Leo A. Martin leo@possi.org
Sat, 18 Jan 2014 09:22:37 PST
Google Drive is not a foolproof database solution. No system relying on humans is
foolproof. Only two things have preserved human works through time: Fortuna, imperatrix
mundi, and multiple identical copies. We have Beowulf only because one copy, with at
least half the pages burned or missing, has survived.

A Google Drive document open to be edited by even a moderate number of people would soon
be corrupted or deleted no matter what people might hope. There is a reason editors are
more important than authors. One or more of the people with access to the database would
select "1234" as a password and an inquisitive teenage boy with too much time on his
hands would delete the database. This approach would require preservation of copies of
all documents after each editing session is complete, and preserve these documents
somehow beyond destruction. Then there is the issue of privacy - Google is viewed
differently, and rarely kindly, in different parts of the world.

Institutions frequently suffer new management, which decides to go in a different
direction. For example, the Museum of Modern Art in New York has "deaccessioned" (sold)
many of its outstanding works. The Duke Gardens were vandalized and destroyed by their
own board of directors. Read about it if you feel the need to vomit. New directors at
botanical gardens decide to throw away old, old plants in the collection because their
"data are inadequate" or "our focus has changed."

Through time committed individuals are the ones who preserve culture, not institutions.
Institutions frequently destroy culture.

Leo Martin
Phoenix Arizona USA

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