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Future-safe archives (Scripting News) – Dave is concerned about his digital legacy surviving him. This is a huge issue, really. Who is going to archive all of the stuff that is out there? I remember the dread that appeared in the law library when the ‘papers’ of a wealthy alum turned up one day along with his request that it be kept for future generations of legal scholars. To us it looked like boxes of stuff from his garage (which it was). Once we got inside the boxes it turned out to be a treasure of research and writing in a particular area of the law. So we built a collection out of it. But libraries are ill prepared to handle large amount of archival material. Digital stuff is even worse.
There is no doubt that the things Dave is concerned about are valuable now and for the future, but keeping them around is a hard question. I think that there is a certain amount of irony in that the best suggestions for long term archiving mentioned in the comments are to just put everything into hard copy, have it well bound, and distribute it to libraries. Books are the longest lived, most stable, most accessible archival format mankind has found to date. Maybe we sgould jusat be thinking about what is really worth archiving and print it out.
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