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Making it Last: Achieving Digital Permanence

Raymond 'Princess Sparklefists' Blum
ACM Queue, vol. Nov-Dec 2018 (2018)


The amount of information added to the corpus of humanity’s knowledge grows at an increasing rate. Meanwhile, the apparent “concreteness” of the datastore, and thus our confidence in the permanence and integrity of the data, is reduced with every technological leap. This presents challenges at many levels, the most basic of which is guaranteeing that the content that we retrieve is in fact the same information that we previously stored away for today’s use. This article will * Examine the challenges in ensuring the integrity of our datastore * Identify classes of failure for data integrity * Share some techniques to counter or reduce the risk presented by each type of failure—whether encountered singly or in a perfect storm—brought about by a conspiring world.