Friday, January 15, 2016

DOTS: Almost a datalith

DOTS: Almost a datalith. Gary McGath. Mad File Format Science. December 29, 2015.
     "The notion that archivists will replace outdated digital media every decade or two through the centuries is a pipe dream. Records have always gone through periods of neglect, and they will in the future. Periods of unrest will happen; authorities will try to suppress inconvenient history; groups like Daesh will set out to destroy everything that doesn’t match their worldview; natural disasters will disrupt archiving." DOTS, Digital Optical Technology System, which is burned on tape, can store digital images in any format and also allows them to be recorded as a visual representation. DOTS encodes data physically on an archival tape coated in a phase-change alloy which is resistant to temperature extremes, electromagnetic pulses, and other common environmental hazards. The data, which may include words, images, and digital information, is which is written using a laser that changes the alloy’s index of refraction. "It’s essential to have something like this for reliable long-term data archives. The people who think data will reliably be passed evermore from curator to curator are pleasantly optimistic, but history has never worked that way."

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