored in a clean, dry environment. (I mean, there's always stone engraving, but really...) At least in termes of longevity and cost.


I'm absolutely inclined to agree with you, if only because figuring out how to transfer information from my old hard drives --- dating back to the early '90s --- to my new ones has proven to be such a chore. (Some of them can be done easily, or so .todd tells me; but others require equipment that is, to say the least, arcane and difficult to find.)

Luke Mergner

I've considered scanning my journals. Not sure why, probably just to flatter myself.


Yeah, I had someone volunteer some old data for me for a project recently and I eagerly told the guy to send it to me. Only later did it really occur to me that he was sending me like 20 3.5in floppies. Sigh. I know how to transfer the data (at least, I know how to find someone to do it for me) but it's just a pain in the ass.

Naadir Jeewa

Actually, isn't it more likely that these kind of things will just get lost in cloud-based accounts that are recouped by the service provider before anyone can find them?


I'm not sure what your past life would have been to cause all the unique situations that you seem to attract, but perhaps it's because you're premature (baby,etc.) and were very good and normal. You know I always say you were the "perfect" baby.

P.T. Smith


Every post that you post on is my favorite.


The absolute classic version of this problem is the fate of two Domesday projects. But then, as I was told in my codicology class, standards of book production have never been the same since the twelfth century.

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