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Author Archive


by Heather Ryan on February 10th, 02016

The concept of the Digital Dark Age has been around for quite some time, and has been a key topic of discussion at the Long Now Foundation since its inception in 01996. In fact, it has been my own raison d’être since I started grad school in 02006. It may be a surprise to. . .   Read More

The Archive Team

by Heather Ryan on September 8th, 02011

One of our favorite rogue digital archivists, Jason Scott, has just posted a video of his talk at DefCon 19 about The Archive Team exploits. This is perhaps the most eloquent (and freely peppered with profanity) explanations of the problems inherent with preserving our digital cultural heritage. He also describes in a fair amount of. . .   Read More

Cure for the Digital Dark Age?

by Heather Ryan on August 16th, 02011

Real Men Don't Use Menus

*An old VisiCalc ad from the early 80’s.

The Digital Dark Age beacon has been flashing lately with some renewed frequency. It seems that articles on the pitfalls and challenges of preserving our digital “stuff” are starting to find their way back into the mainstream media. . .   Read More

Personal Digital Archiving Conference

by Heather Ryan on February 18th, 02011

If you plan to be in San Francisco next week, there is still time to register for the Personal Digital Archiving Conference. The conference is being held at the Internet Archive on February 24 & 25, 2011. The event blurb says it all:
From family photographs and personal papers to health and financial information, vital. . .   Read More

Where does the data go when the host dies?

by Heather Ryan on December 17th, 02010

In the wake of the crumbling Yahoo! behemoth and the clamor of mass Delicious data dumps, it’s worthwhile to stop and ask ourselves just how “archived” is the data that we create and share in these free hosting sites? What kind of promises do these sites make to preserve our information and to care about […]

Digital Time Capsule Buried in Swiss Alps

by Heather Ryan on June 3rd, 02010

In order to demonstrate digital impermanence, scientists from the European Planets Project deposited a time capsule containing five of today’s most common types of digital objects into the Swiss Fort Knox data center. The time capsule contains a JPEG photograph, a message in Java source code, a short film in .MOV format, a web. . .   Read More

Team Digital Preservation is back!

by Heather Ryan on September 23rd, 02009

Now with their second installment: Team Digital Preservation and the Aeroplane Disaster. In this episode, Team Digital Preservation takes on the problem of obsolete software by migrating important digital files to the most current formats.

This goes hand-in-hand with Kevin Kelly’s concept of movage. We’ve got to keep our digital information. . .   Read More

Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative

by Heather Ryan on June 10th, 02009

I have just stumbled across the Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative (CDLI), which contains images and catalog information for cuneiform tablets dating from ca. 3350 B.C., or the age when writing began. As of February 8, 2008, the collection contained 225,000 cuneiform texts and 85,000 images. The CDLI brings together the collections of. . .   Read More

Digital Preservation and Nuclear Disaster: An Animation

by Heather Ryan on May 7th, 02009

See Digi-Man and Blizzard duke it out over digital plans of a nuclear powerhouse!! It is good to see an effort to make digital preservation heroic, which as we saw with the Apollo tapes below, it certainly can be. From the halls of Digital Preservation Europe

Static Data Storage

by Heather Ryan on January 15th, 02009

Birds, long-term information storage, and poop. Two of my favorite things, and one of my not-so-favorite things are all brought together in this Genetic Archaeology piece about the valuable information retrieved from the feces of giant, extinct birds. According to the article, palaeontology researchers have been able to analyze “plant seeds, leaf. . .   Read More