Sunday, November 11, 2012
Even in this day and age, the most secure form of information storage is a good quality book printed on acid free paper. There are exotic long term storage methods, but they are well beyond the reach of the average person.
Digital storage is a problem. Home computers have been around long enough for people to experience a number of storage schemes. Odds are you’ve lost at least some information that could not be retrieved from obsolete equipment. Recently, I discovered some personally important information was only stored on 3.5 floppy disks. Luckily I was able to fire up an old lap top and moved data to a USB jump drive.
Personally, I like e-books. Being able to carry around the equivalent of hundreds of pounds of books in my hand is a technological wonder. I can’t imagine trying to carry all that around in my small sailboat. Project Gutenberg is a good source for free books. Great place to get all the classics.
That being said, all my practical how to and reference books are paper. A few are also duplicated electronically, but that’s secondary. Paper is the thing. E-books need an electronic device to read them on. It doesn’t have to be something as nasty as an EMP -just dead batteries are enough to make them useless. Wouldn’t you feel silly if your only copy of your generator repair manual was electronic?
Recently, I bought a new printer and printed out about a 100 pages of information. The information did not exist as a normal book, so a printout had to do. If you are really hard core about long term storage, it is possible to purchase high quality paper and archival quality inks. Fortunately, my printout isn’t something I plan on leaving for the grandkids. Regular paper and ink is fine, and a whole lot cheaper.
There are many paper books on my shelves over 100 years old. None of my original digital information from 10 years ago is stored on its original storage device. Some of those formats are completely orphaned. For the average Joe, paper is the way to go.