Is New Technology Helping or Impairing Literary Archives?

There are many benefits that come with the digital age.  We can send emails, text messages, pictures, and make phone calls from basically anywhere on the planet.  One of the greatest benefits we have seen from the new media age is how we store data.  The days of filing cabinets and stacks of paperwork are, for the most part, ancient history.  Now, we have scanners to import paper data to computers and store that data on computer hard drives, thumb drives, or even in our e-mail inboxes.  This new ways of digital storage seem to make our live more organized an less cluttered.

However, we are not the only ones who are using this technology.  Authors of literary works have also jumped on the technology bandwagon.  No longer are authors using typewriters, but instead they are producing works on word processors by use of computers, laptops, and even smart phones.

Most people would wonder what the problem is with this?  Currently, there are not many issues with authors having data saved on devices such as hard drives, flash drives, or CDs.  However, the issue occurs further down the road when modern media storage devices become obsolete.  This is something that many of us have experienced within short periods of time.  For example, remember floppy disks?  In the early 2000s, all computers had floppy disk drives and submitting digital assignments for a computer class often meant using such disks.  Fast forward to today.  It would be difficult for you to hunt down a computer with a floppy disk drive anywhere.  There are authors who saved many of their research and works to floppy disks.  The problem is that today when libraries and museums are trying to archive such information.  They may have difficultly archiving the out of date formats.  If out of date formats cannot be archived, then saving data in the first place was a waste since no one will ever be able to use it.

There is not a lot we can do stop the progression of the digital age.  There will continue to be improvements and thus certain media storage devices will become obsolete.  However, we should be aware of this and not rely entirely on digital storage devices to keep information “safe.”  After all, the safe storage may never be able to be used in the future.

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