archiving as opposed to backing up

From: Teo Zenios <>
Date: Wed Sep 22 19:43:31 2004

----- Original Message -----
From: "Tom Jennings" <>
To: "General Discussion: On-Topic Posts Only" <>;
"General Discussion: On-Topic and Off-Topic Posts" <>
Sent: Wednesday, September 22, 2004 7:32 PM
Subject: Re: archiving as opposed to backing up

> On Tue, 2004-09-21 at 02:05, John Foust wrote:
> > Today's backup problems will be tomorrow's preservation problems,
> "Permanent" media (fiche, paper) are only part of the solution; none of
> it's any good if you can't find it! Only one copy of the Dead Sea
> Scrolls was found, and it is I think partially ruined; Archimedes
> 'Method' became a palimpsest, and few scholars are going to make that
> much effort to recover Mary Programmer's scribblings.
> I imagine something like a National Archive where every citizen was
> allocated 6 cubic inches of deep vault, environmentally controlled
> permanent storage plus indexing service, written into the U.S.
> Constitution as an amendment. A 1/4" stack of 4x6" fiche. You could
> appeal for more, based upon a very loose standard of merit, but everyone
> would get space for love letters, baby pictures, favorite car, etc
> suitably stored on fiche.
> Copies could be requested and produced for a small fee, of ANYONE'S
> fiche, based upon the index.
> No data would ever be purged, ever.
> I'm serious about this. Imagine what an incredible treasure it would be,
> for a country's citizens to be able to retrieve any snapshot of any
> person's work back to the beginning of (recorded) time.
> For the 1% of us that generate large amounts of data, the national fiche
> could be an index into larger stores, which could even be commercial or
> private. Some would fail, but others could thrive by providing unique
> services.
> THEN you'd have the basis for real archiving.

A thousand years from now nobody is going to care about what 99.999% of the
population did during their lives. Unless you made some major contribution
to society (which would most likely be archived by your generation) or were
a figure that seen something major (also documented) who will ever look your
information up?

What people will want to know is what was common of the society as a whole,
this is where we need to archive all our inventions, sexual religion and
moral codes, laws, entertainment, commercial software, magazines, pricing of
goods, TV shows, movies, and public works information (building codes, road
layouts, piping standards, construction in general). All that is what made
us tick and the government keeps tabs on most of it.

Somebody will devise a system to document all of this digitally into an ever
growing database with the data on some kind of write once read many times
media deep in a bunker (or multiple archives) spread out all over the world
(or maybe the moon).

To me archives should be made up of just the important stuff, if we didn't
find it important enough to save it, people 1000 years from now will think
it is even less important. Who wants to dig through a trillion pictures of
everyone's pre school finger paintings in an archive our parents put
together 1000 years from now?
Received on Wed Sep 22 2004 - 19:43:31 BST

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