The other day I was watching a documentary regarding WWII. There were copious uses of photographs and video which were taken at the time. A woman was sifting through her parents photo album to locate specific photos related to events.
With the advent of digital media, the ability to browse through a tangible photo album is gone. We upload pics to various sites with the expectation they will remain there for us to browse. That is a false sense of security. Numerous photo hosting sites have vanished over the years. With them the images they stored. For instance, MobileMe, Webshots, Ovi Share, etc.
I have derived pleasure looking through the photographs kept by my parents which include images of grandparents, great grandparents, and even great great grandparents. Not to mention all the other attendant relatives, photos of places visited or lived
The same is true of documents. Companies strive to be electronic record keepers. What happens as software which created those documents becomes obsolete? Gone are documents which tell the story of human history. There are will be no hard copies of documents of the magnitude of Magna Carta charters, the US Declaration of Independence, tablets/scrolls/manuscripts which preserve stories and letters. Or even the telegram announcing the ceasefire for the European theatre of WWII.
A large portion of knowing where we have been will vanish into the ether.
This morning a friend posted a link to a BBC article,Google's Vint Cerf warns of 'digital Dark Age'
wherein he describes this dilemma. Is there a solution?
One hundred or one thousand years from now, will there be traces of today remaining to be discovered by future archaeologists and historians?