The Affair of the Vanishing Content

Written by Sam Vaknin "Digitized information, especially onrepparttar Internet, has such rapid turnover these days that total loss isrepparttar 108505 norm. Civilization is developing severe amnesia as a result; indeed it may have become too amnesiac already to noticerepparttar 108506 problem properly."

(Stewart Brand, President, The Long Now Foundation )

Thousands of articles and essays posted by hundreds of authors were lost forever when surprisingly shut its virtual gates. A sizable portion ofrepparttar 108507 1960 census, recorded on UNIVAC II-A tapes, is now inaccessible. Web hosts crash daily, erasing inrepparttar 108508 process valuable content. Access to web sites is often suspended - or blocked altogether - because of a real (or imagined) violation byrepparttar 108509 webmaster ofrepparttar 108510 host's Terms of Service (TOS). Millions of other web sites -repparttar 108511 results of collective, multi-annual, transcontinental efforts - contain unique stores of information inrepparttar 108512 form of databases, articles, discussion threads, and links to other web sites. Consider "Central Europe Review". Its archives comprise more than 2500 articles and essays about every conceivable aspect of Central and Eastern Europe andrepparttar 108513 Balkan. It is one of countless such collections.

Similar and much larger treasures have perished sincerepparttar 108514 dawn ofrepparttar 108515 digital age inrepparttar 108516 1920's. Very few early radio and TV programs have survived, for instance. The current "digital dark age" can be compared only torepparttar 108517 one which followedrepparttar 108518 torching ofrepparttar 108519 Library of Alexandria. The more accessible and abundantrepparttar 108520 information available to us -repparttar 108521 more devalued and common it becomes andrepparttar 108522 less institutional and cultural memory we seem to possess. Inrepparttar 108523 battle between paper and screen,repparttar 108524 former has won formidably. Newspaper archives, dating back torepparttar 108525 1700's are now being digitized - testifying torepparttar 108526 endurance, resilience, and longevity of paper.

Enterrepparttar 108527 "Internet Libraries", or Digital Archival Repositories (DAR). These are libraries that provide free access to digital materials replicated across multiple servers ("safety in redundancy"). They contain Web pages, television programming, films, e-books, archives of discussion lists, etc. Such materials can help linguists tracerepparttar 108528 development of language, journalists conduct research, scholars compare notes, students learn, and teachers teach. The Internet's evolution mirrors closelyrepparttar 108529 social and cultural history of North America atrepparttar 108530 end ofrepparttar 108531 20th century. If not preserved, our understanding of who we are and where we are going will be severely hampered. The clues to our future lie ensconced in our past. It isrepparttar 108532 only guarantee against repeatingrepparttar 108533 mistakes of our predecessors. Long gone Web pages cached byrepparttar 108534 likes of Google and Alexa constituterepparttar 108535 first tier of such archival undertaking.

The Stanford Archival Vault (SAV) in Stanford University assigns a numerical handle to every digital "object" (record) in a repository. The handle isrepparttar 108536 clever numerical result of a mathematical formula whose input isrepparttar 108537 number of information bits inrepparttar 108538 original object being deposited. This allows to track and uniquely identify records across multiple repositories. It also prevents tampering. SAV also offers application layers. These allow programmers to develop digital archive software and permit users to changerepparttar 108539 "view" (the interface) of an archive and thus to mine data. Its "reliability layer" verifiesrepparttar 108540 completeness and accuracy of digital repositories.

Revolt of the Scholars

Written by Sam Vaknin

Scindex's Instant Publishing Service is about empowerment. The price of scholarly, peer-reviewed journals has skyrocketed inrepparttar last few years, often way out ofrepparttar 108504 limited means of libraries, universities, individual scientists and scholars. A "scholarly divide" has opened betweenrepparttar 108505 haves (academic institutions with rich endowments and well-heeled corporations) andrepparttar 108506 haves not (allrepparttar 108507 others). Paradoxically, access to authoritative and authenticated knowledge has declined asrepparttar 108508 number of professional journals has proliferated. This is not to mentionrepparttar 108509 long (and often crucial) delays in publishing research results andrepparttar 108510 shoddy work of many under-paid and over-worked peer reviewers.

The Internet was suppose to change all that. Originally, a computer network forrepparttar 108511 exchange of (restricted and open) research results among scientists and academics in participating institutions - it was supposed to provide instant publishing, instant access and instant gratification. It has delivered only partially. Preprints of academic papers are often placed online by their eager authors and subjected to peer scrutiny. But this haphazard publishing cottage industry did nothing to dethronerepparttar 108512 print incumbents and their avaricious pricing.

The major missing element is, of course, respectability. But there are others. No agreed upon content or knowledge classification method has emerged. Some web sites (such as Suite101) userepparttar 108513 Dewey decimal system. Others invented and implemented systems of their making. Additionally, one click publishing technology (such as Webseed's or Blogger's) came to be identified strictly to non-scholarly material: personal reminiscences, correspondence, articles and news.

Enter Scindex and its Academic Resource Channel. Established by academics and software experts from Bulgaria, it epitomizesrepparttar 108514 tearing down of geographical barriers heralded byrepparttar 108515 Internet. But it does much more than that. Scindex is a whole, self-contained, stand-alone, instant self-publishing and self-assembly system. Self-publishing systems do exist (for instance, Purdue University's) - but they incorporate only certain components. Scindex coversrepparttar 108516 whole range.

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