[clug] Keeping Data Alive

Brians brians at en.com.au
Sun Feb 21 18:26:50 MST 2010

This raises interesting questions.

I have a fruit box of 8" floppy disks, various boxes of old obsolete 
magnetic tapes etc

All of which are not much good without  the media reader but more 
the O/S, application software and user knowledge to read them.

It has been noted that several old copies of the original Gutenberg
Bible still exist and they are still human readable.

So I guess the two big problems are:

1) How can I keep "my" digital data safe and alive in the scenario below

2) What data would I like off the Internet if I thought it was going to 
switch off /decay sometime soon?

I note that you can get a "School" copy of wikipedia on DVD or for download
every couple of years:


I guess a concrete example to work on would be has anyone downloaded the 
latest DVD version of the wikipedia
and put it on there own internal server and tried to maintain it for 
several years or actually forever
given the scenario below.


Jacinta Richardson wrote:
> Steve Walsh wrote:
>> So, my guess is, the chances are pretty good that people will be able to
>> read documents in 100 years.
> I ponder the scenario where we wipe ourselves out or end up with much of
> humanity wiped out and the rest back at hunter/gatherer level sometime in the
> next 100 years.  I wonder what the next advanced civilisation to check out our
> cities will make of our USB keys, decayed floppy discs, defunct machines.  We've
> pieced together much of our past civilisations because they wrote stuff down on
> rock and leather and papyrus.  We've amassed so much knowledge, but it's all
> digital.  When the lights go out, what then?
> An episode of Dr Who from sometime when I was a young teenager had the Doctor's
> companion find an LP record in the rubble on a much older Earth.  A native asks
> "What is that?" and the companion replies "a record".  The native knows it's a
> record (in the sense that it is data) and asks "Yes, but what's on it?".  The
> companion pieces together the label and explains a bit about the music of
> whichever band it featured.  I suspect LPs would be much easier to translate
> than CDs and they again easier than BlueRay.  How will our future historians
> work out the USB protocol?  How readable are our files if we try to treat a
> whole hard drive as a mass of strings?
> 	J

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