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Science Friday: The "File Not Found" Series

We originally featured this series in the 1-05-2018 Scout Report, and this multimedia resource continues to provide a fascinating window into the world of data preservation.

Today, people create more data than ever before. As individuals, we compose emails, texts, and tweets. Companies and organizations create even more digital information, contributing to what some are calling a data glut. This provokes the question: What digital information should we preserve, and how can we preserve it? In this three-part multimedia essay, Lauren J. Young investigates how archivists, librarians, and others are working to preserve digital data. In Part 1, "Ghosts in the Reels," readers learn about the challenges of preserving magnetic tape. While fewer folks use VHS or cassette tapes in their daily lives, magnetic tape is still used to back up data. Part 2, "The Librarians Saving the Internet," chronicles the web archiving efforts of librarians. Part 3, "Data Reawakening," explains the innovation of synthetic DNA data storage. This series is designed by Daniel Peterschmidt and incorporates photographs, video, and audio, along with a few delightfully retro animations.
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