The Internet Archive is a really cool org. They recently announced they have archived ten petabytes of cultural material. 1 Petabyte = 1,048,576 GB. Think about that for a moment. Humanity is creating and exchanging data at an alarming rate. In just a few more years this number will unquestionably be dwarfed.
This data will be of value in the future to analyze how the Internet impacted society today. We’ve yet to develop the tools to really parse data that big for things that aren’t quantitative.
Wikipedia is gearing up for a bigger multimedia push. It’s text based data is rather solid as the world knows, but media wise it’s most photos and even in that respect isn’t as well covered as it could be.
An even bigger concern is what format should this all be stored in so that this data is still relevant and useful in 10 years or more. I don’t see a problem with reading JPEG, MPEG2, MPEG4, MP3, in the next 10 years though I do wonder if some of the lesser known formats might disappear from computing. While I like Ogg Vorbis, it hasn’t really proven itself in my mind that it can penetrate and achieve enough market share for people to care about it in several years. VP6 (used in Flash prior to H.264) will likely be available assuming On2 Technologies is still around or the patent expired (no idea when that is).
One thing that strikes me is that it would really be ideal for it to partner with Internet Archive. They have already started the efforts to document and digitalize lots of media. While Internet Archive’s main goal is to archive, while Wikipedia is to “freely share in the sum of all knowledge”, it seems that there is still significant common ground.
That said, as the Internet itself becomes the record for many things in Wikipedia, the Internet Archive’s WayBackMachine may also become a relevant common ground.
Ever wanted to know how Spam (not the email, the “lunch meat”) is made? “This Is Hormel“, a publicity film from the 1960’s will let you see inside the factory in a way once parodied by Troy McClure. My favorite part may be when they refer to it as “the raw material”. Yea, that’s appetizing.
It also features other Hormel products. Pretty interesting if your really into meat, like say a Butcher. if your not, you likely don’t want to watch the video.
This film is part of the Prelinger collection. Other classics to enjoy are the Gold Medal Flower Commercial (which still exists, apparently owned by General Mills) and “Care of the Skin” (1949).