The Files That Last
Kickstarter campaign ends in 36 hours, and it's currently just under $800 short of its $2000 goal.
The computer age is, ironically, the age of vanishing data. Files become useless because of system "upgrades." Disks go bad. Websites vanish. This happens not just to individuals but to huge organizations and businesses. There's a field of study dedicated to preventing this; it's called “digital preservation.”
BUT — digital preservation today is an obscure niche for people who work in libraries and archives. The books on it are expensive academic volumes. Promoting wide awareness of preservation issues needs a book that's aimed at everygeek. This is the book which I propose to create. It will be called Files that Last, and will be published DRM-free (naturally), as an e-book. A sample chapter is available for download.
I've pledged $25, and I hope he makes the goal. I plan to contact him about helping with editing and distribution if he doesn't make the goal. I'd love to see more awareness of digital preservation issues, especially as ebooks get more popular and people say "why don't they just convert [book x] to an ebook? It was published recently; they must have the files for it."
Having worked with several companies that work with digital file processing... no, there's no guarantee they have last year's files, much less files from 15 years ago. Especially for a book that went out of print, which means "out of contract." If they have the original files, they could easily be in a format no longer supported. I'd love to see more awareness of this, so this book sounds like a great project.
(Mods: if this is in the wrong forum, just let me know, or move it; I wasn't sure where to put "commercial project that I support but have no direct affiliation with.")