“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.”
Today we’d like to offer some suggestions about how to deal with the problem. The website LifeHacker.com recently offered a suggestion about what to do with all the material you’ve collected over the years: “Save it from obsolescence and digitize your life.”
In our next few posts we’ll summarize ideas from LifeHacker’s “The Step-by-Step Guide to Digitizing Your Life.” We’ll add some ideas that may pertain to issues specific to someone seeking to preserve her family or personal history.
We’ll begin tomorrow with how to deal with all the paper you’ve accumulated.