So, one of the most interesting things in the new PC Magazine digital version (see previous post on first impressions of the new format) is a column by John Dvorak. I’d give you a link but since this is the newly released issue, it’s not available for free yet. I’ll summarize some of his main points.
Dvorak points out that we risk losing our history to digital technology. A particularly apropos topic given it’s in the first digital version of the mag. He was doing some research on articles from the 1990s on U.K. sites and found they were no longer there. All he got was 404 errors. Is this going to become the norm? Should users start to save complete web pages, fearing the shelf-life of Internet information is going to get shorter and shorter?
Compounding this is the perceived extinction of newspapers, which if they survive in some form, will probably let bean counters decide the cost of keeping an archive may offer no payback.
Dvorak ponders that at some point we will look back and find a giant hole in our historical records. Also, he wonders what will become of books when they have all been scanned in by Google, and he considers when companies merge or are bought out, how often publishers don’t know exactly what they own or where it is.
It’s an important area to consider. We are losing part of our history now. Will it get worse? Indications are it will and that will be regrettable.