Future of CDROM, DVD, etc.

Brendan Haley bhaley at OEB.HARVARD.EDU
Thu Apr 27 16:40:58 CDT 2000

This is exactly to the point: these journals are still in existence because
someone had the foresight to keep them that way. The preservation of
ANYTHING requires some amount of vigilance, whether digital or analog.  How
many first folios are there? Or prints of numerous movies from the 20's
30's or 40's? Everything can disappear or become useless if allowed to do so.

Digital media is no different. The majority of the anecdotes I have read
over the course of the day have had more to do with lack of attention on
the part of human beings than with any technical or market problems or
developments.  Why, for instance, was anyone fooling around with punch
cards in 1993? That data should have been dealt with long before.

Digital media is not only an excellent means for permanent storage but the
far more preferable one: the speed with which copies can be made combined
with the immutable nature of digital data guarantee that the proper
implementation of this storage has a lifetime that is as close to infinite
as is imaginable.

Selling computing and the digital age as the age of everything becoming
easy is probably the worst thing the media and industry has ever done.
Nothing is that easy: as much care and attention is needed with computers
and storage as ever before, it is just that it is a different kind of care
and attention.

I love books as much as the next person, but not because of their
incredible versatility: I love them because they are quaint and comforting.
But if it comes to storing data or finding an article or quote I am looking
for I will take a computer with a CDROM or a database or an etext any day.

-Brendan Haley

At 10:10 PM 4/27/00 +0200, Jan Bosselaers wrote:
>Ed Pirog wrote:
> >  Those bulletins from over 100 years ago are
> > still around and are useful references as they are.
>Well it depends: I have C.L. Koch's Uebersicht des Arachnidensystems
>(1837) here
>which is still in mint condition, but on the other hand I have a copy of
>Petrunkevich's On families of spiders (1923) which is slowly breaking up into
>small pieces. It may last another 100 years, but not very much longer I'm
>Jan Bosselaers
>"Dochterland", R. novarumlaan 2
>B-2340 Beerse, Belgium                       tel 32-14-615896
>home: dochterland at village.uunet.be      fax 32-14-610306
>work: jbossela at janbe.jnj.com
>web: http://gallery.uunet.be/Dochterland/
>"Rerum omnium magister usus" Julius Caesar
>(everything can be learned by practice)

Brendan Haley
Database Administrator
Museum of Comparative Zoology
Harvard University
26 Oxford Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

Phone: 617-495-7901

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