Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 10th Nov 2008 09:13 UTC, submitted by irbis
In the News What stands a better chance of surviving 50 years from now, a framed photograph or a 10-megabyte digital photo file on your computer's hard drive? The concern for archivists and information scientists is that, with ever-shifting platforms and file formats, much of the data we produce today could eventually fall into a black hole of inaccessibility.
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RE: open source data format
by ggeldenhuys on Mon 10th Nov 2008 15:08 UTC in reply to "open source data format"
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As long as the file specification is open source, the most important file types will be usable in the future.

Indeed, that does solve the file format problem, but that's not the only problem.

One might consider to store a few virtual machines with legacy applications to open such older files.
Problem solved.

Clever idea, but you still sit with a "what medium" issue. For example. Lets say we use VM's for the legacy applications. And 1000's of SATA hard drives to store all the data.

Who says we will be able to read data from a SATA drive in 50 years? I have stacks of 5.25" floppies in my garage. So the data is there, but I don't have the hardware (10 years down the line) to read that data anymore? We could have a similar problem in 50 years
with SATA hard drives.

The other problem is failing hardware. You store valuable data on a 1 Terabyte drive for future use. The drive goes faulty - you loose an unbelievable about of data in one go. Books and other printed material don't have that vulnerability.

This is actually a serious issue...

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