Does digital data disappear?
I’ve seen this kind of article many times but is it correct? I’d say that I’ve generated several million words in papers, newspaper articles, blog posts and so on since I got my first Mac in 1984 (a bit over 100kw/yr for 25+ years, for something like 3 million), and also attracted maybe 10 million more in blog comments (over 100k of non-spam comments. Of that, I’ve lost
* a fair bit of material I produced before 1990, when hard disk space was v expensive, and stuff had to be stored in various external disk formats. Sadly that includes my first econ theory book and a book of satirical songs I turned out in the 198s0
* The first year or so of comments on my blog in the now-obsolete Haloscan system.
* The blog has also suffered a lot of linkrot, including internal links to its older incarnations
* A lot of my older text is in formats that can now only be read by extracting a text-only format, and some old stuff (eg pre .qif financial records) is in formats that are no longer readable in any way. But again, that’s mostly a problem with pre-1990 stuff.
Compared to my slightly obsessive desire to preserve every revision of every piece I’ve ever written, those are substantial losses. But compared to my paper records, my digital stuff is almost perfectly complete, not to mention instantly accessible and searchable.