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Silver Spring, MD
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Stories To Tell is a full service book publishing company for independent authors. We provide editing, design, publishing, and marketing of fiction and non-fiction. We specialize in sophisticated, unique illustrated book design.

Stories To Tell Books BLOG

Books - The Best Way to Preserve Your Personal History

Nan Barnes

You have been conscientious about preserving your personal history. You have genealogy charts are on your hard drive. You’ve had the cassette tapes of great grandmother transferred to CDs. Your whole family created a DVD as you took turns reminiscing about favorite family stories. Your family photo collection is on a major internet photo storage site. You are feeling pretty good.

We’re sorry to say it but don’t relax. Data rot is lurking.

“Data rot refers mainly to problems with the medium on which information is stored,” Dag Spicer, curator of the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley, told David Pogue of the N.Y. Times. People store things like photo albums in sweltering hot garages or moldy basements and they deteriorate or are even completely destroyed.

Electronic technology doesn’t guarantee preservation either. Remember reel to reel tapes, cassettes, 8-Tracks, Betamax, VHS, and floppy disks? Don’t expect current methods of storage to meet a different fate. Spicer says, “50 years from, now we're going to say, ‘We had these silver disks called CDs. And you you'd put them into a slot.’ And our grandkids will be laughing.”

So what’s the answer? The Library of Congress says that books remain the method of preservation most likely to survive the ravishes of time.

Said Spicer, “…consider paper as an archival medium. Some paper we have has lasted thousands of years. If Moses had gotten the Ten Commandments on a floppy disk, it would never have made it to today.”

For the full Times interview: