Re: preservation vs. Preservation

From: Leslie Carr <lac_at_ecs.soton.ac.uk>
Date: Tue, 7 Mar 2006 20:34:06 +0000

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> Hi Les,
>
>>> The rate of technical and software obsolesce is such that deposits
>>> made to IRs today could - theoretically - be inaccessible in five
>>> years.
>> I would need to ask George to justify this
>
> I included ^—theoretically^“ as the proviso!
But can we ground the 'theoretical' worries into a concrete risk
analysis?

> It is of course unlikely that a format such as PDF would become
> obsolete within
> such a short time frame.
We are agreed on that, then! We could of course discuss the factors
that contribute to its perceived 'stability' and they would include
market share, openness and hobson's choice :-)

> The point I was making is that proprietary formats,
> however ubiquitous they may be, are subject to change at any time.
This is true, but will the format changes and the consequential
software changes affect the use of legacy documents (perhaps a very
very old version of the format will become unsupported). In which
case, this doesn't stop the current software from using the legacy
documents. And, if the old software has reasonable export facilities,
then the legacy documents may be migrated (if they haven't been
already).

> The owner of the format could theoretically change the technical
> specifications of the format
> or suddenly choose to alter the terms of use or licensing.
Can they retrospectively change the terms and conditions of software
that you already have a license for. If not, see above. If so, all
bets are off (technically, but even so they could not enforce the
change).

> I suppose a change
> of licensing might dictate that the owners of a 'free' plug-in
> suddenly decided
> to begin charging users to download the latest version. Such a
> scenario would
> obviously have tremendous implications for accessibility and, in
> turn, OA
> generally.
See above.

My concern is not for 'common' document formats but private data
holdings that don't conform to any specific data schema. That's more
of an e-research issue, but I don't know how current data archives
(e.g. AHDS) manage.
--
Les
Received on Tue Mar 07 2006 - 21:19:36 GMT

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