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Future proofing

By cchinukwue ·
How does one go about future proofing an MS excel document which is intended to be retrieved in 25 years time.

N.B I have had enough suggestinos asking me to save to disk and all that. Lets hear some wack ideas.

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Sorage Methods

by timwalsh In reply to Future proofing

Your question actually goes way beyond what type of electronic media to use for long term storage.

Here is the major issue: regardless of electronic media type, will something be readily avaiable to read the data on the media in 25 years? 25 years ago, data was input into computers either manually (by typing) or through punch cards. Data was stored on either very large tape reels or massive hard disks. Most examples of such technology today only exist in musuems. What is the likelyhood of computers that exist 25 years hence being able to extract data from a CD or a floppy or a Zip disk or a data tape? This is assuming that the CD hasn't disintegrated or the magnetic media had not been de-magnetized over time.

The next major issue you need to worry about, assuming the above problems can be surmounted, is data format. How many programs today can read data from programs available even 15 years ago?

My bottom line suggestion would be that if the data in this spreadsheet isimportant enough that it must be available in 25 years, you fall back on the storage method that has usually not failed us humans over the eons -- paper.

There is ample proof that paper, if stored properly, will last hundreds, if not thousands ofyears. Magnetic media just hasn't existed long enough to understand the impact of long-term storage. CD/DVD technology is even newer.

Hope this gives you something to think about.

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read this

by road-dog In reply to Future proofing

M.I.T.> Technology Review Magazine, October edition.

DATA EXTINCTION by Claire Tristram

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(C) Publish It

by Vida In reply to Future proofing

When I have something I want to be eternal - I publish it. Let the rest of the world figure out the media types and storage issues

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Rendundancy, why not?

by gk_arts In reply to Future proofing

I say export the file in several formats, like CSV, ASCII text, Unicode text, and whatever else. Then, save it on a floppy, a CD, and a tape backup.

You figure floppy's have been around (3 1/4" ones that is) for over 10 years, and they're not showing signs of disctinction yet. CD's being so affordable and handy, you may be able to use their backward compatible descendants down the road. Who knows.

Of course, the one sure bet is paper; you can always scan and OCR it down the road.

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I agree with George

by MC_User In reply to Rendundancy, why not?

On most points, exept for the magnetic media storage like disks or tapes. These will degrade over time. I give them a 5 to 10 year lifespan before the data on them becoems unreadable.

CD-R should last from 20 to 70 years, IF the CD is stored properly. Minimum exposure to light, low humidity, a controlled environment.

Keep the data in a multiple of formats. ASCII Text and DBF Format are good generics.

Print copies of out on high quality paper and ink. (high quality = low acid paper and low acid ink)

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You want wack? I'll give ya wack!

by rickydoo In reply to Future proofing

Get yourself a laptop. New, old, whatever.
Get yourself a copy of your favorite OS on CD.
Get yourself a copy of your favorite software(MS Office, Corel WP Suite, whatever) on CD.
Burn all the drivers, etc you'll need to run the laptop to CD.
Burn your spreadsheet, and anything else you want to keep (favorite MP3s, photos, etc) to CD.
Wrap it all in static sensitive plastic and stick it all into a portable, fireproof safebox, like a Sentry brand. Someone somewhere must make one big enough to fit a laptop and AC adaptor (will we have AC power 25 years from now? Hmmm). Pull the battery from the laptop, just to be safe.
The beauty of it is all the other crap you can save for posterity, and you're sending your own reader along with it. Who cares if 1000 Terabyte memory crystals with telepathic data transfer interfaces (TDTI) replace CD ROMs and IDE? I bet the computers will still have a serial port.
Oh yeah! Throw in a serial laplink cable, too.

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by tbragsda In reply to Future proofing

Print several copies, put one in a box at a bank, one at home in a safe, whatever. Point is paper lasts, disks don't.

The suggestion of storing a LT for 25 years is your best bet otherwise, but why not just print it?

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by djent In reply to Future proofing

Engrave it into one of the pillers of Stonehenge.

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