Nice OpEd column in the Financial Times about the permanence of digital media – something I am very concerned about.
But print has other advantages. It is impervious to viruses, hackers and other electronic intruders. Most important, it won’t be rendered unreadable when the technological wind changes. An FT article a few years ago pointed out that, while scholars can still read the 900-year old Domesday Book, written on sheepskin, a BBC project to create an equivalent 1986 record of British life, using adolescent diaries and video tours, was unusable within a decade. It had been recorded on huge laser discs and the machines no longer existed to run them.
Take a cd or dvd, for example. Nobody really knows what their shelf life is. It’s all guestimates. Same for data recorded on flash media? Shelf life? We don’t really know.
Thanks to BookofJoe for the heads-up.b