Digital Biblical Scholarship: Dust to Dust?
Patrick Durusau has a clear brief presentation of the problem of archiving digital scholarship, and a proposal for action in the latest SBL Forum
. Basically the issue is that paradoxically while the digital formats that we work in (including Wordprocessor files) make keeping multiple copies easy, and make storage needs minimal compared to paper (the medium of scholarship until the late twentieth century), the rapid changes in format mean that archives are not kept. The example Patrick uses is to compare the continued availability of the Freer Manuscript of the Gospels: "Dating from either the late fourth or early fifth century, the manuscript is for the most part more legible than the average handwritten document of today.
" with Gérard Weil's 1977 Hebrew text, which may have already disappeared as a digital artifact.
Do read Patrick's article, the future of the History of Biblical Studies depends on our preserving the present!