Upcoming PBS special on bit rot

From: Grant Zozman <gzozman_at_escape.ca>
Date: Wed Jan 14 00:01:08 1998

I caught the PBS special tonight;

For info on a videotape of the program, call 800-472-1500, or write;

American Film Foundation
PO Box 2000
Santa Monica, CA 90406

The program was very interesting. Its main focus was on the social
implications of the storage of data in digital format, and its inherent
vulnerability compared to traditional mediums (stone, paper, etc.).
Most of the emphasis was on how future history will be affected by our
digital world; very little time was spent explaining the technical
issues involved. The program ended in a very open ended manner; no
solution to the problems seems clear.

A couple of interesting points made:

1) When we create information using a digital medium, we seldom preserve
the working copies of our documents, and so the historical record of the
development of significant works is lost. Makes me think of music, and
how much we have learned of classical composers by studying the rough
drafts of their works.

2) People who work in the computer industry generally percieve
themselves as pioneers who are creating a new future, and therefore
throw off the old. As a result, very little emphasis is placed on
storing or cataloging the vast quantities of digital data generated.
This trend is complicated by the fact that storage mediums are
constantly changing.

Grant Zozman

Peter Prymmer wrote:
> classiccmp_at_u.washington.edu
> Subj: Re: Upcoming PBS special on bit rot
> I wrote:
> >I saw an advert in the latest issue of Scientific American for
> >an upcoming special about archiving digital data to appear on
> >PBS. It is supposed to show on the 13th (tomorrow) and alas
> I do not know much about the "American Film Foundation" but MacNeil is
> a PBS regular and PBS quite often offers transcipts and tapes for sale
> at the end of many (but not all) of their broadcasts. While I have several
> CRTs for use as monitors I do not own a television tuner or a VCR. (I also
> note that the schedule posted at http://www.kqed.org/ implies that the
> main Bay Area PBS broadcaster will not be showing Into the Future.)
> Could folks who do manage to see it please post a message regarding whether
> there is an address to which one could write to obtain transcripts/tapes?
Received on Wed Jan 14 1998 - 00:01:08 GMT

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