How Technology Could Be Making it Harder to Preserve History

Trusting technology over hard copies, might not be the best choice...

By Alicia Ewen |

Published 10/19 2016 05:38PM

Updated 10/19 2016 10:22PM

An email...
A text...
A tweet...
It's hard to even comprehend the amount that are sent everyday.
"I do it myself. I delete my emails automatically," says Lindsay Schoot, Electronic Records Archivist at North Dakota Heritage Center.
Lindsay Schoot is a digital archivist at the North Dakota Heritage Center. 
Her job is to preserve history through digital formats like videos and photos like these.
Even though she admits to deleting emails herself, that simple act could be doing more than just cleaning out a trash bin. 
In a lot of ways we could be losing the future's past. 
"People don't realize they're deleting history when they're deleting the photos off of their phone... I think a lot of archives around the world are dealing with this right now," says Schoot.
That's because all of the hard copies that the people in the past used to preserve memories are now on our phone. And one accidental drop is all it can take to lose everything. 
"You use them to try to get a visual of what life was like. You can read or have stories told to you, but when you have a moving image of something it's easier to understand," says Shane Molander, Deputy State Archivist.
"That's how people know about us in the future. Maybe we are entering a digital dark age where we won't have history around," says Schoot.
Schoot says they're still working on an answer on how to best preserve today's North Dakota. 
Especially since now there's so much more traffic than the days of handwritten letters.
"Yea we don't want those emails that just saw 'okay'" says Schoot laughing. 
So maybe next time you record something special.
Save it to a hard drive or print off a hard copy and give your grandkids something to remember.
Molander says don't trust Facebook to save your photos either. 
He says even with today's technology he still finds old film to be some of the most reliable ways to preserve history. 

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