“When Data Disappears”: My NYT Op-Ed

My op-ed for the New York Times on digital preservation was published today.  A shout-out to Clay Risen, editor extraordinaire at the New York Times, for approaching me about writing it and for all his help. I first met Clay a couple of years ago when he interviewed me for an article he was writing on game preservation.

For those wanting more information on how to salvage bits from old storage media, particularly magnetic media, see Jeanne Kramer Smyth’s excellent “Rescuing 5.25″ Floppy Disks from Oblivion” and Archive Team’s wiki page on “Rescuing Floppy Disks.”

For more on how archivists, scholars, and players are preserving vintage videogames, download the “Preserving Virtual Worlds” final report, a white paper to the Library of Congress’ National Digital Information Infrastructure for Preservation Program.  Co-authored with Jerome McDonough, et al.

Also forthcoming is ” ‘Do You Want to Save Your Progress?’ The Role of Professional and Player Communities in Preserving Virtual Worlds,” co-authored by me and Rachel Donahue. For a preview, you can listen to my recent talk at the New York Public Library. And if you’re interested in the legal angle on videogame preservation, check out my article in the Journal of Visual Culture.

Finally, you can read a description of our current work on videogame preservation here.

  • Narayan

    Dear Prof. Kraus,

    I found your editorial in the Times very interesting and apropos. I’ve found that one easy way for non-experts (like myself) to overcome the ever-present problem of format obsolescence is to keep as much data as possible in plain ASCII text form, as it is likely to be machine-readable well into the future.

    -Narayan