Archiving

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Document Creation

Documents should not be created in formats that can be read/seen/edited only by software that is likely to be unavailable in the far future. Software that has difficult-to-port dependencies will likely be unavailable in the far future. The same applies to document containers: using file systems is foolproof, but storing documents to some database of some database engine that might not be available in the future risks with making the documents unreadable in the future. Document readers and editors might be archived in the form of some "exported" virtual machine.


When doing an audit of some hopeless organization, then the value of the audit report might not be just in changing the situation of the organization, but the audit report can be a very useful historic record even if it does not change anything for the audited organization. For example, an audit of the German Nazi party during the World War 2 probably would not have saved the Nazi party, but it would have been a very useful historic record, a vital part of the documentation about the historic events. Organizational history should be documented as the events occur, not as some later memoir, because in the case of the later memoir some important details have probably been forgotten and the accuracy of the description of events is bigger, when the events have been documented shortly after they have occurred.


Storage

If one lacks the means to analyse, process, or digitize old documents or other artifacts, then the artifacts should never be destroyed, but just stored, to allow them to be processed, studied, digitized with equipment that becomes available in the future. For example, before DNA was discovered there was no possibility to digitize DNA, but if the samples were preserved, the DNA of the artifacts could be analyzed once the DNA got discovered. It's not known in advance, what analysis methods future generations will have, but the future generations do need the artifacts to use their novel analysis methods.