Heck with the cloud, I don't trust anyone (not even myself).
I've got a 8TB NAS sitting out in the open on my desk, movies of my kids growing up, digitized records of every sort, every photo (well, almost, still scanning in old polaroid's), tax records, purchased software, etc., etc., etc.,
All sitting inside this little shoe box size device (NAS) with only two cords I need to unplug to grab and go in the case of an emergency (power & Ethernet).
This is way better than the myriad of storage boxes I have the originals saved in scattered around the house (upstairs and downstairs).
In addition, I've do backups of the NAS on regular basis and they are stored elsewhere.
Yes, there's data on there that I probably would have to go to great lengths (and write my own software) to recover (e.g., true type font collections from the 1980's for my Mac's :-) But I'm hopeful that there will always be an easy way to read common image formats (even raw) and pdf's (and certainly text).
Unless of course, something knocks us back into the stone age. Which then I think we will have bigger problems then not being able to reminisce over photos of our great great grandparents we once scanned in.
There are a lot of bigger things to worry about... Digital copies ARE the only way to go.
I don't worry about data conversion. As long as there are geeks, there will be software to convert just about anything to the latest-greatest format.
I don't worry about data loss, because I use RAID, backup copies, and multiple sites to store stuff.
I don't worry about how long my data will last on magnetic media or solid state memory. Long after I'm gone, if anyone is really interested in my archives they will transfer them to new media before they go bad on the old media.
I certainly don't worry about getting knocked into the stone age. If you believe what is written in the book of Revelation (and I do), our digital copies are likely to become useless, but our paper copies are even more likely to be burned up. As was already stated in this thread, when that time comes I will not care about such things as my digital photos anyway.
I may be a hoarder of information, but it is all kept in a very small box instead of warehouses of paper.
Oh - one last thing... I was able to pay an unemployed person 10 bucks an hour to scan all my old photos. She was very appreciative of the short-term contracting job, and I got decades of family history on a thumb drive for about a thousand bucks.
MY father left me about 60,000 slides, many in large Carousel trays organized as slide shows. H electured extensively on art, and was a world traveler and avid photographer among other things. HIS projector still works, but I'll never get around to digitizing all I have. It mostly fills a large walk-in closet.... I had hoped to find someone with a way to automatically digitize the slides IN the trays, but never found anyone. I have some external HDDs (one connected to my WiFi router accessible to all my PCs) but have been too lax in regularly backing up. When my old "mainstay" XP machine went belly-up last year, i lost a LOT of important stuff ((the HDD was a casualty of the crash). Live and learn....
Although the scrolls were preserved for millenia, apparently they were difficult to read because of the dirt (to say nothing of the fragmentation, penamanship and language). I remember reqding an advert ~1978 where the advertiser claimed that their mini sandblaster had been used (albeit at a very low setting). I googled mini sandblaster and came up with a low price alternative and surprisingly easily available.
Now of course printed hardcopies will have severe limitations because our electronic documents tend to be anything but flat, they link to many other items and in the long run the "links won't work". But if we think we have problems what about these giant media behemoths? It sort of boggles the imagination that the current generation that so criticized previous ones for being so slow to transfer older films on fire-prone acetate-based film stock that many earlier masterpieces were lost, themselves have neither a "future-proof" strategy nor an archival medium available to preserve the current cinematic masterpieces for another generation. Perhaps CD technology that is literally "using lasers to burn pits into aluminum" will last for awhile - oops, does anyone remember the early discs and "laser rot" (humid delamination)? Certainly DVDs and later technologies that are merely representing phase change in a dye are not preserving anything by performing an "irreversible process", and as far as hard disk copies go - gee that's right they ALL fail given enough time don't they? Well at least media FORMATS stay around almost forever don't they (wait a minute, when was the last time I had a machine with a Bernoulli drive again)? The most amazing thing is there's just about ZERO discussion about what to do about this pitiful state of affairs, and maybe if the big studios would start to take seriously the financial consequences of the potential loss of TRILLIONS in entertainment IP then we could "tag along" on their choice of archival media, and come up with some innovations of our own to "fill in the holes" that represent our own special needs.
@Jeffl_2. I just may alwasy keep in XP computer around because it can run much of the old software that I can use to convert to newer formats. It has a 3.5-in.
A few years ago, I fired up a Win98 box, which as a 5.25-in. floppy and copied some files to newer media. I then converted some MultiMate ,doc files to Word .doc. Using OpenOffice or an old version of WordPerfect.
Hey folks, they call it "the cloud", at least thatr's an honest name, and one that says it all as a key indicator of its survivability and viability for long-term storage. (Does anyone out there recall "A Canticle for Leibowitz"?)
"The cloud"? That's just "let somebody else take care of it". Target was warned by Fireeye they had a data breach "in the cloud" but they ignored the problem until it was too late and the credit card data of 70 million customers was stolen. MtGox "had a little problem in the cloud" and the next thing they knew ALL their Bitcoins were gone and they were applying for bankruptcy. Experience tells us you use the cloud for convenience (and maybe for saving a little money) but NOT for security! Would you want to be the CEO at a major film studio (say Disney for example) having to explain to the stockholders that the entire digital film vault was compromised because you had decided to save a few bucks and leave the backup responsibility up to "the cloud"? I don't think so!
@Max The information it stores is still retrievable after 4,200 years
That will never happen with an iPad. The battery has gotten so low twice in the last week that the iPad wouldn't turn on. Fortunately, I had access to a $453,000 oscilloscope to charge it as did the phone next to the iPad (not mine).
The US National Archives decided long ago, that any medium preserved also requires the player of that medium be preserved too. Both paper and film need care to preserve them for posterity, not to mention the space it occupies. A lot of film has deteriorated, just ask Turner Classics. If not the deterioration of the celluloid on film [which by the way, is highly flammable], dyes have faded; if it weren't for digitalization, remastering and colorization, such works could be lost forever.
The US National Archives recommends porting older formats into newer ones, ad infinitum to insure the playability or readability of old documents, whenever possible.
As a persoal example, I transferred digital formats of the past to some generic format still viewable on most any modern PCs: Ashton Tate Dbase or Visicalc to delimited ascii text, or WordPerfect or WordStar, to ascii text. A big problem exists with analog formats: VHS tapes, analog cassette tapes, etc., that output NTSC or RGB video, as HDTV and digital audio made such devices rapidly obsolete; their lower quality relative to HDTV or lossless audio for the most part means conversion has little chance of data loss.
I have some documents that I've conerted from .doc to .doc (Multimate to Word) and some WorfPerfect files to Word. My wife still uses Wordperfect 11 bust saves as Word format so others can open the files. It's OK for plain text and simple formatting but gets messy with tables, graphics, etc.
I've also converted some Lotus 123 files to Excel.
dBase, haven't heard that in a while. I had created a database and wrote an app (DOS) to automate data entry. then one day, the app stopped running so I converted the data to xls and from there moved it into MS Access.
I have some old family movies htat I had someone put in DVD and distributed them to the family. One was from 1945. I sent it to my cousin who showed it to her mother (age 90+). My aunt was in tears seeing all those people so young.
There are other films too but the cost of convertingwas rather high. I converted one other, the first (silent) home movie of me.
Yes, its not too far away to generated 3D renditions of 2D movies so the viewer is inside the imagry and can move within it like a point and shoot game, rather than in front of it and just being a passive observer; early converters were sold with 3D TVs to allow 3D versions of any broadcast, its all an illusion with limited angular views, but it shows what can be done with older data sets. Thus, we won't need new cameras or technology to better relive the past, rather computer horsepower to do the conversions.
Preserving format takes more doing, as in your documents. It can be done, nevertheless often without preserving the 'reader' but it can be challenging with such items like Autodesk Animator.
I recall they had DIY conversion kits to digitize celulloid movies, video tape etc., I haven't shopped the market recently but remember them from early 2000s. Takes a lot of physical work though and the early PCs were challenged in terms of the data file size and the editing [ post processing] it may need. It would be much easier to do today on a low cost desktop, so it maybe worth revisiting.
I have two VHS/DVD compbo recorders. We only use the HVS to watch tapes not wirth preserving. Those worth preserving (home movies from before I had adigital camera) have been coverted to DVD. From there, I can make them into other digital formats.