maandag 27 september 2010

David Rosenthal en de noodzaak van migraties - zijn eigen commentaar

Anderhalve week geleden blogde ik over de bijeenkomst kostenmodellen en de mening van David Rosenthal dat we te veel energie steken in migraties omdat nog lang niet bewezen is dat bestandsformaten inderdaad onbruikbaar worden. David is het niet eens met de manier waarop ik mijn blog besloot, en stuurde me onderstaande mail die ik verbatim opneem:

"Unless Google's translation is at fault, I want to strenuously object to a comment in this blog posting: You say (Google's translation): 'And maybe Rosenthal's theory is only useful in its own domain, e-journals, where PDF-A "rules".'

It is simply untrue that e-journal = PDF. Collecting e-journals by collecting only the PDF form destroys most of the value in the e-journal. Visit any state of the art e-journal, such as and you will see that PDFs contain only a small proportion of the content of the site. Preserving PDFs is a completely inadequate strategy for preserving e-journals.

It is precisely because of this that the LOCKSS system is designed to collect *everything* published by a web-site, such as an e-journal. HTML, CSS, Javascript, GIF, JPG, WAV, MP3, video, spreadsheets, ... We collect and preserve it all.

Implying that my "theory" applies only to e-journals is a serious misrepresentation. My statement that significant formats have not gone obsolete over the last 15 years is not a theory but a *fact*. I have repeatedly challenged the digital preservation experts to come up with a counter-example, a format that was in use after 1995 and can no longer be rendered. The only example that has been put forward is a very early version of Microsoft Project - hardly a basis for an entire, expensive strategy of migration. Note that emulating a 1995 PC will still render this format. The theory is that this will continue into the future. If you argue that it will not, you need to come up with a plausible scenario by which at least one format will go obsolete. Again, no-one has put forward any such scenario.

I would ask you to correct your misrepresentation. David"

Tijdens de bijeenkomst waren er collega's die van mening waren dat bestandsformaten wel degelijk onbruikbaar worden c.q. geworden zijn. David daagt jullie uit om met bewijzen te komen. Ik stel mijn blog gaarne open voor het debat!

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