from the bitrot dept.
David Rosenthal discusses the last 25 years of digital preservation efforts in regards to academic journals. It's a long-standing problem and discontinued journals continue to disappear from the Internet. Paper, microfilm, and microfiche are slow to degrade and are decentralized and distributed. Digital media are quick to disappear and the digital publications are usually only in a single physical place leading to single point of failure. It takes continuous, unbroken effort and money to keep digital publications accessible even if only one person or institution wishes to retain acccess. He goes into the last few decades of academic publishing and how we got here and then brings up 4 points abuot preservation, especially in regards to Open Access publishing.
Lesson 1: libraries won't pay enough to preserve even subscription content, let alone open-access content.
[...] Lesson 2: No-one, not even librarians, knows where most of the at-risk open-access journals are.
[...] Lesson 3: The production preservation pipeline must be completely automated.
[...] Lesson 4: Don't make the best be the enemy of the good. I.e. get as much as possible with the available funds, don't expect to get everything.
He posits that focus should be on the preservation of the individual articles, not the journals as units.
(2020) Internet Archive Files Answer and Affirmative Defenses to Publisher Copyright Infringement Lawsuit
(2018) Vint Cerf: Internet is Losing its Memory
(2014) The Importance of Information Preservation
As the world slowly moves towards a 100% digital existence, and increasingly consumes their information online, we run the risk of destroying our own legacy. Consider this hypothetical future narrative:
Historians are at a loss to explain the demise of the first pan-human civilisation, as although they agree that the populous dwindled and went almost extinct at around AD 3500, there seems to be no surviving written historical records that can be dated any later than circa AD 2000.
It can only be assumed that around this time, that there was a sudden uptake of illiteracy, maybe caused by a new religion or global-governmental policy. There are surviving references to an organization or group known as the Inter Nets. We can only guess at what this actually was, but the commonly accepted theory is that it was actually some type of wearable mesh harness that prevented humans of this era from actually writing anything down.
Sound ridiculous? I'm not so sure. As information is continually and fully migrated from the printed page and on to the Internet we lose the permanency that a book or ancient scroll brings. Paper and parchment when stored correctly can survive for thousands of years, and if not, the information held within can be transcribed in to replacement volumes when required. If it wasn't for the (well documented) fire that destroyed the Library of Alexandria we'd still have knowledge of the information that was contained there today.
Vint Cerf, the godfather of the Internet, spoke in Sydney, Australia on Wednesday and issued a blunt call to action for a digital preservation regime for content and code to be quickly put in place to counter the existing throwaway culture that denies future generations an essential window into life in the past. He emphasized that this was especially needed for the WWW. Due to the volatile nature of electronic storage media as well as the format in which information is encoded, it is not possible to preserve digital material without prior planning and action.
[...] While the digital disappearance phenomenon is one which has so far mainly vexed official archivists and librarians for some years now, Cerf's take is that as everything goes from creation, the risk of accidental or careless memory loss increases correspondingly.
Archivists have for decades fought publicly for open document formats to hedge against proprietary and vendor risks – especially when classified material usually can only be made public after 30 to 50 years, sometimes longer.
From iTnews : Internet is losing its memory: Cerf
The Internet Archive has filed its answer and affirmative defenses in response to a copyright infringement lawsuit filed by a group of publishers. Among other things, IA believes that its work is protected under the doctrine of fair use and the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA.
[...] The statement spends time explaining the process of CDL – Controlled Digital Lending – noting that the Internet Archive provides a digital alternative to traditional libraries carrying physical books. As such, it "poses no new harm to authors or the publishing industry."
[...] "The Internet Archive has made careful efforts to ensure its uses are lawful. The Internet Archive's CDL program is sheltered by the fair use doctrine, buttressed by traditional library protections. Specifically, the project serves the public interest in preservation, access and research—all classic fair use purposes," IA's answer reads.
"As for its effect on the market for the works in question, the books have already been bought and paid for by the libraries that own them. The public derives tremendous benefit from the program, and rights holders will gain nothing if the public is deprived of this resource."
Previously: Internet Archive Suspends E-Book Lending "Waiting Lists" During U.S. National Emergency
Authors Fume as Online Library "Lends" Unlimited Free Books
Publishers Sue the Internet Archive Over its Open Library, Declare it a Pirate Site
Internet Archive Ends "Emergency Library" Early to Appease Publishers
EFF and California Law Firm Durie Tangri Defending Internet Archive from Publisher Lawsuit