Safeguarding our digital history

on backups, librarians and exotic storage ...

Most data these days resides in digital form, from facebook and twitter posts to digital snapshots taken with your cellphone. Even ludites are stuck in a reality which is increasingly digital. All this data needs to be stored and backed up. In a recent FILE NOT FOUND series by Science Friday the challenges of backing up our combined digital heritage is outlined in a three part series.

With COBECORE we aim to digitize an analogue past to help address contemporary science questions. However, questions on how to reliably back-up and store the final data remain central to the project. The Science Friday series helps everyone understand what these challenges are for projects small and large, or stepping back for humanity as a whole.

Even in this era of cloud storage, many data centers still use good, reliable magnetic tape. But as the technology develops at a faster rate, this backup is quickly becoming obsolete. What will become of the forgotten data preserved on the tape of the past?

PART 1: Ghosts in the Reels

You may think that anything uploaded onto the internet is there forever—but the constant churn is a challenge to the archivists trying to backup the web.

PART 2: The Librarians Saving the Internet

As archivists struggle to store the mountain of data on the internet, researchers are trying to use atoms, diamonds, and DNA to let data live on forever.

PART 3: Data Re-awakening

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