When comedian and activist Jon Stewart gave an impassioned speech before Congress to seek ongoing aid for 9/11 first responders, it inspired Internet Archive software curator and digital preservationist Jason Scott to share something timely with the world as well: a newly discovered cache of photos from one of the workers who toiled away at Ground Zero, and who’d saved thousands of those photos on CD-R.
But Scott says he wasn’t actually able to preserve all of those photos, because of the way they were stored. And that’s not the only tragedy here:
Scott is drawing attention to two plights at the same time — that of those brave men and women who worked to clean up after the towers fell, and that of the memories that they and many, many others believe they may have preserved on recordable discs. Discs which don’t actually last forever, as we’ve learned in recent years.
So now might be a good time to check on your photos, and back them up to something newer, better, and redundant — something that puts them in multiple places in case of failure.
If these photos move you, the family that recovered and archived the photos asks if you might consider donating some money to a charity that supports first responders.
You can browse the whole photo album here.
Correction, June 17: The family that discovered the photos isn’t related to the photographer; I regret the error.