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Archiving email to Paper

The Powerhouse Museum [^] in Sydney and NineMSN have set-up an archive to store some of the nation’s emails.  In the interests of preserving the emails they will be stored electronically, and printed out onto archival quality paper.  Matthew McConnell, the Museum’s curator for computing and mathematics said:

“We imagine that computers solve all our problems – and who would give up email – but it’s funny having to go backwards in order to be certain that we can preserve these things.” The Age Technology

The decision to archive the emails onto paper is due to the speed that various digital media become obsolete.  The hardware and software required to make the data human-readable are rapidly discarded – just think of the once ubiquitous Floppy Disk Drives, and Commodore and Spectrum Data Cassettes.  Paper on the other hand has a useful life in the hundreds of years, and it’s always readable. 

It is hoped that the archive will be used as an indication of contemporary life, in much the same way that handwritten letters have been used by historians in the past.  Emails can be sent through [^].