Linked by Kroc on Thu 26th Oct 2006 17:10 UTC
Features, Office History tends to leave behind mostly two kinds of information - the irrelevant and the biased. Archaeologists are either digging up people's thrown away junk, or reading some emperor's pompous account of his great deeds. The archaeology of the future will involve carefully extracting random 1s and 0s off of media and theorising what it all could mean. In the reckless and fast moving digital world, many stumbling blocks have been created that would drastically inhibit future generations learning about our ancient digital existence.
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So True
by ferrels on Thu 26th Oct 2006 17:43 UTC
ferrels
Member since:
2006-08-15

I'm always amused by the archeology documentary shows where some geek is attaching deep religious significance to every artifact that gets uncovered. What makes archeologists believe that ancient man was any more religious than modern man?

I can only imagine what the archeologists will say 2000 years from now when they dig up one of our toilets. They'll probably say that that it was an altar of great significance where ancient man spent much time meditating and leaving offerings to his Gods!

What they'll say about digital artifacts is anybodies guess :-)

Reply Score: 5

RE: So True
by Oliver on Thu 26th Oct 2006 18:04 in reply to "So True"
Oliver Member since:
2006-07-15

They do not need some nice new technology, history of the past is indeed a huge area of pieces - and guess what? It's a giant puzzle.
In the end, there is nothing different between the past and the future - maybe technology helps to gather certain information but the path is equal ... compare it with forensics.

>They'll probably say that that it was an altar of great significance where ancient man spent much time meditating and leaving offerings to his Gods!

Some do it, others don't. It's a puzzle and they do it like a police officer in some murder case. Don't think of archaeology like mumbo jumbo, it's a science!


Ontopic,

>If you have something you want to say to the future, then you're better off writing it on a piece of paper and putting it away safely. The way things are going, we will be lucky if any of our digital data is readable in 100 years, but your piece of paper could easily still be around.

It doesn't matter, because paper today isn't of that quality as paper of the past. Many acids are in it and the best method to secure it for future generations is unknown until know.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: So True
by Doc Pain on Thu 26th Oct 2006 18:46 in reply to "RE: So True"
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

"It doesn't matter, because paper today isn't of that quality as paper of the past. Many acids are in it and the best method to secure it for future generations is unknown until know."

Agreed. Therefore, one good solution is copying the information from paper to microfiche / microplanfilm / microfilm / rollfilm. To re-read this data, you won't need a computer, even no electricity - very useful after atomic fallouts. :-) A simple candle and some kind of glasses will project the information from the film.

And remember the tons of data collected by NASA missions from the 60s to the 80s. They're stored on magnetic tape, but no one is able to process or read them.

Media like CDs and DVDs will go the same way. Without properly functioning drives and software they cannot be read. And if they are "copy protected" (i. e. made unusable under certain conditions), it won't be better. And some people even copy their data from DVD to DVD in once a year. Wow...

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: So True
by jack_perry on Thu 26th Oct 2006 18:49 in reply to "RE: So True"
jack_perry Member since:
2005-07-06

It doesn't matter, because paper today isn't of that quality as paper of the past. Many acids are in it and the best method to secure it for future generations is unknown until know.

You can buy acid-free paper if you look hard enough. I have some myself.

That aside, the paper that's lasted from the past is paper that has survived in dry environments. This is one reason ancient parchments turn up when people dig in the Egyptian desert, rather than along the Mediterranean basin.

Personally, I'd inscribe it onto a wet clay tablet, then put it out to dry.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: So True
by juda on Fri 27th Oct 2006 03:36 in reply to "So True"
juda Member since:
2006-10-27

If you were to talk to an archaeologist over a beer, (s)he would tell you that the use of religious significance to label artifacts usually means we have no clue what it really was used for.

Most likely something will survive. Just consider the volume that is produced. But the question is will anyone be able to interpret what the data says even if it is unencrypted? An example is Linear A, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linear_A We cannot deciphered it yet.

Reply Parent Score: 1