But in a world with limited shelf space (and even more limited funding for archives), perhaps my experience of playing Adventure as a 14-year-old can’t make the historical cut. “We don’t want to be a computer history museum,” presenters repeated over and over again at the meeting. After all, machines are fickle, temperamental, and take up space. Replacement parts have to be purchased on eBay or Craigslist, a red flag for certain kinds of institutions. As Clifford Lynch, director of the Coalition for Networked Information observed, libraries provide access to 18th-century books, but they don’t promise to recreate the conditions—flickering candlelight, inadequate ventilation, smallpox—that might have accompanied reading it in the 18th century.
There is no preservation without loss. Archivists know this better than anyone…