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The shortest century

The shortest century

our culture can disappear, its preservation can save us

di Stefano Cariolato (Autore)

Today the development of digital technology continues at an accelerated pace, but the problem of information retention arises, which previously was mainly entrusted to paper printing. But while a book or letter can be read immediately even centuries after their writing if they have resisted time, digital information still has a short life, even in the absence of the deterioration of the media used: this due to the same technological development, which quickly makes any recording obsolete by irreversibly changing both the hardware and the reading software. Other registrations are also volatile by their very nature, such as emails or web pages, although they may host information that may have value in the future. The problem is particularly relevant in this century precisely because we are at the initial stages of a new and important need, but we are not yet equipped to deal with it and we are not sufficiently aware of it. The past century has been baptized "the short century", but our present century risks being known by posterity as the "shortest century", precisely because they will not have much information about us. Preserving digital documents for their future use has not only a mere historiographical purpose, but also a concrete and irreplaceable value for future generations. Because if we don't keep the data, we can't reuse them. They are a kind of renewable resource, whose real value is in their reuse. So it's important to be at least aware of this problem, which the book tries to answer.

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Dati AIE 2023 (Associazione Italiana Editori)