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November 2001


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Don Rittner <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
A LISTSERV list for discussions pertaining to New York State history." <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 13 Nov 2001 11:23:37 -0500
text/plain (55 lines)
> I think we are talking at cross-purposes here.  I am not disagreeing
> at all with your points about the quality of digitally reproduced materials.
> However, the preservation issues are a different case.  The preservation of
> electronic records is a critical issue.  It goes beyond conversion packages
> and cross-platform considerations.

> Admittedly, commercial providers of software and hardware are
> becoming more awake to the issue of backwards compatibility but authority
> and authentication of electronic records via the means of metadate is
> something in its infancy.  This does not even address images created
> electronically or reproduced electronically from originals.  The very
> technology that can re-create faded pencil marks can be used to alter images
> as well.

What are you saying here that someone is going to go in an alter the digital
images?  For what purpose?

> Digitization is great, it absolutely cannot be beat as a method of
> access and in the future, will probably be a method of preservation as well.
> Now, however, that is far from the case.  The longevity of the  physical
> media, (CD's) for instance is only 35 years at the outside.  If your TIFF
> file is on a CD that is as long as it might last.  Additionally, stability
> of the media is a question.  I think everyone has had the experience of
> damaged disks, corrupted files, etc.

Well that holds true if you only make one copy?  However, it costs about ten
cents to make a dup CD, and I believe 100 years might be more of the order
for longevity if you don't use it.  Not to mention the fact that the
manufacturers are improving this as we speak.

Because of the low cost of digital creation and storage, one should have
several backups of the material and not just in TIFF format - a variety of
formats should be utilized.  For example, until recently JPG files were
known as low res files that only could be used online, but of course you can
now print out excellent hard copies of jpg.  Last week, scientists created
the first transistor made of a single molecule.  The implications of this is
staggering.  In the future, the entire state archives could be fit on a
single disk.

> Even the computer industry is having difficulty creating its own
> history due to the fact of older hardware being disassembled.
> I am doing a poor job of explaining these issues, but have you seen
> the "Into the Future" video?  It is very enlightening.

Not sure what this has to do with the issue but I have a lot of old pc's and
Macs that I am willing to donate :)  Seriously though many pcs are being
recycled by non profits that get them in working order and give them to
schools, etc.  Too bad that is not happening with other types of artifacts.