A Data Deluge Swamps Science Historians

Scientists who collaborate via email, Google, YouTube, Flickr and Facebook are leaving fewer paper trails, while the information technologies that do document their accomplishments can be incomprehensible to other researchers and historians trying to read them. Computer-intensive experiments and the software used to analyze their output generate millions of gigabytes of data that are stored or retrieved by electronic systems that quickly become obsolete. Scientists are taking advantage of the latest in telecommuting technology to access the latest research across timezones and boundaries. But the trouble, some are finding, is that technology doesn’t leave a paper trail, science columinist Lee Hotz reports.
“It would be tragic if there were no record of lives that were so influential,”