17.465 digital preservation

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk)
Date: Tue Dec 16 2003 - 06:14:36 EST

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 17, No. 465.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                         Submit to: humanist@princeton.edu

             Date: Tue, 16 Dec 2003 08:24:18 +0000
             From: Spencer Tasker <spencer@tasker.info>
             Subject: Re: 17.444 digital preservation

    Maurizio Lana correctly identified some of the false assumptions
    of the Garfinkel article, however, there are a couple of points
    which I should like to add. The first of these is the potential
    for preservation of documents "in the cloud" - not quite Julian
    of Norwich's "Cloud of Unknowing", but not too far off. Given an
    informational environment characterised by pervasive internetworking,
    the global distribution and caching of data and the abstraction of
    the hardware from the services which rely upon it (servers are
    upgraded and hardware changes transparently as far as we mere users
    are concerned) it is not difficult to imagine that data can persist
    in a state of abstraction from any underlying mechanism. On the other
    hand, as Maurizio also pointed out, 20 years are a but a drop in the
    bucket and it does take faith of Kierkegaardian proportions to assume
    that any particular datum which we now possess in electronic will
    still be available in 500 years.

    - Spencer Tasker


       Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth,
       more than ruin, more even than death. Thought is
       subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible,
       thought is merciless to privilege, established
       institutions, and comfortable habit. Thought looks
       into the pit of hell and is not afraid. Thought is
       great and swift and free, the light of the world,
       and the chief glory of man.

       - Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)

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