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Archiving Digital Data an Unsolved Problem 405

mattnyc99 writes, "It's a huge challenge: how to store digital files so future generations can access them, from engineering plans to family photos. The documents of our time are being recorded as bits and bytes with no guarantee of readability down the line. And as technologies change, we may find our files frozen in forgotten formats. Popular Mechanics asks: Will an entire era of human history be lost?" From the article: "[US national archivist] Thibodeau hopes to develop a system that preserves any type of document — created on any application and any computing platform, and delivered on any digital media — for as long as the United States remains a republic. Complicating matters further, the archive needs to be searchable. When Thibodeau told the head of a government research lab about his mission, the man replied, 'Your problem is so big, it's probably stupid to try and solve it.'"

Numeric stability is probably not all that important when you're guessing.