October 1, 2010 11:52 PM
A decade-long study released by the Library of Congress last month raises concerns about storage of audio files in the digital age. Digital files, scholars point out, do not survive unless someone saves them. Computer files that are recorded and stored ONLY on the Internet are at risk for not being saved -- those files are in danger of being lost forever. Although the Library of Congress study focused on sound files, video files are likely also at risk.
Even computerized files that are saved somewhere are still at risk of being lost forever in a different way -- they may not be archived or indexed in a format that is searchable, or findable, later. In that case, digital files can be lost without being destroyed -- lost to obscurity. The solution, say professional archivists, is the same no matter whether you are preserving historical recordings in a library, or saving family records and files at home. Make many copies of files that you want to save, put those copies in several locations rather than saving them all in the same place -- and recopy the files again every ten years or so. [More]