Old Formats in the Information Age

Electronic storage of data is one of the best parts of the computer era. No more combing through papers to find data points. Some of us might miss the calculations or the feel of paper between our fingers.

Unfortunately, as computers have evolved and space required for memory of all those little bits has become smaller, our storage media have also changed. We’ve come from tapes through cards through various disks to cloud storage.

Each of these formats has their period where they were the primary form and everyone used the hardware. Eventually, each one has been improved upon and fallen out of favor. Researchers left files and old data on these formats. As we strive to pull up the history of our data sets and build a complete history of the research done on the ecosystems of the Columbia River Basin, we look to our old data and find that the hardware required to read these files is no longer available.

The StreamNet Regional Library has slowly been accumulating the required hardware to read these various formats. We currently have CD/DVD combo drive, ZIP drive, and 3.5 inch floppy drive. We are working on a 5.25 inch floppy drive. If you have other formats you’d like to access, give us a call and we’ll see what we have in our hardware archive. Call 503-238-0667 and ask for the librarian on duty.article_4_image_2_-_old_formats

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