Acid-Free Bits: Recommendations for Long-Lasting Electronic Literature
Electronic literature doesn't come on bound, offset-printed pages. Keeping it on a shelf doesn't mean that it will be easy, or even possible, to read it in the future. Even putting it into a vault with controlled temperature, light, and humidity won't ensure its availability. The new possibilities of electronic literature come from its being as much software as document, as much machine as text. For electronic literature to be readable, its mechanisms must continue to operate or must be replaced, since changes in the context of computing will complicate access to important works of literature on the computer. The context of computing includes operating systems, applications, the network environment, and interface hardware — and this context is constantly evolving. A piece of electronic literature written for a Macintosh in the 1980s may be unreadable on the Macs in a college computer lab today. But e-lit can become unreadable much more quickly, as an upgrade to the next version of the authoring or reading software introduces unexpected problems. Some approaches to creating e-lit are more likely than others to result in work that is preservable. Acid-Free Bits provides information to help authors find ways to create long-lasting e-lit, ways that fit their practice and goals.
(Source: Acid Free Bits)
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