This is a very interesting article that raises many interesting questions about making sure you can get back to the bits you stored. Many organisations now have organised repositories of information to mitigate this risk, but scientists can be lax at using these.
The problem however is not over there. When you get the bits back in 10 years the file format may be obsolete and the data useless. An additional layer on top of "bit preservation" is format preservation. National archives are leading the way in research into this problem including the "Active Preservation" approach divised by the UK National Archives and explored by the EU PLANETS project. Also the NSF Datanet project in the US is looking at this for scientific data.
posted by Jon Tilbury
February 25, 2010
About once a month at Sigma Xi headquarters, we liven up the lunch hour with an American Scientist Pizza Lunch talk. In these informal lectures, scientists describe new research to nonscientists. The series is light on jargon but heavy on solid science. Each Pizza Lunch offers an in-depth look at its subject, whether it's bedbugs or the smart grid. Click below to read about and download these talks -- and to subscribe!
JSTOR, the online academic archive, now contains complete back issues of American Scientist from its inception in 1913 (as Sigma Xi Quarterly) through 2005.
The table of contents for each issue is freely available to all users; those with institutional access can read each complete issue.
View the full collection here.