As our magnetic and optical media become increasingly difficult to access and data starts to corrupt, what can we do to best preserve our electronic information for longer than the current 7-10 year bursts of time? One solution might be to transcode and compress it all to 2D barcodes printed onto microfilm. From AlphaGalileo:
The team further suggests that in order to reduce the amount of microfilm used for any given repository and so cut conversion and re-digitization times it would be possible to convert a stream of text into a bar-code type system that would still be entirely analogue but would rely on knowledge of the conversion key to return the data to digital form from microfilm. Using such a system could render a tested 170 kilobyte file that requires 191 pages of microfilm space as just 12 or so printed as a two-dimensional barcode. Such a barcode would incorporate redundancy and be self-checking unlike a straight digital to analogue image scan of the text. Further compression is possible, if colour microfilm and barcodes were used for storage. This may provide a valuable, low-maintenance additional back-up for the original digital objects in addition to preservation activities needed for the on-line access copies.
(Via ACM TechNews)