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Living in the Digital Dark Ages

Published 13 July 2019


What is the digital dark age and why are we living in it? This article investigates what we can do about saving our digital heritage.

We are living in the digital dark ages


The headlines scream, "we may be creating a digital dark age" (wayback). Even Wikipedia has a long description of what the digital dark age (wayback). is. Some people may call it hysteria, but we think the risk is very real. We dive knee deep into analyzing patterns that support the theory that we are living a period of mass heritage extinction. Data and information is ruthlessly deleted at an exponential rate. Once it is gone it is gone. That is why we give a wayback link to most of the items we link to on this website.

We also believe that the reason why the issues surrounding the digital dark ages has not been illuminated is because of the two-fold trends of the Internet. Reason 1 - Data is being created at an exponential rate. Who would notice if 200MB of data was lost when 2000TB of data might be created by the hour. Reason 2 - So many many more people are using computers and smartphones and accessing the web. Literally billions of people. Would they even notice, or care, if data from 30 years ago was not available to them?

What is digital content preservation?

Are you looking for a concise, jargon-free explanation of digital content preservation? We looked around and in our opinion, this is the best explanation that we could find.

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What is software preservation?

It isn't just your cherished photos that are important to archive. Much software that has revolutionized the way we live our lives has been lost to future generations. We put forward our list of critical software pieces that need preserving. Wikipedia is currently running with the list of commercial video games with available source code.

Hundreds of game source code instances, coming up from the 1970s through to today, have been collated into a single archive. The Internet Archive are kindly hosting the game source collection. There is also the video game preservation project, Historical Source project, and Libre Games archive all of which are hosted on GitHub.

Article tags: personal digital archiving

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