Future of CDROM, DVD, etc.

Julian Humphries jmhbs at UNO.EDU
Thu Apr 27 10:22:56 CDT 2000

At 09:02 AM 27-04-00 -0500, Dick Jensen wrote:
>On the other hand, as Brian notes, I have 200-year-old books and 150 year
>old journals that are pefectly usable, and should stay that way
>indefinitely.  Sometimes new technology is not better technology.  If we
>want to archive everything in electronic format, fine.  But we would be
>foolish to discontinue creating "permanent" copies in the old,
>user-friendly technology that has proven so reliable.

The difference between card readers and CDROM is like the difference before
and after the printing press.  Did *you* own a card reader.  Of course not,
they were owned by institutions who had no interest in keeping them around
once obsolete, just like all those monks who took to making wine after they
quit transcribing books.

There are over 500 million CDROM drives in the world today spread from one
end of the planet to the other.  Even ignoring Chris Thompson's argument
that backward compatibility is far more inportant today than it was 30
years ago, you will have ready access to a CDROM reader for at least your
lifetime.  And most folks will take their entire CDROM collections (say
1000 disks) and transfer them to a single Petacube(tm) in 2010.   Almost
everything I own digitally I have several digital copies of, don't you?  I
sure didn't for cards or tapes.

But even this is a moot point.  Do you really think Chapman and Hall (or
have they been bought by somebody else?) gives a tinkers dam about our
longterm needs?  We are living in a new economy  and *we* don't have the
choice whether to continue old fashion printed intellectual property.  If
they go, they go.  There are lots of ways to ensure that digital data don't
get lost: federated registries, digital libraries, the Library of Congress,
 distributed repositories, etc.   Longing for the good old days won't  make
the return. We need to move forward and make the technology work for us (as
Chris T. and the Diptera project are doing).   Think infrastructure.

Julian Humphries

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