Avoiding Extinction in a Digital Dark Age

August 11, 2010 · Posted in Conference, Event 

avoiding extinctionI’m excited that my panel submission has been accepted to the voting stage of the SXSW Interactive festival, happening March 11 – 15, 2011 in Austin, Texas. More than 2,400 proposals have been submitted for consideration. Please vote for my session from August 9 to 27 to help it through to the next round of consideration. And, if you feel so inclined, please leave a comment on my session’s Panel Picker page, as this may encourage others unfamiliar with me or my work to vote for my proposal.

Avoiding Extinction in a Digital Dark Age evolved through speaking sessions that I’ve been doing over that the last year. It is particularly relevant to content creators and people who put so much of their work online. (Here’s Wikipedia about the possibility of a digital dark age.)

Avoiding Extinction in a Digital Dark Age

Here’s the session description:

Many think that the web is forever and our personal stories, work and files will live on stored on hard drives and online. Driven by low cost storage, easy distribution and social networks we’ve put our lives online at an amazing pace and converted analog to digital. But, are we inadvertently creating a digital dark age?

In the last 15-years, online photo and video sites, blogs, email and hard drives full of files have replaced the previous generation’s analog heirlooms.

Looking at an old family album from 1910, you’ll be able to view the photos today. Will your descendants be able to see your digital pictures 100 years from now?

The web is actually a fragile place where your digital life’s work and can disappear without warning. Stored data can suffer from digital obsolescence and become unusable.

To prevent the loss of historically significant records and collections, library and archival organizations have been working on digital preservation issues for years.

You may not be a person destined for the history books, but, to your family, friends, colleagues and descendants, your stories and work are just as important, and possibly even more relevant.

This session will look at what each of us can do today to preserve and pass on our digital legacy, how to determine what to save, what steps have happened at the institutional level and determine how they can be adapted for individuals.

If you are a prolific digital creator, this is a must attend session.

Five Questions Answered

  1. Why won’t my digital content be safe forever on the Internet?
  2. Isn’t the Internet Archive keeping everything?
  3. Why is the archive of files on my hard drive/CD/DVDs at risk?
  4. My data is insignificant. Why would anyone care about it in the future?
  5. How do I ensure that my important digital files survive me?

SXSW Voting

panel_pie_2011_0Here’s how the voting works:

  • 30% Community Voting (that’s YOU); 30% SXSW Staff Picks; 40% SXSW Advisory Board Picks
  • Voting runs from August 9 to 27, 2010
  • First 200 sessions are announced September 20, with more following on November 8

To vote:

  • Before Friday, August 27, 2010 go to PanelPicker.sxsw.com a
  • click “Sign In” at the top right of the page
  • If you have never registered on SXSW.com before, click “create a new account” and fill out the simple form
  • Once you are logged into the PanelPicker, you can click here to get to my session, or navigate alphabetically to Avoiding Extinction in a Digital Age to vote.

Thank you for your support. See you at SXSW Interactive 2011!


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