Do digital books last longer than physical books? @brewsterkahle highlights the lengths libraries go through to keep digital books viable: they “need constant maintenance—reprocessing, reformatting, re-invigorating or they will not be readable or read.”

@internetarchive @brewsterkahle Who would argue that point? Electronic forms are notoriously difficult to keep "legible". We have centuries- (and millennia-) old books, some of which are as legible as the day they were 'scribed.

@internetarchive @brewsterkahle This hits close to home. I used to work for the LOCKSS project at Stanford, a peer-to-peer digital preservation system. Keeping access to old journals and ebooks is just a nightmare and we're going to have to face this challenge sooner rather than later.

@internetarchive @brewsterkahle

OTOH, I'm the editor of the now outdated Renascence Editions, Risa Bear, and IIRC I was told by someone in Equatorial Africa that our books were much appreciated there because of the speed at which paper deteriorates in the local conditions.


@internetarchive @brewsterkahle

They won't last any time at all if you keep infringing the copyright of the authors.....

@netopia @internetarchive @brewsterkahle It's a general problem that applies to all archives. I know The National Archive in the UK does a lot of work in this area, and I'm sure its sister AMIs around the world are too.

@internetarchive @brewsterkahle

I'm selfish. I buy electronic books for my personal use, not for posterity. I love tree books. I simply don't have room anymore for the collections that I used to have.

@WendyMsGator @internetarchive @brewsterkahle

The storage problem is why I like traditional print libraries. I should never run out of space if I can borrow books/media when I want.

However, nothing lasts forever. Libraries can be censored by the state, they can burn down, they can be mismanaged or closed due to funding cuts (happening in the UK). So I still buy books/media when I can.

:blobcatbook: #bookschat

@internetarchive @brewsterkahle Nuestras colecciones son enormes pero efímeras. A menudo pienso que, paradójicamente, si quieres conservar con seguridad alguna información concreta deberías copiarla en papel.

@internetarchive @brewsterkahle It’s kind of amazing how long paper is lasting as a media format.

I read both print and digital books but print will always have a bigger place in my heart.
#printbooks #books #reading #ebooks

@internetarchive thank you for both keeping the digital archive updated and for reminding people that, despite their perceived intangibility and endlessness, digital assets need constant maintenance, or they will somehow decay, exactly like anything else.

@internetarchive @brewsterkahle Formats evolve or get replaced. Disk arrays fail. Backups don't get run on schedule. Bit rot is real and moves a lot faster than people realise.

Books from the 16th century are still readable. Good luck getting anything off a ZIP disk from the year 2000.

@internetarchive @brewsterkahle yes I remember working in sound archives copying reel to reels to audio cassettes when digital processing cist a fortune and old tapes were catching fire in the racks - its always been a challenge to archive!

@internetarchive @brewsterkahle

This link defaults to HTTP for me, not sure if it’s just my device.

@internetarchive I was thinking similarly about photographs. People nowadays store their photos on disks or encrypted clouds, or take photos of everything in stories that disappear in a day. You won't find photos of your ancestors 200 years from now.

Do digital books last longer than physical books? 

Interesting observation - over 20+ years i have many inaccessible files, either in formats that i can no longer open (software moved on), or media that I can no longer access:

@internetarchive @brewsterkahle

My ebook library consists of just one "reprocessing" to remove DRM. Then as long as it keeps in my disk or the backup. I have done very little maintenance.

@internetarchive @brewsterkahle

I think this could end up being an almost insurmountable problem due to the ever-increasing pace of digital creation, not just for digital literature but also for art. So many album covers and illustrations and cartoons and greeting cards and paintings and photographs are purely digital, and most physical prints of them are made for personal use and aren't archival quality. We stand to lose so much if we can't figure out a solution.

@internetarchive @brewsterkahle Interesting how slow it seems to change, yet how fast it really happens.

@internetarchive @brewsterkahle pdf-a has been created as an archive format of pdf, but time will tell if that's going to help ... Indeed digital libraries are not simple. Few probably know that DVD's don't last forever dus to data degredation, let alone magnetic/flash media ..... Overwrite every few years is the only solution

@arend @internetarchive @brewsterkahle lzip ships with source code in its manual. there are no such with pdf. without such as poppler or mupdf library and compatible dependencies, one day those files will not open.

@internetarchive @brewsterkahle great idea, any further innovation regarding books on a platform?

@internetarchive @brewsterkahle Bit rot is a real thing, but if a physical book only survives in the archives of a library in a random physical location, how accessible/preserved is it really?

@internetarchive @brewsterkahle wouldn't it be simpler to go back to the proven technologies of paper books?

@internetarchive @brewsterkahle

See also, "a lot of stuff on microfilm." Local libraries often have 1960s-era archives of local newspapers on microfilm reels that smell really vinegar-y. And the reader/printers are now unrepairable. Worse, often no one knows and no one cares.

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