Fending off the digital dark ages: The archival storage issue

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We're churning out vast quantities of digital data that we aren't equipped to preserve.

Ready for a digital dark age?

Consider the BBC Domesday Project, undertaken in 1986 to mark the 900th anniversary of the original Domesday Book, a land-use survey of England commissioned by William the Conqueror in 1086. For the latter-day survey of the island, thousands of Britons contributed text, photos and video that were published on two custom laser disks.

But just 15 years later, it was impossible to access those disks without lots of custom hardware and extensive software emulation. Currently the Centre for Computing History in Haverhill, England, has a functional emulation and hopes to post the contents to the Web.

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