magarity asks: "NPR's Morning Edition today aired a segment on the Medici Archive Project where every letter sent and received by the ruling Medici family of renaissance-era Italy is being stored. The interviewer, Bob Edwards, casually joked that it was a good thing the Medicis didn't use email or else all this history would have been lost. It is easy to predict that at a similar distance in the future little will be known about our time period. After all, it is already problematic retrieve 25 year old data from 8 inch floppies, simply because the reading mechanisms are hard to find even if the media has retained the data. The same thing will happen to CDs in 50 years. How should the dawn of the digital age be recording itself for history, especially casual correspondence that gives insight into day to day life?"
"The Medici Project concerns itself with the rulers and given the recent report of US Congress members not making use of email one assumes they are still using good old long term archivable paper. Will the President and Congress in 2030 or even 2020 feel the same way? The main problem being digital records are so much more easily tampered with compared to old paper. It's not as easy to do carbon dating or other such tests with a bunch of bits. Remember: the victors always have and always will rewrite history as much as possible."