I had a thought about everything being digital: is there a chance that important information can be lost? From important and historical information to irreplaceable pictures, etc. I was holding a picture of me from 1980 (yes, genuine film). Had there been digital scanners and fast enough computers back then, the 5¼-inch disk would be unreadable by today’s drives. The disk would probably have errors, if you could find a used hard drive to even read it for your precious memories. Never mind historians, scholars, and the young storing all of their Facebook information in the Cloud only. I use external media and more than one type. I don’t know anyone who backs up a single thing, no matter how many speeches I give them.
Yes, it’s true. In fact, I hear about it pretty much every day: digital information can be lost quite easily.
But that’s not an indictment of digital technology at all. In fact, digital data opens up more possibilities for data retention than it closes.
As we use digital technology, we’re continually accumulating digital “stuff”: we take pictures, write documents, record videos, purchase music, acquire software, and much much more.
All of this digital data is either accumulating on our systems, or worse: getting lost.
In the past, we’ve had a very clear concept of how we could store the physical counterparts to today’s data. They were visible and we could move them about as our needs dictated: place them on a shelf next to the TV or store them in a box in the attic.
Digital data requires that we think a little differently about storage.
I want to introduce you to archiving.
To begin with, it’s important to realize that archiving is not the same as backing up. Not at all.