Digital preservation paradox

Let’s say you are not exactly bullish about digital preservation — you are skeptical about the feasibility of keeping digital items in a useful form into the future. Let’s say you do a lot of writing and publishing about your theory. Most of your work is digital of course.

If you are right, no one will know how right you are, because your work won’t live on.

If you are wrong, your wrong predictions will mock you from every digital repository and web archive.

I think the first scenario is unlikely unless your work never gets printed out and filed, or referred to in print publication. But it’s interesting to think about nonetheless. I’ve been thinking about this since Clay Shirky’s talk, and Eric alluded to this a little bit in his first post for IAG. Welcome, Eric!

A little Friday afternoon thought…

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One Comment

  1. Merrilee, thanks for the kind welcome. I’m thrilled to be a guest on IAG, and doubly delighted to see my first post get a mention on hangingtogether. And you’re right — in preservation, good choices often go unnoticed, but poor choices haunt one forever. Think of some of the early encapsulation choices — the wonderfully sealed documents that over time became yellow, clouded, irreparably harmed object lessons.

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