• Feeding Future Archeologists

    The ordinary bloke’s touch on history is light. Only after the Domesday book in the 11th century would he appear in public records and only then if he owned significant assets.

    King Willy did not care what you ate as long as it was not his game. Later you might appear in births, deaths and marriages — hatch, match and dispatch — if you were known to the church.

    The 20th century will be the best one for genealogists and archaeologists of the future because of photography. Imagine what could be gleaned from a snapshot of your family heading off on vacation. There are the fashions and hairstyles, the body shapes, the size and type of house behind you. The kind of car you drive (yes, we were judging you on your car). People will discover millions of shoeboxes full of faded Kodacolors. But not from the 21st century.

    Today we take an order of magnitude more photos because it’s cheap and our phone is always with us, but we don’t print them. We store them digitally or share them the same way. Will they be lost to posterity? Do you have Beta, VHS, 8mm, 4mm or some other videotapes in your bottom drawer? I do. But I do not possess the machines to play them – they died long ago. I also have photos on CDs, DVDs, 3 1/2″ and 5 1/4″ floppies. I have several external hard drives without cables and a few dead laptops with ‘stuff’ presumably on their hard drives. All useless.

    This is where cloud storage comes in for the boring boy. I have many photos on Flickr and Facebook and Mr. Zuckerberg is looking after them for me. Cloud storage is the ultimate way to avoid responsibility for keeping this stuff. But how long will Facebook really keep my snaps? I used to have a lot of photos on the online Kodak Gallery, but when they went belly up I was told they were transferred to Shutterfly. I wonder! I haven’t yet spent the time to check.

    I haven’t touched on how you find that one good photo of Auntie Em in all this stuff. That enters the realm of Big Data and is therefore a topic for a late date.

    Mike Sparkes is author of the blog Obscure Aussie and an IT storage expert based in Brisbane, Australia.

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    Feeding Future Archeologists, 5.0 out of 5 based on 2 ratings
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