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View topic - What was once old is new again / Long term preservation

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What was once old is new again / Long term preservation
Post Posted: Fri Feb 15, 2019 11:38 am
Interesting news that relates to preservation:

http://hiddenpalace.org/News/What_Was_Once_Old_Is_New_Again

TL;DR; There has been a released prototype of Sonic 2 (Megadrive) in plain sight that even hardcore Sonic fans hadn't noticed.

Never underestimate the ability of the internet to lose things.

My stance is that we should make our work trackable and easily duplicable.
This is the reason I release my e.g. dumping logs, but of course this is only a small fraction of the knowledge that should be tracked and opened.

This is why I personally discourage the use of chatting systems (or, to be honest, even Twitter which has mediocre tracability and searchability). Anything you said in those boxes tends to disappear. Many close knits preservation community are sharing information, pictures and files in private chat boxes, this seems incredingly silly to me that this not tracked properly.

This is why we encourage using attachment, because we are committed to keeping them available. We have fullfilled this commitment very well so far (20+ years and counting), but this is bound to Maxim & I working on the site and this makes our work too fragile.

Ours and many preservation communities, they are too fragile. Who has backups of forums? What if someone dies? Who owns the key to the host and domain name? The knowledge and ability to keep it up? Many great websites are only awkwardly backuped by third party services and tools, sitting on someone's hard-drive. Having them correctly backuped and republished by many should be a priority.

Projects like no-intro are essential, but 1) they only capture one part of what needs to be captured. 2) who backups no-intro?

I think we should aim at making even the website open-source and find a way to encourage people mirroring the data. Not an easy task for various technical reasons, but this could be our ten-years plan.

My feeling lately has been that anything that is not openly available (downloadable files / open-source code) AND easy to mirror and duplicate is bound to be lost. Closed source software we rely on are dead ends. It would be nice to have a more thorough approach to preservation and tackle those issues.

I've personally still got lots of data. Countless versions of the old emulators. Ten of thousands of useful unpublished or unscanned documents/pictures. Dozens of unreleased dumps that are trickly to label, identify or validate. We need better infrastructure to publish them. I would very like a gallery system were we can upload 10k+ pictures and get them tagged, and facilitate mirroring. We can't rely on closed-source closed-hosting services from any of the big internet giant. Maybe another missing tool for wide-reaching preservation should be a torrent-like protocols/tooling where indexes (with filename/hash) can be easily be shared, tagged/commented (with multiple sources) and a way to connect people. We need systems that are fault tolerant, that will survive takedowns, deaths or accidents. If we don't go toward that we're not doing a good job at preservation.

My physical collection itself is precarious. I've accumulated (and still am) countless prototypes and rare stuff, I am bound toward owning every obscure sega 8-bit game from every country (not done but approaching). This year I intend to build a dedicated storage in my backyard to be able to work on them, but the collection being tied to me makes it precarious. If a bus runs over me tomorrow, even with instructions, it would be an incredible headache for my wife and probably no one can take over it (The Strong Museum?). This is stuff I need to sort out on my side, and part of the solution is probably to have more info in the open. (Also book scanners are becoming more ubiquitous nowadays that's a good news =)

We always need help. We need patient, meticulous, well adjusted, precise people. Been discussing with Balkry a few months ago about helping us with the site, as it would be nice to have a third person or more helping with the technical foundations. (My bad for not following up properly but I will!)
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Post Posted: Fri Feb 15, 2019 2:09 pm
Stack Overflow releases its data (carefully sanitised) under a reasonable licence and uploads it to archive.org, it is reasonable for us to do something similar but it would be some work to make it safe and automated. I personally never quite manage to get my backups into a reasonable state, and our use of source control for the site is very poor.

I have hundreds of scans waiting to go online, and I'd love a way to keep the data safe and to organise things. I never did find a nice self hosting image manager.

I did have some thoughts on the past about making a bit torrent mechanism for sharing data, but as far as I know nobody ever made a way to amend the file list on an existing swarm, plus self hosting bit torrent is generally difficult due to piracy.

Doing all this for physical artifacts is orders of magnitude more difficult...
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Post Posted: Fri Feb 15, 2019 6:04 pm
It's the kind of questions I've had last year.
I stopped with all the social networks and tried to get back on forums and revitalize them but it's a tough one. The questions about who owns what and what happens if anything happens to a key member has particularly taken my attention.
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Post Posted: Fri Feb 15, 2019 7:25 pm
On a side note, it would be good to preserve any other scene/BBS stuff from anywhere. Some years ago we got a stash of "trained" ROMs which we have put at http://www.smspower.org/Hacks/Trainers (mixed with some modern stuff), and the Image/Helsinki/Finland releases in the late 90s, but I'm sure there was plenty more lost to history.
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Post Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 4:01 pm
Bock wrote

We always need help. We need patient, meticulous, well adjusted, precise people. Been discussing with Balkry a few months ago about helping us with the site, as it would be nice to have a third person or more helping with the technical foundations. (My bad for not following up properly but I will!)


My apologies for not relaunching more. But I am always ready to help. I'm really going to have to start in 2019.

These backup issues are really complex because data loss is a big issue for everyone. Computer science is recent, and nobody has thought about long-term backup (format, support, reading methods in 20 years ...). I had read an article in Sciences & Vie a few years ago (the equivalent of NATURE in France) and it was said that even NASA had trouble finding or reading data from the 60's.

In any case, to get an idea of ​​the solutions to bring, we would have to look at the type of data, the volumes, the criticality ... I am also lucky to have in my work colleagues working on Backups solutions, but like everywhere else, not on the long, long term. But, it's always interesting to see with them what they might suggest.

We will not find a lasting solution in 5 minutes, but we must think about it.

The most serious thing today is that our community is small and knowledge is based on very little.

Even I, who has been playing Master System for 30 years, sometimes do not touch it for months, I have no attraction for the SG-1000 or Game Gear ...

In addition, the fashion of the retro-gaming did not bring us fresh blood.

It's good to warn about this subject, because at least we will be able to take the lead

And especially I hope you will pay attention crossing the street.
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Post Posted: Tue Feb 19, 2019 10:35 am
Bock wrote
We always need help. We need patient, meticulous, well adjusted, precise people. Been discussing with Balkry a few months ago about helping us with the site, as it would be nice to have a third person or more helping with the technical foundations. (My bad for not following up properly but I will!)


I can provide some help if you need it. Meticulous pretty much describes me. I've been in software engineering for 20 years, so should be able to provide something haha. Node.js and javascript might be useful for any server-side operations needed.
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Post Posted: Thu Feb 28, 2019 11:13 am
It's a very valid concern and it's amazing you've held this website and community together for so long.

It is difficult though to find long term, low maintenance backup solutions.
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