IBM patented the idea of “aging” digital data last year:
A method, programmed medium and system are provided for a file system that provides for the aging of information and files stored thereon. Digital data stored on the aging file systems ages appropriately as would normal paper or photographs without the need for an external application. The aging file system uses a number of parameters depending on what type of digital data are stored. For example, parameters like ambient temperature, rate of aging, simulated type of paper or photo paper are selected and may be input to a filing system at configuration time. The aging file system also creates and stores digital authentication certificates to provide a unique certificate number based on the aged digital information.
Adorable! Like dipping your printed out 6th grade historical fiction writing assignment in tea so it looks like they had word processors in the 1700s!
Currently it is common practice to scan or digitize documents, books, images and other materials in order to store such materials on a computer system for record retention purposes and for subsequent access and/or print-out. As documents get digitized, they will be scanned and kept as image files that replicate the age of the book when scanned. However, in this instance, the book continues to age, but the digital image does not. The same situation applies to photographs.
…it is well established that aged originals, whether documents or images, are known to add value beyond the intrinsic value of the document itself.
Moreover, in other applications, for record retention purposes, it is necessary for institutions to save files for a certain period of time, but after the designated time period has elapsed, there is no more need to maintain the files. Typically, in such situations, the files are accessed one-by-one and deleted from a file system since they are unnecessarily taking up valuable storage space.
Thus, there is a need for a new kind of filing system that automatically and selectively ages files contained therein such that the files themselves are caused to age with time and are not maintained in their originally stored state. Moreover, there is a need to provide such an aging function to apply automatically to all files stored on the filing system without requiring a continuing user monitoring effort.
From the press release for the group show Library Science at Artspace:
Artspace is pleased to present Library Science, an exhibition curated by Rachel Gugelberger, Senior Curator at Exit Art, New York. Bringing together a selection of work by 17 international artists, Library Science contemplates our personal, intellectual and physical relationship to the library as this venerable institution—and the information it contains—is being radically transformed by the digital era.
Through drawing, photography, sculpture, installation, painting and web-based projects, the artists in Library Science explore the library through its unique forms, attributes and systems: from public stacks to private collections, from unique architectural spaces to the people who populate them, from traditional card catalogues to that ever-growing “cyber-library,” the World Wide Web.
Library Science takes its title from two sources: the interdisciplinary field of library and information science, and Eleanor Antin’s 1971 conceptual work of the same name, which used library classification methods to represent and archive the identities of living women.
I don’t know how to answer that. I was never a LiveJournal person or anything. In 2003 and 2004 I was doing some online art projects. In those days, you made your website or had to know someone who made one, because there wasn’t Tumblr or Wordpress. So we did a few music art projects, my friends and I. I used to do these email exhibitions—I have a career as a photo archivist; I’m part-time now—in like 2003, 2004, 2005, and it was just things I would find either in our archives or online and I would put them in an email and send it out to a list. I think it was maybe 500 people by the end. Some of them were whimsical and some of them were sad, and some funny and some whatever. People were like, “Well, you should really do a blog.” But the point of it was not a blog; the point of it was to create a temporary space on the Internet.
Twitter is super-temporal; the search is notoriously terrible. It barely goes back a week. What do you think of that, as an archivist?
I’m more of a content person than a systems person, but I have to assume somebody is just working on that. I know that they are in terms of the White House, and maybe some of that will trickle down. We still don’t know the lifespan of a digital file. We like to think that our photos will last longer as digital items then as paper items, but we don’t really know.
I think I naturally have pretty good etiquette when it comes to these kinds of things, but sometimes I see people and I’m like, “That person’s using the Internet wrong.” I never talk about artists on Twitter. I don’t know why that is. I made a joke about Justice the other day and I was like, “Maybe I shouldn’t have done that.” But I figured it wasn’t mean-spirited, so that’s OK.
The Ernest Greene thing, now this: people are going to start thinking it’s cool to go to information school. Ack!