When people used to work with pen and paper, their knowledge used to become a part of the physical world. Once they were deceased, human could still partially access to their thoughts by accessing the papers they scribbled on. Many unpublished articles, personal letters, even drawing and scribbles became part of our history in this way.
What is the condition now for digital age? All the writings we are making in the digital form, how will they survive? What will happen if a great scholar dies and no one knows the password of that scholar’s laptop? Or, what if the medium gets deprecated (imagine the state of floppy disk or Compact Disk) over time and no one knows how to read it? What if the web account gets deleted due to lack of payment? Will it be possible to recover “ancient” scriptures of 2000s when people will live in the 3000s? Will be considered as a dark period of time?
Not to worry too much. [edit: there is something to worry. The non-existence of the pictures below are the proof] One solution already exists: archive.org. It is a wonderful system that periodically archives the whole internet. Every tidbits are stored in a massive open storage system. People can check the history of virtual world in here. I just checked the history of my public portfolios. My first personal webpage was http://www.geocities.com/chayanitbd. I totally forgot when did I actually create this webpage. archive.org reminded me — December 17th, 2001. Almost 14 years ago. Here are the proofs:
[Edit: Awesome!! The pictures are gone!!! What can be anything better to demonstrate the concerns expressed in the title?]
Link to the archive.org entries of my webpages: