Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Just How Long Will Digital Documents Last?

That's the burning question. We all remember how we thought (or at least hoped) that the preservation techniques and documents of the past would see us through recording and preserving our family history:
  • Scotch tape
  • Poloroid Photographs
  • Self adhesive scrapbooks
  • standard scrapbook paper
  • 8 Tracks tapes
  • cassette tapes
  • VHS
  • Microfilm
...and the list goes on.

David S.H. Rosenthal, chief scientist with the LOCKSS Program at Stanford University, explores sustainable approaches to format obsolescence in digital preservation in a video called Ensuring the Longevisty of Digital Documents.

According to the Library of Congress: "He discusses large scale interactions between the evolution of information technology over time and the social, technical, and economic factors that enable digital preservation; changing fundamental understandings of threats and challenges in digital preservation starting from Jeff Rothenberg's 1995 Scientific American article "Ensuring the Longevity of Digital Documents" and moving onwards to the present and the future; and emerging recognition that economic and social sustainability are the overarching long-term barriers."

Watch the video

It's a long video, but a rare chance to hear some tough questions asked and answered about digital documents - and the resources that are so critical to our research fall in this category. This well-spoken expert on the subject covers the problems that are common to all digital preservation systems.

SPEAKER: David Rosenthal
EVENT DATE: 07/27/2009
RUNNING TIME: 76 minutes

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