May 24, 2022

Vint Cerf on “The Role of Archives in Digital Preservation”

From a Column Published in Communications of the ACM (January 2018) by Vint Cerf:

Some readers may wonder whether the World Wide Web is already an example of an archive. It is not because there is no assurance of long-lasting storage or accessibility of the content. To be sure, the WWW content is a candidate for archiving and the Internet Archive is attempting to do exactly that.


..archivists of digital content will need to be prescriptive about the structure and encoding of digital artifacts they can process into the archive successfully. A proactive stance could improve the likelihood that digital content can be acquired and preserve.


a long-lived archive must rely on a business model that matches the desired longevity that might extend 100 years or more. Think of archives housing 1,000-year-old vellum codices, for example. In addition to the extensible standardization of digital representation, then, we will need legal and financial frameworks that assist long-term preservation.

Read the Complete Column (769 words)

Article Appears:
Communications of the ACM ((Vol. 61, No. 1; January 2018)

See Also: From June 28, 2017: Video Interview: Internet Founding Father Vint Cerf on ‘Cybersecuring’ the Internet of Things (IoT)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.