Thoughts on Cloud Computing

DuraCloud flow
(Source: Credit: Screenshot-Dave Rosenberg)

I really think that cloud computing will be ubiquitous within the next few years, and it will make it even easier to access, modify or contribute info anywhere and at any time. However, one of the problems is that much of the content on the Internet is not archived; that is, web sites often write over the content of existing pages with more current information.

For example, a fashion company in California may only post info about the current trends of celebrities on their web site. Traditionally, this company has sent out magazines to their various customers, but may have moved to an digital presence only (mailing the printed catalogs were too costly & go quickly out of date). This web site may not keep an archive of their past work, or if the company goes out of business, the information about it and what it covers disappears too.

Then there is the issue of digital documents that are not even posted online. The federal government has huge problems with this, especially during times of transition from one administration to another.

While this is not a specific problem for cloud computing, it is a major concern for researchers & libraries. Why? In this case, by keeping a record of what this company published online, snapshots of an era and culture are essentially taken (e.g. the Second Depression, Economic Downturn, Iraq & Pakistan War era, Birth of the Information Age, the Bush and Obama presidential years).

This period of time will doubtlessly be looked back at decades and centuries down the road as a very important period of time. Unfortunately, because our society placed value in currency of information instead of archival (digital instead of print), much of this information has the potential to disappear. Paper has certain advantages over digital, specifically longevity.

This entire thought process was initiated by a short news release by CNet about the Library of Congress test driving a cloud computing. According to the new blurb,

The project started with a vision of federated repositories and infrastructure that would scale massively and remove the risks of data silos. The other major goal is to make the service usable across external and internal cloud deployments.

This project may help tackle the issue of loosing digital information, at least in terms of government info. It is good to see that there is recognition and activity on this front. Now about non-governmental info…


About repplinger

John has served as a Reference Librarian at Willamette University since 2002. He is the liaison to the Science Departments, and is responsible for maintaining the collections related to the life & physical sciences. His research interests range over the entire spectrum of libraries and information sciences, but includes: - Google and its influence on information & society - The Internet's influence on information seeking & sharing behaviors - Trends of scholarly communication - Electronic learning environments - Traditional pedagogy - GIS use in academic libraries

Posted on July 21, 2009, in Technology and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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