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Subject: Re: Technological Obsolescence of Records
From: WALLIS Dwight D <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Records Management Program <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 2 Dec 2002 16:06:02 -0800
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Technological obsolescence is also a very fuzzy term. Rarely does something
become technically obsolete with big red flags announcing its obsolescence,
at a specific period of time (despite what advertisers and fashion designers
would have us believe). Rather, it is a progressive thing that occurs over
differing lengths of time among different cultures and socio-economic
groupings. For example, I can still play phonographs, I have a fully
functioning Commodore 128, a 3DO machine, a reel to reel tape player,
several cassette machines, a beta VCR, etc... etc... (OK OK, I'm a pack rat,
so sue me). I can't say the information on these machines is disposable
because obsolescence has no longer made it available - all the machines
still function just fine and the information is easily available (wait -
DON'T sue me!). Are they obsolete because a percentage of users stopped
using them? What percentage? Perhaps it's because they got replaced by more
advanced machines, even though they still function. Precisely when did this
obsolescence occur? If I were subject to litigation, does that mean I can't
upgrade my 386 until the litigation is finished? If paper is obsolete, can
we destroy it at whim, or does this apply only to electronic records? Why?

Dwight Wallis, CRM
Records & Distribution Services Manager
Multnomah County Fleet, Records, Electronic & Distribution Services
2505 SE 11th Avenue
Portland OR 97202
phone: (503)988-3741
fax: (503)988-3754
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