“Digital Information Will Never Survive by Accidentâ€?

September 2nd, 2004 by Ross Scaife

Neil Beagrie, British Library, in an interesting interview:

In the right conditions papyrus or paper can survive by accident or through benign neglect for centuries or in the case of the Dead Sea Scrolls for thousands of years. It takes hundreds of years for languages and handwriting to evolve to the point where only a few specialists can read them. In contrast, digital information will never survive and remain accessible by accident: it requires ongoing active management… As the volumes, heterogeneity, and complexity of digital information grows this requirement for active management becomes more challenging and more critical to a wider range of organisations… The threat is very real and insidious and will eat away at the future of our cultural heritage, knowledge economies, and information society if we fail to address it.

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