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Subject: Preservation of digital information

Preservation of digital information

From: Walter Henry <whenry>
Date: Wednesday, January 21, 1998
The enthusiastic and increasing use of electronic media for storing
information of various kinds demonstrates the utility of the format
and its possibilities.

In the field of cultural heritage, there is an enormous amount of
significant information in digital form. These data are vulnerable
on many levels. Because of the increasingly fast cycle of
obsolescence in hardware and software, we are at the point where the
proliferation of electronic data on various platforms has prompted
some serious concerns about the long-term protection of the data.

A number of international organizations are examining technological
issues that bear on the problem, including data types, media
stability, and options for refreshing and migrating data to
ever-evolving platforms.

There is, however, an important gap in the discussions.

An integrated technical and philosophical discussion of digital
archives and their future that includes the sociocultural and
economic implications of both the problems and the solutions could
provide a framework for long-term digital cultural preservation.

The Getty Conservation Institute and the Getty Information Institute
[of the J. Paul Getty Trust, Los Angeles] are collaborating with the
Long Now Foundation [San Francisco] to generate some strategic
thinking on these issues with important digital theorists. In
February of 1998, we will convene a small group at The Getty Center
to share concerns and expertise in technology, culture, and time.
(Participants: Stewart Brand, Doug Carlston, Brian Eno, Danny
Hillis, Brewster Kahle, Kevin Kelly, Paul Saffo, Jaron Lanier, Bruce
Sterling, John Heilemann, Peter Lyman, Howard Besser, Margaret
MacLean, Ben Davis)

We will use this Web site


to present certain ideas for moderated discussion, including a
summary of the state of the technological work. We will post
comments and incorporate some of them into the body of work being

The on-line discussion and meeting should provide a set of
insightful and responsible recommendations that will chart a
thoughtful course for the resolution of problems related to
long-term digital data protection, preservation, and reconstruction.

                  Conservation DistList Instance 11:63
                 Distributed: Friday, January 23, 1998
                       Message Id: cdl-11-63-015
Received on Wednesday, 21 January, 1998

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