The Guardian reports today that the National Archives and Microsoft have announced a partnership to prevent what was described as a “digital dark age”.
Microsoft has worked with the archives and the British Library to install the Virtual PC 2007, allowing users to run multiple operating systems simultaneously on the same computer, and unlock what are called “legacy” Microsoft Office formats dating back 15 years or more. The system should retrieve not just the text but, crucially, the formatting and original appearance of the files as they were created.
The archives are estimated to hold at least 580 terabytes of such data, the equivalent of 580,000 encyclopaedias. The virtual PC should make accessible all stored government files created using versions of Office, but the archives have not begun to address the problem of Mac files.
Read the full story here: National Archive project to avert digital dark age