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
(Score: 2) by looorg on Sunday September 20 2020, @06:13PM (3 children)
Overall isn't the digital age just going to be one big black hole as far as a lot of historians will and are concerned? Sure we lost a lot of things from the past but some of the stuff gets preserved. Digital can all just go *poof* or get deleted at a moments notice. Then there is all the encrypted data that might just exist then as big data blobs we can't access so they might as well almost be deleted or gone.
That said I guess it's going to be somewhat similar in science for the future, except that a lot of the important work gets reprinted and reused a lot. So it won't go away unless we are talking apocalyptic changes to society. But a lot of the poor, or bad, scientific papers they might as well just be piped straight to /dev/null and wont be missed by anyone. Few if anybody reads them and they usually don't provide much in the realm of long term value. So the good science is probably going to be around.
For the private sector I guess a similar dark hole could be around for smaller companies as they might lose a lot of their data and work to. Only really important stuff is kept on a paper record, and those records might just be a print-out and those have horribly retention as the years go by.
The great digital loss will probably be a lot of the common, or normal, people data for those scientists that are into observing normal people like. After all more and more people are leaving less and less of a permanent footprint behind in the form of non-digital documentation. But still probably not a great loss for humanity as a whole that we don't have a perfect preservation of all the things people posted on social media.
(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 20 2020, @06:23PM
Speaking of encrypted blobs, doesn't Assange still have that file called Insurance.zip floating in the ether. Time to pop that baby open.
(Score: 2) by c0lo on Monday September 21 2020, @04:30AM
Internet... between the need of "the right to be forgotten" and the *poof* of Open Access Journals.
(Score: 2) by PiMuNu on Monday September 21 2020, @10:09AM
> Overall isn't the digital age just going to be one big black hole as far as a lot of historians will and are concerned?
Nope. Plenty of plastic waste to trawl through. Fossil record even will have quite something to say about the digital age.