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Re: [xml-dev] "Open XML" et al... Blech... Re: [xml-dev] Micros oft buys the Swedish vote on OOXML?

Rick Marshall wrote:
> documentation that may or may not prove culpability is in ODF or OOXML
> (or worse old word formats). People may die, go to gaol, etc and it is
> critical that prosecution and defense can confidently state that a
> document supports or doesn't support a case.
> The archivists and historians will have similar problems.

One of the leading financial institutions in New York adopted XML about 7 years
ago because they need to archive stock and trading information for as long as
20 years. They'd had problems with obsolete media and file formats,
such as WordPerfect 5.1.

There are times we need to leverage what we learned in the past and retrieve
information from decades ago. NASA has been drawing on Apollo program technology
for building the new Ares 1 moon rocket.  (Some of the young engineers on the
Constellation program weren't even alive in 1969!) NASA has been visiting
museums and borrowing artifacts such as the Apollo operations manual.

Apollo was pre-SGML. Automated word processing in that era was the Friden
Flexowriter, which produced a paper tape, and IBM's new MTST (Magnetic Tape
Selectric Typewriter).  While working on the Goddard Real-Time System (GRTS), I
saw neither. We kept computer printouts of source code and link edits, but our
office documents were all produced with an IBM Selectric and distributed as
Xerox copies.  Searching for documents that reference GRTS, I found a couple of
PDFs in the NASA archives that are scans of '60s documents. The printed
documents from that era are still readable today, but I'm not sure about being
able to retrieve a document from a Flexowriter tape or IBM MTST tape.

So even with standard office file formats, there's still the problem that
electronic documents may not be retrievable in the future due to changing
digital media technology.



"As part of the effort to draw on NASA's past, space executives visited the
state-owned U.S. Space and Rocket Center museum in Huntsville to borrow an
Apollo operations manual from 1969, and an engineer working on a new lunar
lander went to see an unused lunar descent stage on display at the museum. '

======== Ken North ===========


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