2011 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lennysiegel@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 15 Sep 2011 08:26:47 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] PRESERVATION: Proprietary media won't last
[Here's an article by Steve Williams, a member of the Moffett Field (CA) Restoration Advisory Board, about how evolving technology is rendering obsolete the interactive CD developed to meet the historic record-keeping requirements associated with activity at the former Naval air station's Hangar One. I'm circulating it because it has broader lessons for the development of permanent environmental records. - LS]

Navy’s Hangar One Historic Materials Will Soon be Unreadable

Steve Williams
September 11, 2011

The Navy and NASA have put significant effort and money into interactive historical materials to “mitigate” the loss of historic Hangar One as an intact historical monument. Unfortunately, the historical materials will quickly become inaccessible to historians and the rest of us, because the tools, methods, and media used to produce the materials will soon be obsolete and unusable, like floppy disks and Betamax tapes.

Because I have a background in both media and Computer Science, I saw this problem coming. So I asked the Navy to make the historic mitigation materials available in a durable form. The Navy looked into it and finds that won’t be possible. There may be a way to extract the important information for preservation, but it will be technically difficult, and no resources are available to do it.

In short, an important element of the Navy’s historic mitigation for Hangar One does nothing to mitigate the historic loss, because the historic documentation will itself be lost very soon.


For the entire article, see


Lenny Siegel
Executive Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
a project of the Pacific Studies Center
278-A Hope Street, Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650-961-8918 or 650-969-1545
Fax: 650-961-8918

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