Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Article: Everything dies, including information

 This MIT Technology Review article reminds us what we know, but may have forgotten:

Everything dies: people, machines, civilizations. Perhaps we can find some solace in knowing that all the meaningful things we’ve learned along the way will survive. But even knowledge has a life span. Documents fade. Art goes missing. Entire libraries and collections can face quick and unexpected destruction. 

Digitization was seen as a way of extending the life of information, but we know that a digital collection can be lost in seconds. Just think about what has been lost in Ukraine that was in physical or digital form. 

This article doesn't provide a solution. Joe Janes from the University of Washington, notes that we do "try to extend the normal life span as far as possible through a variety of techniques", but that is no guarantee against eventual failure and loss. 

Perhaps keeping information alive for as a long as we can is all we can do and realize that "forever" is a dream.

No comments: