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Re: "Digital Dark Age"
- To: BOOK_ARTS-L@LISTSERV.SYR.EDU
- Subject: Re: "Digital Dark Age"
- From: Dennis Moser <aldus@ANGREK.COM>
- Date: Wed, 10 Feb 1999 06:44:51 -0600
- In-Reply-To: <199902100808.DAA03379@chi.pair.com>
- Message-Id: <199902101255.EAA17030@palimpsest.Stanford.EDU>
- Sender: "Book_Arts-L: READ THE FAQ at http://www.dreamscape.com/pdverhey" <BOOK_ARTS-L@LISTSERV.SYR.EDU>
<< "Digital storage is easy; digital
> preservation is not." >>
>Hogwash. Propaganda posed by people who really don't comprehend what the
>modern open-architecture (aka IBM PC) computer has brought to the game.
>Invariabliy these "experts" point to some obsolete closed-architecture (aka as
>proprietary) computer systems as their examples of how digital data is lost.
< How about the extinct 5 3/4" floppy disk, that was the standard ten years
> ago, and now is virtually impossible to be readed, because there's no
> machine that can do that? >>
>What about them? To compare a 5 3/4" floppy to a CD-ROM is silly. I am
>talking about the winner in the digital storage wars not the losers. The
>prevailing logic appears to be: Since digital storage mediums can become
>obsolete this means that all digital storage mediums will by neccesity become
Hogwash and nonsense, indeed. And typical of the "blue sky" talk so often
made by those who least understand the definitions of "digital
preservation." If you think I'm wrong consider the discussion that has been
going on over on the ARCHIVES-L list for several years now, concerning just
this very issue. Consider, also, how long it has taken the Powers That Be
to acknowledge the legitimacy of the digital materials as being a "record"
of culture/society/knowledge, etc.
The IBM PC (ANYTHING but open architecture!) is nowhere nearly so
ubiquitous as Fletcher would have us believe...perhaps in the United
States, but part of the point that both Hillis and Brand are making is that
we have take the "Long Now" view ("la lang duree"? My French is that
great...but it's an idea that's been around for some time amongst
historians) and do it NOW, which entails taking a broader view than seen
within the intellectual confines of the US of A.
Sure, we can be fairly certain that we will have incomplete fragments of
the early days of the digerati, but to really capture the Age, it means
having business processes in place by corporations to capture -- digitally
-- their day-to-day doings, libraries and museums whose mission statements
and collecting policies are rigourous/vigorous about collecting the digital
record of humanity, and learning instiutions that enculcate the positive
values of all of the preceeding.
... and it AIN'T happening, kids. If you aren't personally migrating ALL of
your paper to digital format, if you aren't practicing an annual
(semi-annual) migration of your digital material to new media, then you are
part of the problem. (Please note that I am not advocating this
wholesale...I'm still grappling with the archival concept of "appraisal" as
it applies to personal records... 8-( ...). And, yes, there are a few
beacons of light out there, institutions that are trying to address some of
If you are at all concerned about this issue, PLEASE go read the articles
in question. You can reach the Long Now site at the following link:
The original essay, as it appeared on "The Edge"'s site can be found here:
Stop quibbling about My PCs better than your "fill in the blank" and go
read the originals! And yes, dt, EVERY digital storage media WILL become
obsolete just as soon as something new comes along.
"That so few now dare to be eccentric, marks the chief danger of the time"
--John Stuart Mill (1806-73)