The looming of a digital dark age
July 4th, 2007

The growing problem of accessing old digital file formats is a “ticking time bomb”, the chief executive of the UK National Archives has warned, reports the BBC.

Natalie Ceeney said society faced the possibility of “losing years of critical knowledge” because modern PCs could not always open old file formats.

She was speaking at the launch of a partnership with Microsoft to ensure the Archives could read old formats.

Microsoft’s UK head Gordon Frazer warned of a looming “digital dark age”.

He added: “Unless more work is done to ensure legacy file formats can be read and edited in the future, we face a digital dark hole.”

… The National Archives, which holds 900 years of written material, has more than 580 terabytes of data – the equivalent of 580,000 encyclopaedias – in older file formats that are no longer commercially available.


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