[SIGCIS-Members] Google boss warns of 'forgotten century' with email and photos at risk

Matthew Kirschenbaum mkirschenbaum at gmail.com
Fri Feb 13 04:47:21 PST 2015

I'm gonna assume this is "news" only because Vint Cerf said it. Rather than
the sky is falling, it's too bad he didn't use the occasion to spotlight
work that archivists are actually doing.

On Friday, February 13, 2015, Brian Randell <brian.randell at newcastle.ac.uk>

> Hi:
> From The Guardian:
> > Digital material including key historical documents could be lost
> forever because programs to view them will become defunct, says Vint Serf
> >
> > Piles of digitised material – from blogs, tweets, pictures and videos,
> to official documents such as court rulings and emails – may be lost
> forever because the programs needed to view them will become defunct,
> Google’s vice-president has warned.
> >
> > Humanity’s first steps into the digital world could be lost to future
> historians, Vint Cerf told the American Association for the Advancement of
> Science’s annual meeting in San Jose, California, warning that we faced a
> “forgotten generation, or even a forgotten century” through what he called
> “bit rot”, where old computer files become useless junk.
> >
> > Humanity’s first steps into the digital world could be lost to future
> historians because the electronic files that describe the story will not
> run on their computers.
> >
> > Cerf pushed for the development of “digital vellum” to preserve old
> software and hardware so that out-of-date files could be recovered no
> matter how old they are.
> >
> > “When you think about the quantity of documentation from our daily lives
> that is captured in digital form, like our interactions by email, people’s
> tweets, and all of the world wide web, it’s clear that we stand to lose an
> awful lot of our history,” he said.
> >
> > “We don’t want our digital lives to fade away. If we want to preserve
> them, we need to make sure that the digital objects we create today can
> still be rendered far into the future,” he added.
> <snip>
> Full story at:
> http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/feb/13/google-boss-warns-forgotten-century-email-photos-vint-cerf
> Cheers
> Brian Randell
> --
> School of Computing Science, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne,
> NE1 7RU, UK
> EMAIL = Brian.Randell at ncl.ac.uk <javascript:;>   PHONE = +44 191 208 7923
> FAX = +44 191 208 8232  URL = http://www.cs.ncl.ac.uk/people/brian.randell
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Matthew Kirschenbaum
Associate Professor of English
Associate Director, Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities
University of Maryland
301-405-8505 or 301-314-7111 (fax)
http://mkirschenbaum.net and @mkirschenbaum on Twitter

Track Changes tumblr: http://trackchangesbook.tumblr.com/
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