Books vs Internet

Some days ago (19 feb 2016) died Umberto Eco, an Italian novelist, essayist, literary critic, philosopher and semiotician.
When talking about the “Internet”, Umberto said that there is still a possibility to lose all texts written in more than 10 years so far. An example would be the stored data lost on floppy disks. What do you think about this? Do you think that we really have the possibility to lose all the texts written in these years, in the future?


Before the internet, things disappeared. Movies, Shorts, Books, Newspapers, etc. Things existed, but now they don’t. They could actually disappear off the face of the planet forever. Even as recent as the 90’s.

That doesn’t happen any more. Nothing is lost. Almost everything is backed up, even literal billions of times if it’s popular, in multiple locations around the globe. Even things that are seemingly insignificant, if they are released to the public, there is a copy of it somewhere.


I agree with you, but imagine that a new technology will be released that will make all the previous hardware obsolute. What happened with floppy disks (correct me if I’m wrong).

I still have some mini and micro floppy drives with at least one of each still in a working computer - so if I ever need to access data from 3-1/2 or 5-1/4 floppies I can. I don’t have anything that can read original 8in floppies though.

Of course you also need to remember that maximum capacities for those devices was 5k, 1.2Mb and 2.88Mb (in order from largest floppy to smallest) so they couldn’t hold much anyway.

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Of course, but a lot of people stored in those devices a lot of things with time, and you know better than me that if you just stored texts files you can have saved a lot of informations… even with that little capacity.

A lot of old media degrades over time if not kept in perfect condition. Though we still have carved stone tablets and paintings in caves that are very old.
Digital media is helping preserve information for the futire, for as long as we still have the means to access it.
Did you see this article? It should out-see the next 10 years or a little more.

Wow. This reminds me this scene:

Right, but the point of the internet is that it gets passed all that and it is stored in so many different places, that it makes that irrelevant. Saving almost everything, everywhere.

Where as it’s impossible to tell how many cave paintings have been lost. We probably haven’t even seen <0.000001% of them.

We have the ability to store digital media for the long haul too.

(wiki hole)

Agreed, I was referring to things like cellulose film, cheap newsprint etc… when I say old media that does not keep.


I don’t think loosing the information is the case. As mentioned before there will always be a possibility to restore “lost” texts but it’s a matter of difficulty and will to do it. At some point some information would seem invaluable therefore because of lack of interest it would become lost.


I prefer Internet ,cause in books there are only limited info but on internet there is no limit of info about anything …
So For me internet is better than books !!

Sadly, there is also no limit of mis-information on the Internet. Books are generally proof-read, edited, reviewed and otherwise checked before publication, Anybody can post anything on the Internet without it being checked for accuracy.


So perhaps this is misinformation too? :smiley: .


Not every book is available on the internet. While the internet is a great source of information/mis-information, there are still things missing from it that can be found in books.
The internet is a bit like a virtual library, where websites are the books. It has a huge number of books, more than any real library, but it does not have every book ever published.

Why must it be one or the other? I use both!


A sensible approach?

Edit article excerpt


So do I - Reference books are particularly useful when working on the computer as there is no need to keep switching between what you are working on and the reference.


One of the biggest myths surrounding the Internet is that it’s “forever”. There’s already a ton of evidence that the life of web content is very fragile. People die, and their sites disappear as soon as their hosting account expires. Yahoo buys GeoCities, flicks a switch, and millions of sites disappear overnight. The list goes on. Even a project like the Internet Archive can’t keep up. And who’s to say that won’t disappear over night?


I may have seen it in some sort of Sci-Fi context, but it was something about how disruptive it would be if radiation from a solar flare made it through the Van Allen belt,

That would be the end of many “permanent” bits and bytes.


Even Google can’t keep up. At one point they’d indexed almost 20% of the web. Now the index is several time the size and barely covers 10%.

Most of what is on the internet ca’t be found unless you know exactly where to look.