XKCD on digital preservation

Today’s XKCD comic comments on digital preservation in Randall Munroe’s usual style.
XKCD cartoon on Digital Data

The main speaker’s comments are rather naive, but there are two layers of commentary (that I’m noticing). I enhanced the cartoon’s contrast in Photoshop, making it easier to see what’s happening:
XKCD cartoon, Digital Data, enhanced

The second panel shows slight degradation, as if saved at a low-quality JPEG setting; I can see it only in the Photoshopped version. The third one is obviously blurry and has some icons at the bottom. The last one looks like a very crude screenshot, watermarked as made with unregistered software. The hover text says, ““If you can read this, congratulations—the archive you’re you're using still knows about the mouseover text”!” Yes, those weird characters you’re seeing are in the original.

It’s a good reminder that preservation involves more than just having the file at hand.

XKCD is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.

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