back to article Retaining 100 years of information

El Reg has teamed up with the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) for a series of deep dive articles. Each month, the SNIA will deliver a comprehensive introduction to basic storage networking concepts. This month the SNIA examines the idea of 100-year archives. There are different reasons for storing information …


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  1. jake Silver badge

    Well ... from an OldFart's perspective ...

    Personally, I have every single piece of information I have generated since I started using computers archived ... That's from the late 1960s. It's not exactly difficult. ASCII and redundancy are fairly close to immortal, in the right hands.

    Note I'm talking about "information", not "formatting" ... There is a BIG difference, which is often lost on kids these days. Alphanumerics, punctuation, CR/LF, and white-space are where it's at when you want to retain information indefinitely.

    Now ask me what my .fav programming language is, other than assembler :-)

  2. Gannon (J.) Dick
    IT Angle


    This sounds more useful than it actually is.

    The fossil record is very slim, which forces scholars to consider a wider range of possibilities in a search for "the truth". At the same time, it insures that "the truth" is sometimes very strange.

    Meticulous record keeping encourages propagation of The Big Lie, but it wears out.

  3. John Deeb

    rescue only

    The following project is noteworthy as it comes to server and software layer emulation in long-term archiving:

    Personally, after having worked with a few pilot projects in this field, I'm tempted to advice conversion and transformation instead of keeping the original intact. The stack gets too wonky, too arcane for imagined future users. Digitally stored information is fluid and volatile in its essence (format) and any attempt to carve it in stone upon stone upon stone will cause exponential trouble.

    This means the "sinking boat principle": save the ones you care about put only them in the rescue vessels. Selection standards will keep on trumping conservation standards.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Read Gregory Benford's Deep Time: How Humanity Communicates Across Millennia

  5. Simon2

    Optical Disc

    What about optical disc (DVD, BlueRay, Holographic in future?)?

    Is that a good medium for long term data storage.

    I have a few software CDs from 1995 (the same year I had my first PC with a CDROM drive) and they still read fine after 16 years. I've made copies and keep the originals in the boxes so they don't get scratched.

  6. bahamut


    In some cases the best solution is to print the sheets out and hire a librarian :)

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