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Date: Fri, 31 Mar 2000 18:00:10 -0800 (PST)
Date: Wed, 15 Mar 2000 22:38:39 -0800
From: John Spragens
Dead medium: The ephemeral nature of magnetic domains on rotating platters

The cold, cold ground may preserve historical data more effectively than computers, according to a BBC report.

The Beeb cites a University of York study that looked at records of scores of archeological digs between 1991 and 1996 -- stored in computer databases.

It will come as no surprise to necronauts that the data had deteriorated much faster than the archeological artifacts had while they were underground.

The list of problems ranged from corrupted floppies to obsolete physical media formats and database files that can't be read by current programs.

"Kept on standalone computers or on disks in a shoe box, data from sites will be of less use to tomorrow's archaeologists than if the site had not been excavated in the first place," the BBC says.

For some reason, the reporter has greater faith in the Net: "Servers can go down or will need upgrading, but in theory, information on the internet will last forever."

Well, in theory ...