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Posted: Sat Feb 24, 2007 3:09 pm
by thedqs
Rhapsidiomite wrote:It's an interesting argument, and I'm still not convinced that one format is necessarily better than another...just different and serving different purposes.

I think that is what RussellHltn and I were saying, was that we have both medias but both have different pros and cons. As you pointed out, standards are getting more and more established. (PDF for example can read a 1.0 doc or a 7.0 doc and render is the same every time, XML possibly will become a universal standard in storing information in a database type form.) Of course there are always going to be the propiertary formats, but then you just need the program to convert it into a standard.

As for the media problem, most information on the old magnetic floppies will be too far degenerated by the earth magnetic field in 10 years so now is the time to get that information off them, or find something that will refresh them (ie copy the information off the disk and copy it back onto the disk).

Of course you could just print out the documents and then you'll have them for the rest of your life and probabily a few generations beyond. And if you need them digital again you can OCR them and get them back, though that can take awhile.

Now for a slight change that has been happening. All my bank statements are sent to me digitally. All my school information is digital. All my work statements are digital and the money is direct deposited. Even my taxes and some of my tax info is on-line. Some of these things you are to keep for a few years too, but it is all digital so you just save it to your favorite storage media. So for information that is semi-short term it world is moving towards a digital approach, while long term storage (like a few generations) it is stored in both paper and digital formats.

Posted: Sat Feb 24, 2007 3:33 pm
by russellhltn
I think the biggest point I'd like re-state is that many of today's "treasures" were yesterday's trash. Take newspapers. Or old Phone Books. Old family letters now replaced by email. Most documents go though a phase where they are "just taking up space". Paper can survive the period of neglect. I don't know if digital, or electronic media can.

But just as a pop quiz: How many of you have "old media" that represents family treasures that are not in a current format? Like videos: Are they on VHS or Beta? Old electronic journals or correspondence. Are they on a "current" media an can they be read by programs being sold today? Are your digital photos safely backed up, so that *when* your hard drive dies, they'll survive?

Posted: Sat Feb 24, 2007 8:21 pm
by thedqs
I am in the process of digitizing everything, so vidoes are both in VHS and DVD. My parents have tons of unorganzied pictures and slides that they are digitizing to the current jpeg which, because of it being an internet standard will most likely be viewable for a while. I was doing audio tapes to CDs.

As for backup I have two hard drives and Vista will make auto-backups weekly of your documents and my outlook pst file and the archive pst file. (I only delete junk mail)

Hardcopy as a stable medium

Posted: Fri Mar 23, 2007 11:11 pm
by kristacook-p40
I've been AWOL from this forum for a while and didn't realize someone had posed a direct question to me. Russelhtm summed up everything better than I could and subsequent posters added some very interesting ideas.

I'll only make one more small comment:

There are aging, outdated and deteriorating formats that are NOT being consistently upgraded to newer and more sophisticated formats. Tons of information like this is tucked away in storerooms etc. Stats on how much digital information is NOT being archived is also sobering. We are losing tons of information constantly. Librarians across the world are nervous because most information isn't owned anymore, it is just rented -- subscriptions to databases for example. Items that used to be owned by libraries and physically present in libraries is now just temporarily rented -- access has replaced owners. Who knows if it will be available in the future?