Harvard University and Filecoin Foundation for the Decentralized Web Plan to Preserve Digital Information
On July 27, the Filecoin Foundation for the Decentralized Web (FFDW) announced it will be supporting an initiative with Harvard University’s Library Innovation Lab (LIL) called the “Democratizing Open Knowledge” program. With FFDW’s support, LIL plans to explore decentralized technologies that can preserve digital information.
Democratizing Open Knowledge
While there’s a lot of information to consume in 2022, it’s hard to verify what is legitimate and there’s a significant amount of distrust toward mainstream media sources. In the U.S. for example, America’s trust and confidence levels in the media sunk to record lows in a recent Gallup poll published this month. Out of the American adults surveyed, only 16% said they had “quite a lot” of confidence in today’s news publications, and only 11% trusted news on television. Moreover, during the last few years, there’s also been a lot of disinformation and debates over technical definitions.
For example, this past week, the term “recession” became a controversial subject over the definition when the White House published two blog posts that show the government’s description of the word’s meaning. Then on July 27, over the course of a 24-hour period, the definition of the word recession on Wikipedia was revised dozens of times. Wikipedia revisions continue to this very day, and the Wiki page notes that “media outlets have circulated an outdated version of this article.” By simply leveraging the data saved on archive.org, for practically any month of the year besides July, the archived data shows that the definition of the word recession has changed a great deal since then.
On Wednesday, the Filecoin Foundation for the Decentralized Web (FFDW) revealed that it was working with Harvard University’s Library Innovation Lab (LIL) in order to preserve digital information via decentralized technologies. Harvard’s LIL and FFDW will contribute to the “Democratizing Open Knowledge” program, which aims to help libraries “share knowledge through technology.” Technologies include specific tools like the Filecoin network and the Interplanetary File System (IPFS). The announcement on Wednesday further details that FFDW will help LIL forward the idea of increasing access to information through decentralized technologies.
“FFDW is on a mission to preserve humanity’s most important information,” FFDW’s president and chair Marta Belcher explained in a statement. “This collaboration will enable the Library Innovation Lab to explore how decentralized technologies can solve real-world challenges to preserve critical data, and we’re thrilled to support the Library’s Democratizing Open Knowledge program,” Belcher added.
FFDW Says Harvard’s LIL Already Has a Strong Background in ‘Protecting and Increasing Access’ to Information
IPFS is essentially a peer-to-peer (P2P) system for storing and accessing files, websites, applications, and data in a distributed file system. Filecoin is an open-source blockchain created by Protocol Labs and is built on top of the IPFS distributed network. Filecoin’s native crypto asset filecoin (FIL) has increased 47.3% against the U.S. dollar during the last 24 hours, and FIL is up 67.1% during the past 14 days. At the end of May, Protocol Labs detailed that it was working with the Maryland-based defense contractor and aerospace business, Lockheed Martin, to bring decentralized storage concepts to space.
According to FFDW’s announcement last Wednesday, LIL and FFDW plan to fight linkrot, explore the creation of strong dark archives, and protect valuable research data. LIL has already built tools and websites like perma.cc, opencasebook.org, and the LIL Caselaw Access Project. Through collaborative efforts, LIL and FFDW want to address how technology can help establish “trustworthy sources” and the “long-term preservation of digital information.”
What do you think about the initiative FFDW and LIL are working on to preserve digital information? Do you think technology can help decentralize access to today’s information and make it more reliable? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.