Message from discussion How to dig up all old newsgroup posts?
From: Kent M Pitman <pit...@world.std.com>
Subject: Re: How to dig up all old newsgroup posts?
Date: 03 Apr 2003 17:01:50 -0500
Organization: My ISP can pay me if they want an ad here.
References: <email@example.com> <JTmia.firstname.lastname@example.org> <email@example.com> <firstname.lastname@example.org> <email@example.com> <sfwd6k55nup.fsf@shell01.TheWorld.com> <firstname.lastname@example.org> <email@example.com>
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Ivan Boldyrev <boldyrev+nos...@cgitftp.uiggm.nsc.ru> writes:
> On 8336 day of my life Joe Marshall wrote:
> > Kent M Pitman <pit...@world.std.com> writes:
> > > I am particularly worried about the paper records. They will eventually
> > > fade, tear, or get thrown out.
> > Paper records last longer than electronic ones.
> Really. I saw books published 100 years ago and more. But have
> anyone ever seen 50-years old electronic records? :-)
Btw, I don't think most of the records are "published".
Most of the things I'm thinking about were spun off of dot-matrix or
laser printers and are poorly preserved. They are largely without
covers and not on acid-free paper. They fade due to light, the ink
sticks together from page to page and transfers onto other pages if
the pages are fan-folded so that pages with text are juxtaposed.
I have a ton of stuff like this, perhaps almost literally, and have
recently observed that about 25% of it that was in my supposedly
moisture-controlled storage room ended up under some moisture anyway
somehow, and was so far gone that it needs to simply be disposed of.
And I hate to sound anti-establishment, but I think a very wrong and
biased view of history comes from only considering published books and
PhD-level reports. As they say, the "winners" write the history books.
But that doesn't mean they write everything ever written. Important
records of ANSI CL include the set of _failed_ cleanups. I certainly
have copies of them, even though they don't seem to still exist at
the online document archives in
(Possibly because they failed they were never publicly available,
or maybe they are available embedded in the mail.) This is stuff that
happens to be online, but there are many such things that aren't.
Working Papers at the MIT AI Lab are documents that were, by their
nature, not by their subsequent importance, declared to be not fit for
reference. That was a weird way to do things--there are important
"working papers" and not-very-important "memos" as a result. And I
have random little scraps of printout in my files that are things that
batted about the net as useful wisdom from before there was a web,
design discussions on mailing lists that were probably never archived,
etc. All of this WILL fade and in less than 100 years if I don't do
something to actively prevent it.
The fact that some hardcopy documents are long-lived is not proof that
putting things into hardcopy will make things live long.