One of the resolutions that the Standing Commission on Episcopal Church Communication is going to present at 2006 General Convention of the Episcopal Church calls for the Episcopal Church to move to the adoption of Open Document Standards for all communication and data storage.
“Everybody watching CNN uses a lot of technologies first developed for, and as a result of, space exploration. The scientific data and engineering know-how collected in those first space missions are extremely valuable knowledge that should remain available forever.
Unfortunately, storing valuable data inside computers is no guarantee of its availability. Did you know that scientists ‘couldn’t read magnetic tapes from the 1976 Viking landings on Mars?… With the data in an unknown format, [they] had to track down printouts and hire students to retype everything’ (full story available here). That was quite a waste of money, wasn’t it? This situation occurred less than 30 years ago, and it was able to be fixed because paper copies were available, a format everybody could read.
Now, try thinking about the same thing happening to your digital records: pension forms, family budget spreadsheets, your graduation slideshow, mortgage contract. It’s scary to think about, especially if you consider that it could happen in much less than 30 years. Sometimes, simply upgrading or changing your word processor creates this kind of problem.”
The article linked above helps explain the issue and why doing this will be important in the future. This is an issue of some concern at the moment because Massachusets has pending legislation that will require all state agencies to adopt this practice. Needless to say large Multi-national corporations such as Microsoft are not pleased about this at all. (Draw your own conclusion…)
(Via Linux Journal.)