Friday, June 27, 2003

The Way to Preserve is to Share

Storing e-text for centuries "To solve this digital dilemma, Ms Reich and Mr Rosenthal have looked long and hard at what the great libraries of the world have done over the millennia. First, they acquire copies and make them available to their local readers, while seeking to preserve them to the best of their ability. But if copies get lost or destroyed, they also lend them to each other. It is these circulating collections—which in effect form a peer-to-peer network with no central authority—that LOCKSS seeks to mimic.

It works by getting libraries to install a piece of software on a PC with a large hard disk, turning it into a cache for web pages. The program then pulls down the content of various journals that the library in question has subscribed to. If the system detects that one of its copies is damaged or missing, it asks the original publisher, or the cache of another library, to send it a fresh copy."

This idea has much in common with others such as XML Catalogs, DSpace and the like. All are using distributed stores to solve the problem of continuous access to data.
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