We use computers to store the stories and images of our family's
histories. We hope our records will be available to our future
generations, so they may be appreciated by them.
Most of the Word Processing programs I have used over the past 25 years
are now obsolete, often making it impossible to retrieve documents. This
trend will continue, probably more quickly than in the past.
The same is true of the changes in hardware over that period.
The National Archives of Australia is addressing these issues, and is
promoting software named Xena that "converts electronic records into a
standardised format that can be read by future technology". Xena is based
on "a standard computer language that does not depend on proprietry
software or hardware to be read".
Xena is available at no cost from: xena.sourceforge.net
***I have not used the program so I have not assessed it,*** but thought I
should advise others who may be interested in assessing whether it is
relevant to ensuring the long-term preservation of their documents.
Doug Mason Melbourne Australia
MODERATOR NOTES: We usually discourage citations of resources *** that have not
yet been tried by the member who cites them. This message raises an interesting
issue, though, so I have allowed it.
Those interested in this issue should investigate the ongoing efforts of the LDS
(Mormon) Family History Library to create durable data storage technologies for
massive amounts of data.
Richard E. Turley, Jr. of the Genealogical Society of Utah staff spoke about this
subject at the 2000 IAJGS Conference in Salt Lake City. JPLowens (MOD1)