Old computers threat to records

The BBC has a story on how computers will start to decompose with important records.


Vital archaeological records could be
lost forever because the computers
they are stored on become quickly
obsolete.

The physical site is nearly always
completely destroyed during a dig,
but archaeologists claim the
knowledge they glean from the
ground is then available for posterity.\"The irony is that archaeological
information held in magnetic format
is decaying faster than it ever did in
the ground,\" warns William Kilbride of
the Archaeology Data Service (ADS)
at the University of York. nother problem they encountered
was obsolete formats. In computer
terms,1991 is ancient history. Some
of the word processor and database
programmes used then are no longer
available.

\"The formats of
computer files
change rapidly. A
file created in
state-of-the-art
software one year
becomes obsolete
the next, as the
software is
updated. Old disks
are useless when
the hardware is no longer available to
read them,\" said archaeologist Keith
Westcott.

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