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The importance of digital preservation

The technological obsolescence of digital data is higher than in other fields. A book centuries old is essentially the same as one nowadays, and the physical support used by movies as well have not seen yet significant changes.

When it comes to digital data and video games in particular, though, it’s a whole another story. There is a intricate labyrinth of devices and formats, all of them incompatible one with another. This requires the creation of appropriate and versatile technological solutions in order to store any type of digital data and make it accessible even in a very distant future.

Universities and dedicated research and development centers as well should be involved in what is not only a duty owed to this cultural heritage, but also a new area potentially full of new opportunities.

But creating such technologies it’s not sufficient. In order to maintain a cultural heritage that dates back to the first computer experiments and is growing day by day, there is the need to create a cultural infrastructure around the subject, capable of making people aware about the challenges of digital preservation and activate a virtuous circle.

For this to happen, physical places such as museums and archives must be opened, where it can be celebrated not only the digital entities and works, but also the entire history of computing and its pioneers.

The final and ideal goal is a future where to get a digital work of any kind is as easy as recovering a play by Shakespeare or a Mozart symphony. Utopia, perhaps, but what is at stake is the salvation of a enormous human heritage otherwise destined to oblivion.