Electrons drifting away

Douglas Coupland: The Clock Strikes 13 in the Archive World
A friend of mine works as an archivist at a large university that collects rare documents of all sorts. She tells me that a major issue with collecting anyone’s documents that were created after about 1990 is that the really desirable documents don’t physically exist … or, rather, they do exist but they’re lying comatose inside a 1995-ish laptop. Not only that but the structured electrons that constitute any given file inside that 1995 laptop are drifting away, as electrons apparently do. Depending on a laptop’s architecture, its drive will erase itself at a half-life rate of about 15 years. This has many implications.

A great read. I love the implications he leads us to, about what a digital archive of the future might look like and what kinds of information might be available.

Author: Terry Madeley

Works with student data and enjoys reading about art, data, education and technology.