Preservation

The difficulty of preservation used to be not What but How. The concern was about acquisition, conversion, or just physically preserving the material. The How was mostly about money. Now, preservation can be digital, and digital is not only cheaper by the minute, it is already so cheap that it's hard to visualize.
        For example, the largest physical library in the world, the U.S. Library of Congress, contains about 20 terabytes of text. In today's market that's well under $2000 at your local Best Buy (you could probably get a price break on 20). I'll say it again, the entire text of the Library of Congress—the largest physical library in the world—for the cost of a minimal used car.
        Of course, all the text of the LOC isn't digitized. And therein lies the problem. It's not the cost of the storage ($2000 wouldn't pay the library's electric bill for a week). It's the cost—and the manual labor—of digitizing the material.
        On the other hand, it would cost a lot less, in time, effort, and money, for you to digitize your life—text, photos, movies, videos, everything. And it wouldn't need 20 terabytes of storage; more like one.
        Nor do you have to pay $200 (or $150 as I did back on November 2008) for your own private device. There are web hosts out there offering a terabyte of storage for $5.99 a month. So what are you waiting for? Yes, things will get cheaper but isn't it cheap enough to start now?

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