Monday, May 10, 2004

So, yes, I have added permalinks to our posts. A permalink is a unique address for each post. That way, if someone somewhere wants to link to one of our Rockumentary posts, they can use the permalink and, even if someone clicks on it a year from now, they will go straight to the right post.

I hesitate to call anything on the internet "permanent". I still don't feel like anything written is really safe until it is on paper. The more we get used to computers and backing-up and all this, the more we forget what permanence means. Of course nothing is actually permanent, but I consider a printed page more permanent than a computer disk. I consider a chiseled rock more permanent than a printed page.

With the constantly evolving technology of today, we can only hope that someone is paying attention to the importance of archiving and still making accessible the information of today. As historic documents are scanned and micro-film is discarded and card catalogs cast aside, our dependence on electricity is almost scary. Almost. It's easy to forget that everything will be different in 20 years.

One of my next projects is going to be converting all my old home videos to DVD. Some of them have already been destroyed by the ravages of time, though. I had heard that the shelf-life of a videotape is ten years. That's nothing! Some of my home movies are now gone, lost forever for no reason other than they faded away into time. They were supposed to preserve my memories but instead they have proven to be just as ghostly.

I guess we just need to keep converting things from one format to another in order to preserve them. If I had thought it through, I would have made copies of those old video tapes onto newer blank tapes ten years ago. I still would have been losing some quality by duplication but at least I would have something more than a washed out, snow covered memory.

So, what is the shelf-life of a DVDR? How long are these photos that I am printing from my computer going to last? Who thinks about the future? What exactly is a "permalink"?

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