E-mail and potential loss to future archives and scholarship: The dog that didn't bark

Susan S. Lukesh

Abstract


A pattern has emerged in starting presentations on the preservation of electronic materials: Disaster! In 1975, the U.S. Census Bureau discovered that only two computers on earth can still read the 1960 census. The computerized index to a million Vietnam War records was entered on a hybrid motion picture film carrier that cannot be read. The bulk of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's research since 1958 is threatened because of poor storage. These tales are akin to Jorge Luis Borges's short story in which the knowledge of the world is concentrated in one mammoth computer - and the key is lost.

The essential question for the Information Age may well be how to save the electronic memory (Stielow: 333).

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5210/fm.v4i9.692



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