I have written before about the issues that genealogists, historians, and others face when trying to save information for hundreds of years. Floppy disks, CD-ROM disks, hard drives and most other technologies have a life expectancy of twenty-five years or so. USB jump drives probably won't even last that long. The paper most of us use today contains acids and probably will not last 100 years. Even worse, the laser toner and the inkjet inks in common use today will fade long before the passage of 100 years; so, our descendants may inherit blank pieces of paper.
Even microfilm will be unusable within a few years. To be sure, the films will last up to 300 years or so if they are never used (scratched). However, manufacturers of microfilm readers and cameras are now disappearing. You probably will not be able to purchase microfilm equipment 25 years from now.
NOTE: I wrote last year about practical electronic information preservation solutions already in widespread use in my Plus Edition article "Preserving Data: Separating Facts from Fiction." You can purchase a copy of this article for $2.00 from the archives at http://www.lulu.com/content/1134427.
A team of researchers at UCSC claims to have come up with a power-efficient, scalable way to store data reliably for a theoretical 1,000 to 1,400 years with regular hard drives.
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