Most of us are pretty good at saving our work, making regular backups and even archiving old data that we think we no longer need.
But there has long been a concern by businesses and academics as to what will happen once the storage media on which it is held becomes obsolete. How many of you could now read data held on 3.5 inch floppy disks – let alone older 5 and 8 inch ones?
Besides the obvious risk of not being able to read the files, many of us might not realise that digital files risks being lost by degradation of the storage media itself, for example, floppy disks can get brittle and crack if stored in sunlight.
A major research project is working towards the creation of specialist software which will be able to read files previously saved on now old and obsolete file formats.
Dr Delve, one of the researchers on the project says that, “without work to preserve ways to access the formats that are common today, 21st century citizens risk leaving a “blank spot” in history”.
Suggestions for use in class and questions for students (subscription only)