digital over-lasting

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No debate do papel vs digital, que, insistimos, não deve ser feito nos moldes do "vs" mas do "e" — se vos instigamos a abraçar o digital, não o é em detrimento do papel mas como complemento —, uma entrada a arquivar para memória futura, e a ironia do que acabámos de escrever não nos passa despercebida. A ideia base:

Here is my appeal: save all web comics!
in "In Search of Lost Webcomics" 7 mar 2017

E a proposta passa por criar um —

— systematic and redundant system to be put in place by which we might archive entire sites.
in "In Search of Lost Webcomics" 7 mar 2017

— justamente porque em digital há o risco muito real de contra a promessa do meio nada ficar para a posteridade, ao contrário do papel. Não vos deverá ser uma completa novidade: independentemente da tua idade à velocidade que a tech evolui já és certamente velhote o suficiente para teres por algumas vezes chocado heads-on com a incompatibilidade entre formatos que te privaram do acesso a qualquer coisa que antes davas por adquirido.

Até o CD, talvez o suporte digital mais banal, acessível, massificado, e longe de se extinguir nos próximos tempos apesar de toda a núvem que paira no mundo, é perecível e motivo de preocupação entre arquivistas, ie, "Your old CD-ROMs are probably rotting" 11 mar 2017.

O que nos trás aos cómicos, particularmente aos que usam o digital com desconhecimento de causa no que respeita à propriedade das suas peças. Ao apelo feito, acrescentamos novamente o de sempre: além de o fazeres em digital, é importante que não o faças em silos fechados que podem desaparecer do dia para a noite, e sobre os quais não tens qualquer autoridade. Já estivemos aqui antes.

Acrescentando então:

Download, backup, and print your webcomics. Future (and present-day) generations will thank you for it.

Let me redirect my appeal as a stop-gap measure to the cartoonists themselves.

There are lots of reasons why cartoonists stop publishing to the web—such as: What begins as an inspiring joy devolves into a source of stress, guilt or frustration—none of which are conducive to art-making. And once folks decide it is time to walk away from a webcomics it becomes very hard to keep up with the website or the annual payments for webhosting and domain registration

100, 500, 1,000 years into the future, the technology of print on paper will still “work.” Within a decade of its publication in 1994, the HyperCard version of Art Spiegelman’s Maus was no longer readable on any machine in existence at my very large university.

There are many reasons to believe that digital comics will be the future of the medium. But the recent history of post-paper storage technologies has given us no reason to believe that the web will leave us with any historical record by which that future might be charted.
in "In Search of Lost Webcomics" 7 mar 2017


Tech, predictions, aflictions: tha movie

It is always worth thinking about the history of earlier storage media when making predictions about the future.

Film is as good an example as one could hope to find: a vastly popular medium with international reach and lots of industrial and institutional support. At only 120 years from its origins, one might imagine that the history of cinema is fully at our disposal. Sadly, this is not the case. Today, only about 20-25% of all silent films produced in the United States between the origins of cinema and the end of the silent era in 1927 still exist. In some part of the world, that proportion is considerably lower; for example, in Japan over 90% of all film made before 1945 is believed lost forever.

By comparison, if we turn to the history of the print—a technology that is fast approaching its 600th birthday—we are hard-pressed to find examples of “lost” books. Yes, we have lost many manuscripts—papers, letters, unpublished novels—which would have been invaluable to history. But the overwhelming majority of printed books published remain in existence on the face of the earth today.

The story of print is of course a less happy one when we include what are often classified under the broad brush of ephemera—newspapers, magazines, handbills, broadsides, greeting cards, etc. After all, these were the what people used as kindling or to wrap fish, or simply read and shared so often that they were literally loved to death.
in "In Search of Lost Webcomics" 7 mar 2017


A cautionary tale

Most of us know the story of Bill Blackbeard who earned his title as “man who saved comics.” What earned him that legendary title was that he saw the weaknesses inherent in a technology that others saw as savior.

Microfilm was marketed to libraries across the country battling post-war space challenges as a way to clear the shelves of all those bulky bound periodicals and newspapers in favor of a storage medium that took up a microscopic fraction of the space. Sure enough, libraries started dumping bound volumes of historic newspapers, and with them the legacy of the color newspaper comics supplement was bound for the dumpster. (...) Micofilm—which had failed visual texts (especially color ones, like the Sunday comics) from the start—is now all-but obsolete, replaced by digital versions of the same.

Blackbeard’s mission was a simple one: to rescue as many abandoned volumes as he could and give them shelter in his home, where he he would devote himself tirelessly to cataloguing and studying them. Today, Blackbeard’s collection is one of the pillars of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, where it will survive for many generations to come.
in "In Search of Lost Webcomics" 7 mar 2017


Conclusion (on so many levels)

As is often the case when it comes to the “promise” of technology, we have learned precisely nothing from the failures of the previous generation’s promises.
in "In Search of Lost Webcomics" 7 mar 2017

Bem, alguns de nós têm olhado para o passado com tanta frequência que já conseguimos a adivinhar o futuro.

"all these observations are mere ephemera"