Check it out online.
Or download the pdf. [15mb]
I especially like this cartoon:
The PARSE.Insight project just published a fantastic report on the current state of affairs in the preservation of research data. Nearly 2,000 people responded from the research, publishing, and data management stakeholder groups.
There are a few statistics that are of particular interest to me:
• Researchers regard the lack of sustainable hardware, software or support of computer environment may make the information inaccessible as the most important threat to digital preservation. 80% believe this to be either important or very important.
• Data managers also regard the lack of sustainable hardware, software or support of computer environment may make the information inaccessible as the most important threat to digital preservation. 86% believe this to be either important or very important.
• 59% of the respondents to the data managers’ survey don’t think that the tools and infra-structure available to them will suffice for the digital preservation objectives they have to achieve.
• 71% of the respondents to the data managers’ survey believe that funding for preservation will be an issue now and in five years time.
What I am taking from this, and perhaps bending to my own purposes, is that there is a reported need for inexpensive tools which can ameliorate the problems associated with a perceived lack of hardware, software, and computer environment support.
Of course, there are a number of other very important discoveries reported here, but this is what is the most relevant to me. Good stuff!
A friend of mine just told me about an article he read on Slashdot (of course) about flash memory chips that can hold data for potentially hundreds of years. These new chips, developed by Japanese scientists from the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) and the University of Tokyo, use lower voltage (less than 6V) and ferroelectric Nand Flash memory cell technology which can be scaled down to 10 nm. According to the researchers, these ferroelectric Nand Flash memory cells can be rewritten more than 100 million times, compared with the 10,000 of conventional cells. They also use what is called a ‘wear leveling’ process to equally distribute the work between cells and to retire worn out cells while allowing the entire unit to keep functioning.
Here’s the link to the actual research at AIST:
I have no idea what this ferroelectric business is, but I’ll be keeping my eye on it to see if it delivers what they say it does.
The Library of Congress National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP), Joint Information Systems Community (JISC), The Open Access to Knowledge (OAK) Law Project, and The SURFfoundation have just released their International Study on the Impact of Copyright Law on Digital Preservation [pdf].
In their own words, it, “focuses on the copyright and related laws of Australia, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States and the impact of those laws on digital preservation of copyrighted works. It also addresses proposals for legislative reform and efforts to develop non-legislative solutions to the challenges that copyright law presents for digital preservation.”
One of the major causes for concern addressed here is the fact that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act has some very negative implications for digital preservation in that, “There is no specific authorization for libraries and archives to make preservation copies of published works in their collections. Section 108(c) deals with copying for replacement and does not specifically address preservation.”
I admittedly have to spend some more time with the report, but thought that I would share it in the time-being.
Alexander Rose of the Long Now Foundation posted an interesting piece about measures to communicate the whereabouts of nuclear waste, as proposed by Thomas Sebeok for the US Office of Nuclear Waste Management in 1981. In it he proposes that we create verbal and pictorial messages not only warning of the location of the hazardous material, but also asking that the message be revisited and rebroadcast in the best means possible of the current age. He proposes that we only shoot for making the message last through three generations, or about 250 years. This is definitely one of the many methods I think we should employ when seeking to preserve all aspects of our cultural heritage for the long term.