Monday, January 26, 2009

The end of history

The British library addresses the too-often-overlooked issue of digital archiving.

Historians have become increasingly concerned that while the Domesday Book, written on sheepskin in 1086, is still easily accessible, the software for many decade-old computer files - including thousands of government records - already renders them unreadable.

There is already one stark warning from history. The BBC's Doomsday Project of 1986, intended to record the state of the nation for posterity, was recorded on two 12inch videodisks. By 2000 it was obsolete, and was rescued only thanks to a specialist team working with a sole surviving laser disk player.

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