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"Digital Dark Age"

There is a thought provoking article in the Feb. 1, 1999 Library Journal
on page 46, "Escaping the digital dark age" by Stewart Brand (yes, the
very Stewart Brand of Whole Earth Catalog fame).  He quotes supercomputer
designer Danny Hillis as saying "thousands of years ago we recorded
important matters on clay and stone that lasted thousands of years.
Hundreds of years ago we  used parchment that lasted hundreds of years."
Today, he says, we have masses of data in formats that we know will not
last as long as our life times.  "Digital storage is easy; digital
preservation is not."

He also mentions something called The Long Now Foundation which is
building a 10,000 year clock to be a frame of reference for a revival of
long-term thinking.  They have a site at www.longnow.org  .  I haven't
looked at it yet, but it sounds intriguing.

Joyce Jenkins
Petersburg Public Library

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