David Pogue has as usual made a very good and entertaining column, this one from his NYT email newsletter
, about hard drives and the companies which reanimate them when they die.
From this article:SG: Yeah. One of our recovery guys said something one time, that in 100 years, anything we put on electronic media will not exist. Yet anything published will still be around. And I think he's right. DP: So things on paper-- SG: So your books will be here. DP: Thank you so much.
... It is a very valid point, of course. We should never stop thinking about survival of important data and culture.
On the other hand, these days with everybody being his own publisher, the great bulk of stuff being published only in electronic form is meant
to be transient. What is the immortal value of 500,000 blogs on, frig, god knows what, but almost all of it about things that are only relevant this year or this month. Heck, even David Pogue's books, which are the best tech books you'll find... who's gonna read about Mac OS X, version 10.4.4, in the year 2106?
ALSO, I actually don't agree that the data will disappear. Because people don't let their data sit on the same disk until nobody knows how to read its format anymore. They move it to never disks, and most of the important stuff will probably be readable somehow, or get translated along the way. Just think about how much of what was published on paper 100 years ago which has actually survived (on the original paper). It is surely much less than 0.1%.
ALSO, if something is important in a hundred years, it will be far easier and cheaper to bring it to the world, on the Net. If something is only available on paper in a few copies, it is not really available to mankind anyway.