[unrev-II] The Long Now Foundation

From: Garold L. Johnson (dynalt@dynalt.com)
Date: Sun May 06 2001 - 09:40:49 PDT

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    The Long Now Foundation at http://www.longnow.org/index.html addresses the
    problems of too short time frames for planning, and the obsolescence of
    digital information.

    “Computer scientist Danny Hillis notes that we have good raw
      data from previous ages written on clay, on stone, on parchment and paper,
      from the 1950s to the present, recorded information increasingly
      into a digital gap. Historians will consider this a dark age. Science
      can read Galileo’s technical correspondence from the 1590s but not Marvin
    Minsky’s from the 1960s.”

    I find this true in my own work. I have lost several generations of
    information to non-viable formats. Some data I will likely have to scan from
    printed listings to recover. This is increasingly true of the world’s
    information. Conversion of media and formats is a major task for some groups
    working on the problem. Often the effort to restore a computer, operating
    system, and tape drive to the point of being able to access information can
    become a major task. If there are new programs to be written to get at the
    information on new ways, it can become essentially impossible.

    While we contemplate ways to organize information that may exist over long
    periods of time, some of the issues brought up on this site should be


    Garold (Gary) L. Johnson
    DYNAMIC Alternatives <http://www.dynalt.com/>

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