We use to distinguish things that are eternal and those that are ephemeral, but how valid is our judgment?
Take Wikipedia for instance. I used to take for granted that Wikipedia was here for ever, up and running and ready to send me any version of any page in any language and I was wondering how useful it is for my Owark project to archive Wikipedia pages.
Wikipedia would be threatened in many ways. For example, in its current form, SOPA could require Wikipedia to actively monitor every site we link to, to ensure it doesn’t host infringing content. Any link to an infringing site could put us in jeopardy of being forced offline. The trust and openness that underlies the entire Wikipedia project would be threatened, and new, restrictive policies would make it harder for us to be open to new contributors.
If we can read the Odyssey today, it’s not because its original “editor” has been able to preserve it, but because “Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe” and enough copies had been spread to insure its transmission.
If Wikipedia (or any other website) are weaker than we use to think and can be closed down, we need to spread as many copies as possible and this is really what Owark is about.
Now, is that enough?
Long-term there’s no future in printed books.
I understand the point and there may be no future in printed books medium term, but electronic books depends on cheap and ubiquitous electricity and I wouldn’t bet that this will be the case long term!
We know that sooner or later we will have to dramatically reduce our power consumption and we don’t know how smooth or brutal will be the transition.
If we are wise enough to manage a smooth transition, the industry might be able to adapt itself.
If not, there is a serious risk is that many books or web pages, digital photos, songs, music, videos that rely on cheap energy are simply lost forever!
Should we print web pages to archive them?