Old Typesetting files

From: Tom Jennings <tomj_at_wps.com>
Date: Fri Nov 12 16:56:45 2004

I concede to most of your points. It's a big job, and
the proliferation of incompatible media isn't always just
consumerism, though it often is. It's certainly all a big mess.

On Fri, 12 Nov 2004, John Foust wrote:

> Date: Fri, 12 Nov 2004 14:42:35 -0600
> From: John Foust <jfoust_at_threedee.com>
> Reply-To: "General Discussion: On-Topic and Off-Topic Posts"
> <cctalk_at_classiccmp.org>
> To: cctalk_at_classiccmp.org
> Subject: Re: Old Typesetting files
> At 02:18 PM 11/12/2004, you wrote:
> >I can't think of a better example of the stupidness of consumer
> >capitalism. Consumption and obsolescence should be undesirable side-effects
> >of human living, not the core reason for existence.
> Maybe I'm too close to the issue, but I continue to grow more and
> more overwhelmed by the daunting task of archiving and preserving
> old data. Certainly any one of us has faced these sorts of issues
> many times in the course of our collecting and preservation. A book
> publisher has little financial incentive to archive electronic versions
> of old books. Someone else, some other business with different motives,
> will need to do it.
> A good friend of mine, a C-64 era author, wrote his C-64 books on an old
> Atari system. He threw out the manuscript floppies a long time ago,
> thinking no one would want them. Collectors have re-scanned his
> works, I believe.
> I'm a big fan of my state's "open records" laws. Yet they mandate
> only preserving records for seven years. The law no doubt dates from
> the practicalities of preserving massive amounts of paper. It hasn't
> been updated for electronic records, which would be far easier to
> preserve indefinitely. But my state's laws say that every document
> (paper letter, email, etc.) created by an employee, elected or
> appointed official is presumed to be a public record (within
> the limits of a handful of allowed exceptions.)
> Yet in reality, local government agencies can't even retrieve email
> stored on previous versions of Windows Exchange servers, nor can they
> read backups from older versions of Windows without reviving old
> hardware and software.
> In my own explorations of putting local government records on
> my community web site, I discovered that the County had used a
> 8-inch-floppy-based word processing system to type the minutes
> of its Board of Supervisors meetings. Once the seven years had
> expired, and the bound book versions of the minutes had been
> produced, no one saved the floppies. Dang! It would have been
> intensely useful to have saved these minutes. I see an ever-growing
> window of lost experience as electronic records are not preserved
> and accessible.
> There's not much use in cursing the short-sighted who destroy
> the data. If you want to save it, Someone will need to step forward
> to do so. You know all about "The Little Red Hen", right?
> Enterprise-wide Google-like technology will be present and integral
> in many organizations in the years to come. We'll only be able to
> index what we've saved and kept in online storage.
> To me, the upside of electronic record preservation is the
> other side of the Orwellian sword. Just as Orwell never imagined
> that people would voluntarily put view-screens in every room,
> did he imagine that technology could be a way to keep an eye
> on government?
> - John
Received on Fri Nov 12 2004 - 16:56:45 GMT

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