Roger Pearse has a good post up on the historical preservation of digital content here. A snippet:
As I thought about all of this, I started to wonder about the results of my labours. What will become of the translations that I made, or commissioned, which are all of value? In every case there is or was no other English translation. Can anybody find them?
In the past I relied on the decentralised nature of the web. I was and am very happy for anybody to mirror my content, or to upload it anywhere. The more the merrier, I thought, and thereby preservation is ensured.
But can anybody find any of this stuff any more? I wonder, sometimes. And what happens to my sites, my content, when, in the passage of time, something happens to me?
In the past I never worried about this, because I knew that Archive.org existed, and I felt that it would all get preserved somehow. But is this true any more? Are there measures that we should take, those of us working in specialised areas, to preserve our content? If so, where?
I know myself that I have to work quite hard to preserve even the recent past. Texts, email, Facebook chats…they all take a good deal of work to save if you want to do so.