Losing The Past

Do you own any old 78 discs? Or new digital photographs? Have you been using computers for a long time? Science writer Richard Hollingham reveals that much of our past, from analog sound recordings to digital computer data, is lost due to deterioration or obsolescence.



In Part One of Losing the Past, he investigates what's gone - with some startling news about government data, and popular rock songs. He also reveals what can be done to salvage sound, music and data. While a piano recording from the 30s can be rescued, more recent rock classics fell victim to sticky tape syndrome and can't be played anymore - except for those by the Grateful Dead, as their long-term percussionist Mickey Hart reveals.

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We're at risk of losing the twentieth century. Richard Hollingham investigates efforts to save our history from the dangers of obsolete computer formats, copyright restrictions or government secrecy. From the Californian whos planning the worlds biggest library to the controversial novelist whos saved a vast and unique collection from the pulping machine. He also reveals the contents of Bill Clintons email and probes into other affairs of state.