The Affair of the Vanishing Content

Written by Sam Vaknin


Continued from page 1

The Internet Archive, a leading digital depository, in its own words:

"...is working to preventrepparttar Internet a new medium with major historical significance and other "born-digital" materials from disappearing intorepparttar 108505 past. Collaborating with institutions includingrepparttar 108506 Library of Congress andrepparttar 108507 Smithsonian, we are working to permanently preserve a record of public material."

Data storage isrepparttar 108508 first phase. It is not as simple as it sounds. The proliferation of formats of digital content has made it necessary to develop a standard for archiving Internet objects. The size ofrepparttar 108509 digitized collections must pose a serious challenge as far as timely retrieval is concerned. Interoperability issues (numerous formats and readers) probably requires software and hardware plug-ins to render a smooth and transparent user interface.

Moreover, as time passes, digital data, stored on magnetic media, tend to deteriorate. It must be copied to newer media every 10 years or so ("migration"). Advances in hardware and software applications render many ofrepparttar 108510 digital records indecipherable (try reading your word processing files from 1981, stored on 5.25" floppies!). Special emulators of older hardware and software must be used to decode ancient data files. And, to amelioraterepparttar 108511 impact of inevitable natural disasters, accidents, bankruptcies of publishers, and politically motivated destruction of data - multiple copies and redundant systems and archives must be maintained. As time passes, data formatting "dictionaries" will be needed. Data preservation is hardly useful ifrepparttar 108512 data cannot be searched, retrieved, extracted, and researched. And, as "The Economist" put it ("The Economist Technology Quarterly, September 22nd, 2001), without a "Rosetta Stone" of data formats, future deciphering of storedrepparttar 108513 data might prove to be an insurmountable obstacle.

Last, but by no means least, Internet libraries are Internet based. They themselves are as ephemeral asrepparttar 108514 historical record they aim to preserve. This tenuous cyber existence goes a long way towards explaining why our paperless offices consume much more paper than ever before.



Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He is a columnist for Central Europe Review, United Press International (UPI) and eBookWeb and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory, Suite101 and searcheurope.com.

Visit Sam's Web site at http://samvak.tripod.com




Revolt of the Scholars

Written by Sam Vaknin


Continued from page 1

Having (freely) registered as a member, a scientist or a scholar can publish their papers, essays, research results, articles and comments online. They have to submit an abstract and use Sciendex's classification ("call") numbers and science descriptors, arranged in a massive directory available inrepparttar "RealSci Locator". The Locator can be also downloaded and used off-line and its is surprisingly user-friendly. The submission process itself is totally automated and very short.

The system includes a long series of thematic journals. These journals self-assemble, in accordance withrepparttar 108504 call numbers selected byrepparttar 108505 submitters. An article submitted with certain call numbers will automatically be included inrepparttar 108506 relevant journals.

The fly inrepparttar 108507 ointment isrepparttar 108508 absence of peer review. Asrepparttar 108509 system moves from beta to commercialization, Scindex intends to address this issue by introducing a system of incentives and inducements. Reviewers will be granted "credit points" to be applied againstrepparttar 108510 (paid) publication of their own papers, for instance.

Scindex isrepparttar 108511 model of things to come. Publishing becomes more and more automated and knowledge-orientated. Peer reviewed papers become more outlandishly expensive and irrelevant. Scientists and scholars are getting impatient and rebellious. The confluence of these three trends spells - atrepparttar 108512 least -repparttar 108513 creation of a web based universe of parallel and alternative scholarly publishing.

Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He is a columnist for Central Europe Review, United Press International (UPI) and eBookWeb and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory, Suite101 and searcheurope.com.

Visit Sam's Web site at http://samvak.tripod.com




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