A Data Deluge Swamps Science Historians

In a vault beneath the British Library here, Jeremy Leighton John grapples with a formidable challenge in digital life. Dr. John, the library’s first curator of eManuscripts, is working on ways to archive the deluge of computer data swamping scientists so that future generations can authenticate today’s discoveries and better understand the people who made them.

His task is only getting harder. Scientists who collaborate via email, Google (GOOG), YouTube, Flickr and Facebook are leaving fewer paper trails, while the information technologies that do document their accomplishments can be incomprehensible to other researchers and historians trying to read them.

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