Will my Facebook photos still be around in 600 years?
August 31, 2010 9:35 PM Subscribe
Can you point me to any good writing (research-based, speculative, or heck, even fictional) about the potential historical permanence or impermanence of digital media? I'm interested in both professional (theatrical movies, book publishing, maps...) and personal (digital snapshots, Livejournal, email...) forms of digital information storage.
posted by bubukaba to Technology (8 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I currently believe, perhaps wrongly, that digital media are problematically impermanent in the long-term (on the scale of hundreds or thousands of years - maybe a little less so on the scale of a lifetime). But I really don't have much evidence for this view beyond an intuitive sense that information is much more safely stored as physical objects than as 1s and 0s that leave no physical trace on their shells (but I also admit to a rather limited understanding of how current storage technologies work or where they are going).
But surely, if this is actually an issue, there must be people doing something about it or thinking about it. Are there computer engineers working on it? Are there archivists writing theoretical articles about it? Is it possible that someday someone will dig up a cache of early 21st century hard drives and still be able to access the information on them, as people in the 20th century were able to discover modern
information that was still accessible?