A recent survey in The Netherlands shows how a lot of cities lost important records due to floppy disks and CD-ROMs being used for archiving. In this day and age, hardly anyone uses this form of storage anymore, and the blockchain is a more than viable alternative to this problem.
Archaic Archiving Methods are a Problem
The results of this survey were made public on May 19, 2016, and paint a worrisome picture. A lot of cities in The Netherlands indicate they have lost entire archives due to archaic data storage solutions being used in the past. A combination of floppy drives, CD-ROMs, and even tapes has made it impossible to recover and digitize some critical information.
Given the declining usage of tapes and floppy disks, that hardly comes as a surprise. However, it also begs the question as to why these cities have only recently started digitizing their archives, as this is a problem that should have taken care of several years ago. CD-ROMs can still be read by most computers, but they are not a durable solution to store sensitive data in the long term either.
Unlike what most people might come to expect, these issues affect both large and small cities. Rotterdam, Utrecht, and Eindhoven are just a few of the locations where a part of the archived data has gone missing. The archaic storage solutions used many moons ago have become unreadable, either due to hardware degradation or due to tapes rotting away.
But hardware degradation is not the only issue city officials face when trying to digitize archiving, as it takes a long time to access all of the information. In fact, some of the older floppy drives require outdated versions of Microsoft Windows to make them readable, which is not a process most people are looking forward to.
As a result, a lot of information is no longer accessible to citizens and officials. Additionally, some of the data can’t be digitized, which means the information will go missing at some point in the future. New solutions have to be found to make the digitization process a lot smoother in the future, which is why officials need to start exploring new technologies to record current information.
The Blockchain Savior
While the blockchain may not be able to solve most of the archived data recovery problems these cities are facing, it has become apparent better archiving solutions have to be used in the future. Centralized databases running on servers in the same building present a point of failure, and it may only take one major hacking attempt to make all of these details inaccessible in the future.
This is part of the reason why blockchain technology is such a likely candidate for the future of data storage. The blockchain provides a tamper-proof and timestamped proof of existence for any information. Additionally, due to its decentralized nature, the blockchain makes a lot more sense than the current model of databases.
In fact, some industries are already exploring the opportunity of wielding blockchain technology in the future. A few schools record student credentials on the blockchain, and there is a concept on the table that would use blockchain technology for scientific research. Using the same technology for archiving important city records does not seem that big of a leap.
What are your thoughts on cities forced to recover data from floppy disks and CD-ROMS as they are late to the digitization race? Let us know in the comments below!
Source: Telegraaf (Dutch)
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Wikipedia
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