What will we leave behind?

By Artemis. This article was originally published in Computers in Classrooms on 27th March 2006

Within 5 miles of where I sit now I can find the following:

The remains of a Saxon fort

The path of a Roman road

A hospital chapel dating back to the 12 century

An Ancient woodland

A 15th century house


On the shelves in the next room are:

Books which are 50 years old

Vinyl LPs

VHS tapes

Cassette tapes

Remember these? Photo by Loc Nguyen https://www.flickr.com/photos/madmonkeylove/

All these items provide us with a sense of history, of how we came to be as we are, where we are. However, these last three items present a problem and will become increasingly problematic in the future. They rely on technology in order to access the information they contain. Today that technology is regarded as old fashioned and has been superseded by other formats.

Today there seems to be a general trend and agreement that using technology is the best and most efficient way to record information, whether it be family photos or your latest PhD thesis. I wouldn't disagree, However, I would like to tell you what happened to me. I was looking round our loft and came across some floppy discs which were in Acorn format. I wanted to read what was on the discs but could not.

In five hundred years' time what will be left for our descendants to look at? What will give them the same sense of history and belonging as we have today?