viernes, 27 de agosto de 2010
Consider the BBC Domesday Project, undertaken in 1986 to mark the 900th anniversary of the original Domesday Book, a land-use survey of England commissioned by William the Conqueror in 1086. For the latter-day survey of the island, thousands of Britons contributed text, photos and video that were published on two custom laser disks.
But just 15 years later, it was impossible to access those disks without lots of custom hardware and extensive software emulation. Currently the Centre for Computing History in Haverhill, England, has a functional emulation and hopes to post the contents to the Web.
Meanwhile, the original Domesday Book, handwritten on sheepskin, remains in the British archives, usable after nine centuries by anyone literate in Latin.
Anyone with data stored on 5.25-inch floppies or text in WordStar format faces a problem similar to the one that befell the BBC Domesday Project. The digital data we are generating wholesale will very likely become unusable within our lifetimes unless we take steps to preserve it.
The situation cannot be blamed entirely on the computer industry's treadmill of planned obsolescence. In essence, digital storage technology has inherent drawbacks that make paper look immortal.
Source: ComputerWorld, August 2010.