In this day and age, as most things ranging from books to comic books are becoming digitalized, a lot of information is readily accessible through trivial means.
Unfortunately, even with all of these advancements in technology, the guaranteed safety of our data will never be within reach. Drives fail all the time and data can be lost to natural disasters or human error.
Fortunately, things like books cannot just fail. They’re not drives, they don’t hold an electrical/magnetic charge. The text might smear or fade with time, but it can still be reconstructed. Doing the same with 1s and 0s? That’s trickier.
Unfortunately, books are easily flammable and can be ripped apart and naturally decompose. They’re eaten by insects and are affected by mold. They are made of organic material after all.
If you were to store books digitally, it would be trivial. You can host millions of books and keep them in pristine condition for decades if you have a reasonable setup and have technical experience with keeping the drives in check. And copying the data over is trivial, a lot of data is not hosted by just one person, but by dozens if not thousands of people, and the more people have copies of your data, the lower the chance it will disappear.
Though, just as anything else, the tip of the iceberg remains as the one readily accessible, but the body of the iceberg; things such as old, obscure blogs, 90s websites, and hobby projects, fade into obscurity and vanish. As obscure as they are, they are important and by vanishing, they create missing links and blank spots. Just think of all the old YouTube videos that had links in their descriptions, of which most are now completely dead or redirect to a 404 page. There are also the channels of people that by certain circumstances led to them deleting all of their videos. All of that history is completely erased from the sands of time, and could only be recovered by an altruist hero.
There are so-called “data hoarders” that archive everything they deem indispensible. They do this because they know the volatility of information, want to help humanity by providing this information in times of need, or might store it out of personal necessity. All of these can range from old cereal commercials to historical books and watercolor paintings. If it sounds important to you—archive it. Beware of the many technical specifications you need to abide by. Here are some you should keep track of:
- Music - FLAC.
- Books - PDF/EPUB - no watermarks and no converting from format to format.