archiving as opposed to backing up

From: Tom Jennings <>
Date: Wed Sep 22 20:30:56 2004

On Wed, 2004-09-22 at 17:43, Teo Zenios wrote:

> 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?

I totally disagree. First, it presupposes that people today know in
advance what people of some far-flung time will care about. Second, a
few hundred million people making utterly personal and seemingly random
deposits of information would tell VAST amounts about that culture.
Three, often 'valuable' isn't obvious until long after the event. Four,
it's the only honest system, everything else implies an agenda,
including self-serving political ones (no deposits by women, "of
course", or N-skinned people, etc).

> 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.

Precisely what individual people will deposit!

> Somebody will devise a system to document all of this digitally


> To me archives should be made up of just the important stuff,

I can only assume this is a flippant remark -- who could possibly decide
what of an entire civilization is worth saving?

> 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?

Take a look at the stuff that provides the most information on how
people in some long-gone civilization lived -- pots with food remnants,
doodles, clothing, burials, tools -- all of it ephemera. The Big Stuff
-- statues, buildings, etc -- there's no problem saving those (well, no
*new* problem saving those :-) since they are popular, expensive, etc.

Clearly, I don't expect the U.S. to do this, what with our national
right-to-profit movement defining what is valuable. The U.S. can't see
beyond the next corporate annual report at the moment.

I'm not holding my breath.

Our legacy will be our voluminous garbage dumps, the only honest scheme
we have yet worked out to show what we have done. Cogitate that one for
a while!
Received on Wed Sep 22 2004 - 20:30:56 BST

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