Although professional historians draw from a variety of sources in studying and interpreting the past, written communications – preserved and archived in the form of diplomatic memorandums, government dispatches, personal diaries, private correspondence, daily newspapers, weekly journals, and the like – have long served as the main building blocks of scholarly inquiry.
But what happens if the methods used to transmit information today become inaccessible (or disappear) tomorrow? Writing for the BBC this past April, reporter Mathew Well identified some of the key challenges that future historians could face attempting to analyze the “written” records of the Internet Age.
Specifically, he noted, while the ubiquity of online communication
…means unprecedented instant access to vast stores of human knowledge and culture, it also means that mountains of digital data of crucial importance to archivists and future historians are potentially under threat from deletion, corruption, theft, obsolescence and natural or man-made disasters.
For more on how today’s technology may alter the future’s past, check out the full story HERE.