Sunday, August 5, 2012

Efforts to preserve our digital heritage

Technology is advancing so fast that we are at risk of losing some of our digital heritage if it’s not preserved.
Consumers dispose of technology when the next big thing comes along. But what happens to all those old video games, computers and software?
Some groups are trying to preserve these tech relics for posterity.
Examples include the Videogame History Museum and the Museum of Endangered Sounds.
The Videogame History Museum was founded by John Hardie, Sean Kelly and Joe Santulli, creators of the Classic Gaming Expo. The group is hoping to have a permanent facility in the Silicon Valley area. The museum is dedicated to preserving and archiving the history of the video game industry.
“The videogame industry is double the size of the music industry and while there are several music ‘halls of fame’ and museums, there isn’t a single dedicated, all-inclusive videogame museum” Santulli said in a July 25, 2011, statement. “We’re taking the necessary steps toward creating a physical museum, research facility, and reference library to honor and archive the history, hardware, software, events and people of this industry.”
By contrast, the Museum of Endangered Sounds is a bit of a lark.
It’s a website, launched in January, which features sound clips of obsolete technologies from the start-up sound of a Windows 95 computer to the noise a videocassette makes as it is loaded into a VCR.
The site was created by Marybeth Ledesma, Phil Hadad and Greg Elwood, who met while they were advertising students at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Brandcenter, according to the Washington Post.
Other groups are working to preserve the history of the Internet and the World Wide Web.
They include the Internet Archive, which runs the Wayback Machine. The Wayback Machine archives webpages from as far back as 1996.
The Cyber Cemetery at the University of North Texas preserves U.S. government websites that would otherwise disappear, such as those of previous White House administrations and defunct commissions, the AP said.
The British Library is doing a similar job archiving the U.K.’s old websites, the AP says.

Photos: Artwork for the Videogame History Museum (top) and the Museum of Endangered Sounds.

Related stories:

How Important Is It To Preserve Our Digital Heritage? (Techdirt; June 3, 2011)

Friendster to Erase Early Posts and Old Photos (New York Times; April 26, 2011)

Our gaming history is threatened by antiquity, copyright (GamePad; July 30, 2010)

Our Rotting Video-Game Heritage (Technology Review; July 28, 2010)

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