Sunday, October 16, 2011

Tim O'Reilly - Keynote for 2011 NDIIPP/NDSA Partners Meeting.

Tim O'Reilly - Keynote for 2011 NDIIPP/NDSA Partners Meeting. Tim O'Reilly. Library of Congress website.  October 7, 2011.
This is a 31 minute video talking about digital preservation. The things that turn out to be historic often are not thought of being historic at the time. You can’t necessarily do preservation from the institution level.  You have to teach the preservation mindset. Like Wikipedia; it is designed to keep all earlier versions. We should think about what kind of tools we need to build digital preservation into our everyday activities.

There will be a whole new dimension to digital. Imagine what will happen in situations if only digital books and maps are available and then they become unavailable.  That world may be closer than we think. Imagine a world if there are no print books. What would you need to keep the digital materials available?  It turns out that digital actually increases the manufacturing cost of books.   We need to have tools with digital preservation designed in, not necessarily in the way we think of scholarly preservation, but in terms of increasing the likelihood that things will survive. 

What should the web’s memory look like? There is an obligation to preserve the things that matter. We are engaged in the wholesale destruction of our history because we aren’t thinking about what we do as important to our descendants. Think of yourselves as people who are engaged in a task that matters to everyone.  As we move into an increasingly digital world, preservation won’t be just the concern of specialists, but of everyone. One of the arguments for open source is simply to preserve the code.  There have been a number of examples of technical companies not having their source code after they stop supporting it. Preserving everything may get in the way of our preserving the things that are important.

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