Survivalism & Self Sufficiency Topics > Communications

best practice or method for archiving large amounts of content (grid down)

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Alan Georges:
One solution:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klaatu_(The_Day_the_Earth_Stood_Still)#/media/File:Klaatu.JPG
Good capacity but they're not quite bulletproof.


--- Quote from: Smurf Hunter on April 01, 2019, 04:04:52 PM ---
Bill: Yeah, I may just need to shovel everything onto the latest medium every decade or less.  Maybe in 2030, assuming we aren't living out Lord of Flies, 10TB nano-storage cards will be cracker-jack prizes.

--- End quote ---
I think this is the way to go.  Several copies on several different types of devices, and pick out a rainy afternoon once a decade or so to move over to the latest and greatest format.  As you point out, at the rate storage device sizes and associated bandwidth are increasing, it's trivial to load things that were considered big ten years before.

Carver:
I update with every new media. Some old formats cannot be read by newer OS's and programs.
Any magnetic-based media is subject to deteriation.
Vinyl albums will last forever, not tapes.

Mr. Bill:
Consider file formats also, and whether they will be readable by the software of the future.

Just for fun, I dug up our oldest household inventory file, created in dBase II around 1984 or so, on an Apple II running CP/M.  We did (long ago) get the files off of the Apple II onto some antique PC, and have preserved them ever since, just because.

The most recent version of Microsoft Excel that will read a dBase II file is Excel 2003.  I've been looking for other software that might read it, and I think there might be some tools available (and I might even have an ancient Excel on an ancient PC in a closet somewhere).  But this is unsuitable for a post-SHTF scenario.

This isn't data I need, but it was an interesting exercise (and time-waster).

Smurf Hunter:

--- Quote from: Mr. Bill on April 02, 2019, 10:07:35 PM ---Consider file formats also, and whether they will be readable by the software of the future.

Just for fun, I dug up our oldest household inventory file, created in dBase II around 1984 or so, on an Apple II running CP/M.  We did (long ago) get the files off of the Apple II onto some antique PC, and have preserved them ever since, just because.

The most recent version of Microsoft Excel that will read a dBase II file is Excel 2003.  I've been looking for other software that might read it, and I think there might be some tools available (and I might even have an ancient Excel on an ancient PC in a closet somewhere).  But this is unsuitable for a post-SHTF scenario.

This isn't data I need, but it was an interesting exercise (and time-waster).

--- End quote ---

If I physically have the bits of an obsolete format on a modern machine, I potentially can doing some scripting and parse out what I need.  This is assuming no proprietary compression or encoding of course.

One of my first professional programming jobs was working as a contractor for the WA state appellate court.  They had an IBM big iron database (DB2?) that was older than me.  So old that it used the EBCIDEC character set, and not ASCII or UNICODE that is common today.  The problem was per project requirements, the database could not be modified, however we needed a "modern" desktop app to read/write from that database.  So I spent a month writing java code (this was 2001?) that allowed the java database driver to translate to UTF-8 so we could actually read the resulting data. In hindsight it was an ugly kludge that mapped character to character, but I guess it worked enough.

I wasn't thinking about archiving things like databases, but that's doable.  Most everything from mysql, mongo, etc. has a way to dump or export.  Ideally you can do this in some document format like JSON.  That allows import into a different platform/schema potentially.  An old school mysql dump really only injects back into mysql unless you do a lot of manual edits.

David in MN:

--- Quote from: Smurf Hunter on April 01, 2019, 04:04:52 PM ---Some good points.

David: for full on text books, I agree that just keeping a hard copy is great.  But that is a different use case than the operating manuals for a dozen tools or appliances.
There is admittedly a lot of random (crap?) like tear down instructions for firearms I don't own, but are commonly found today. For teaching, or preserving knowledge, I'm not at all suggesting we substitute long form academic tomes with "<some subject> for Dummies". However imagine you found yourself in some acute survival scenario - you want details, but relevant, pertinent details that can help immediately. You bring up excellent points, which I hope better people than us are addressing. Maybe there's some secret role within the Library of Congress doing this?

--- End quote ---

Hmmm... You make me think. I tend not to keep manuals and such things as I have a very strong photographic memory, particularly with mechanical things which I attribute to years of Lego. I also get really suspect of owner's manuals of products that don't provide any value for troubleshooting and (if I'm blunt) were written by lawyers to avoid lawsuits. So even my documents on, say, the 1911 are long form books with very critical detail written by gunsmiths.

But we did used to have this system called microfiche that *might* have some value here. I could jury rig a reader pretty easy and you could carry quite a bit. I'll confess I keep the old Boy Scout Handbook and a copy of the SAS Survival guide in the car as emergency reference. Just a few pages from those on a small microfiche would e pretty powerful.

Here's another kooky idea (while I'm in blue sky mode)... How about an audio recording? If you could audio record your data even a crappy 1980s walkman would do the trick with some rechargeable batteries.

Also utilize photographs. I get a bevvy of food and wine magazines and when I run to the grocer or cheese shop I take pics of the recipe on my phone and go from there.

I think back to the film The Book of Eli where Denzel has a Bible on Ipod. Lots of ways to store information.

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