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posted by mrpg on Saturday June 30 2018, @04:58AM   Printer-friendly
from the 404 dept.

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


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  • (Score: 2) by takyon on Saturday June 30 2018, @12:35PM (1 child)

    by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Saturday June 30 2018, @12:35PM (#700633) Journal

    Unlike the paper, film, canvas or stone/metal

    All of those are subject to degradation and destruction. Particularly paper, film, and canvas. They also have a low information density.

    Ultimately, we want to develop storage with an indefinite [soylentnews.org] lifespan [soylentnews.org] as well as an unprecedented density. DNA storage is on the table (455 exabytes per gram [wikipedia.org] or 215 petabytes per gram [wikipedia.org]?), and it can be replicated easily with PCR machines, but it doesn't look convenient. Wikipedia also gives a questionable estimate of 35 bits/electron ∴ 3 exabytes/in2 for electronic quantum holography. You could imagine some kind of crystalline medium being used for holographic storage while lasting many times longer than typical optical discs.

    As for the problem of unspecified or lost formats, if we manage to get exabytes of storage into the hands of every individual on the planet, and zettabytes or yottabytes in larger organizations, we could easily spread lots of knowledge and culture around*, which can be copied endlessly over the internet or whatever networks exist at that point, irrespective of format. Which returns us back to the problem of copyright laws making it harder (though far from impossible) to archive and share our ongoing history.

    *The entirety of compressed English Wikipedia can fit onto a 16 GB storage device. An exabyte is 62.5 million times larger.

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  • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Saturday June 30 2018, @02:27PM

    by c0lo (156) on Saturday June 30 2018, @02:27PM (#700670) Journal

    All of those are subject to degradation and destruction.

    So it's the current digital storage media. Until the linked tech get into mass production, that's speculation.

    As for the problem of unspecified or lost formats, if we manage to get exabytes of storage into the hands of every individual on the planet, and zettabytes or yottabytes in larger organizations, we could easily spread lots of knowledge and culture around

    Uhu. Go read some Word documents from 15 years ago, with OLE-embedded [wikipedia.org] blobs. On 32bit CPU-es.

    Imagine how well those exabytes will read after 100 years if you don't have any format spec.

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