Links roundup: Archiving, typing and vinyl

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One of the reasons why I love writing in paper planners and notebooks is because they are archival. I have decades of my planners and notebooks from my years at work, at school, when I was in the Peace Corps, and general family life. I love looking back and remembering what my life was like years ago. Paper is a wonderful archival medium. There’s no electronic interface required.

I’m surprised when I hear people say they write their blogs so they or their children can look back decades from now at their lives. I seriously doubt today’s blogs will be available in the future they way they are today. Apparently I’m not the only one concerned.

A recent article in The Guardian warns us of the perils of relying on technology to preserve our documents and photos. I found especially interesting the idea that we often don’t realize the significance of writings until years or decades later. Things written today only in electronic formats will be lost to history as the electronic interfaces change and become obsolete. As memory use grows and data capacity increases, electronic storage will inevitably expand and evolve, leaving today’s methods behind. For example, when was the last time you tried to get your documents off a floppy disc?

I was surprised by another recent article stating handwriting will no longer be taught to school children in Finland. The class time will instead be used to teach typing. Many people feel handwriting is becoming less relevant as typing becomes the most common way to write, but I would disagree (and as evidence would cite the Guardian article above!). I know several US states have also ditched handwriting in favor of teaching typing.

Something that does warm my heart is the news that vinyl records are still being manufactured and they are still in demand as a niche market. I personally haven’t had a record player since I was a kid, but I can definitely understand the appeal of handling the record, dropping the needle and watching the disc spin as you examine the cover art and read the back. Downloading music just doesn’t have the same tactile and visual appeal.

Do you rely on electronic media to store your documents, photos and music? Do you print out important documents and photos regularly?


3 thoughts on “Links roundup: Archiving, typing and vinyl

  1. I really struggle with digital storage. It is so hard for me to organize and retrieve because it is not tangible. I still buy music on compact discs, or vinyl for something really special (I still firmly believe that vinyl sounds better). I store documents on paper. I just am so much more disciplined with paper.

  2. I think it is not only the content of what is composed, but the writing itself. I love to look at old hand written letters and notes, recognizing the writer by the handwriting. There is value to that. A typed page is impersonal. Anyone could have struck the keys.

  3. I have always felt like this is a case of The Emperor’s New Clothes – maybe just because I’ve been using technology actively since 1984 with my first Macintosh. Nothing but nothing I have kept on a floppy or hard drive has survived until now. All the software and hardware keeps changing. The bookkeeping software I used in the 90s is obsolete and none of its data recoverable. I have my handwritten notes and journals from the 80s (those I printed out) but the data itself is long gone. Anyone who believes electronically stored data will be accessible long into the future is deluding themselves.

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