National Archives And Dune's House Records

The National Archives is facing a growing problem: too many new documents in too many formats on too many different technologies. "We don't want to turn into a Cyber-Williamsburg, a place that keeps old technologies alive," says Kenneth Thibodeau, director of the Electronic Records Archives Program, referring to the living museum in Virginia where people and homes look as they did in the 18th century.


(National Archives, Washington D.C.)

The National Archives were created in 1934 by order of President Roosevelt; it became the repository of federal records, with documents like the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. About five billion pages of paper documents are stored in Washinton; this does not count the contents of 13 regional archives and 11 presidential libraries. Now, electronic documents (like emails) number in the hundreds of millions.

Why hasn't anyone thought ahead to when the archives will contain documents spanning millenia? Actually, Dune author Frank Herbert already has.

In his 1984 novel Heretics of Dune, Herbert writes about the Chapter House Records of the Bene Gesserit. These records go back 300 generations:

...Chapter House Records could only be viewed as a jungle of of abbreviations, special notations, coded insertions, and footnotes. Such material often required a Mentat for translation or, what was worse in times of extreme fatigue demanded that she delve into Other Memories. ...You could never consult Archival Records in a straightforward manner. Much of the interpretation that emerged from that source had to be accepted on the word of the ones who brought it or (hateful!) you had to rely on the mechanical search by the holosystem...
(Read more about Frank Herbert's Chapter House Records)

What is the best way we have to save electronic records? Set the Wayback Machine to 1965; for now, the Archives uses electronic storing methods, transferring data onto magnetic tapes because that is the only format the archivists know will work indefinitely.


(IBM 1410 with six tape drives [source])

According to Herbert's novel, our National Archivists haven't really even started working on the real problem; how to find what you want, across document format and technology.

Read more at the WSJ.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 1/1/2006)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Culture ")

China Social Credit System Like State-Run Whuffie
'At least there was no mandatory Whuffie check on the monorail platform...' - Cory Doctorow, 2003.

Sex In Driverless Cars? Updated With Video!
'...admirable for petting.' - David H. Keller, 1935.

Xinhua AI Anchor Puts CGI Face To Automated News
'...a congeries of software agents.' - William Gibson, 1996.

Wirewax Watching You Watch, Adjusting Your Experience
'He adjusted the n, the r and b knobs, and hopefully anticipated a turn for the better...' - Philip K. Dick, 1964.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Unfurl The Future! Huawei Mate X versus Galaxy Fold
'A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled silently from the top of the unit and immediately grew rigid.'

Amazon Echo And Google Home Should Have Morality Software
'The Dwoskin Morality Rating-Computer could 'spot the slightest tendency to deviation' from the social norm...'

China Building Robot Wives
'Want a life-companion, a pleasant one?'

China Social Credit System Like State-Run Whuffie
'At least there was no mandatory Whuffie check on the monorail platform...'

Project Soli Radar Gesture Chip Now FCC Approved
'He waved his hand and the circuit switched abruptly.'

Stan, Robot Valet, Will Drag Your Car Away
'He activated the grapple tracks. '

Jibo Home Robot Says Goodbye, Is Killswitched
'It resembles an oyster....'

Johns Hopkins Says Asteroid Deflection Will Be Difficult
'This obelisk is one huge deflector mechanism...'

Fabric Automatically Cools Or Insulates Based On Environment
'...a high-efficiency filter and heat-exchange system.'

Deepfakes From OpenAI GPT-2 Algorithm
'How can you compete with an IBM heavy-duty logomatic analogue?'

John Deere Self-Driving Tractor
'The huge plow... seemed to shake itself - and began to move back southward.'

North Focals Smart Glasses Provide Augmented Reality In Style
'The world ... is drenched in unfamiliar information all the way to the horizon.'

Tesla Driver Caught Napping Behind The Wheel
'Mary Risling settled back for a little nap...'

Hayabusa 2 To Begin Asteroid Mining
'We must dig down, and then doubtless we shall find the metal.'

Ionocraft Drone Powered By Electrohydrodynamic Thrust
'He saw one hiss by him as he rounded the corner, trailing a short whip antenna...'

Purdue Pharma Ready To Profit From OxyContin Use Or Addiction Recovery
'It may be organic damage. It may be permanent. Time'll tell, and only after you are off Substance D for a long while.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.