British Library warns of 'black hole' in history if websites and digital files are not preserved. "Historians of the future, citizens of the future, will find a black hole in the knowledge base of the 21st century." In addition to dead file formats and lost information from government websites, Lynne Brindley also points to the habits of individuals. "I call it personal digital disorder. Think of those thousands of digital photographs that lie hidden on our computers. Few store them, so those who come after us will not be able to look at them." Read on....
Hmmm. It's worth noting that there are several initiatives working toward preserving online information. The Internet Archive is first in my mind, a non-profit organization preserving the web, including their invaluable Way-Back Machine (good for a laugh at 90's web design).
But I think the immediate issue facing us is the loss of digital data. Data storage, even at the highest level of importance encompassing our scientific breakthroughs and historical archives, are already in danger due to their digitally-flimsy format. Here at the University, the libraries are working on the later issue by preserving textual-based records in our University Digital Conservancy.
Digital data, however, presents more of a problem. Security, format, lack of metadata standards, and size are just a few issues being addressed, slowing, with joint-discussion between the libraries, OVPR, OIT and various data centers, like MSI. If you have any comments on how to preserve scientific data sets for sharing, reuse, and discovery, whether for grant funding compliance or long-term preservation, please let me know! I'm a member of the libraries E-science and Data Stewardship Collaborative that is wrestling with some of these problems.