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[BKARTS] FW: British national digital archives project



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From: "Graham Hayday" <silicon@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Reply-To: "Graham Hayday" <silicon@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 24 Mar 2003 14:22:03 +0000 (GMT)
To: siegel@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: The silicon.com Weekly Round-Up

It's strange to think that the Domesday Book still exists, and yet there's
no record of the first email ever sent. OK, so the former seems to be of
rather more historical value to us than the latter, but who's to say how
future generations will see things? Will they think we took part in what
could become known as 'the information age' but got so excited about
technology that we failed to recognise the value of the information it
enabled us to share?

After all, 20 per cent of the data from the 1976 NASA Viking Mars Mission
probe is no longer readable. A huge amount of data from the 1960 US census
was discarded because it was stored on what became obsolete tape. We've got
records from nearly one thousand years ago, but not from four decades ago.

The Public Record Office is now trying to do something about this. It's
developed a digital archive to store government records that are produced
electronically. The system is capable of storing over 100 terabytes of data,
equivalent to 1.5 billion pages of text. It will include sound and graphics
files, virtual reality models and video footage.

The first documents to be stored will be records of high-profile public
enquiries, government department websites and the records of parliamentary
committees and royal commissions. Members of the public visiting the reading
rooms at the National Archives in Kew will be able to access the digital
archive. There are also plans for these digital records to be made available
over the internet. Assuming that doesn't become obsolete...

The Public Record Office will be demonstrating its approaches to the problem
of electronic record storage at its international conference from 2 to 4
April. All power to its elbow. For more information, see
http://www.pro.gov.uk/events/conferences/ica.htm. (By the way, the first
email was written in capitals, but beyond that no one seems to know for sure
what was in it. Presumably though it wasn't advertising natural Viagra.)

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