Seven Gigabytes

Paul Ford archived his father’s poetry and writing, uploading it to the Internet Archive:

My father’s last decade was one of relentless downsizing, from apartment to assisted living to nursing home, shedding belongings, throwing away clothes and furniture. And at the end: Two boxes and a tiny green urn. The ultimate zip file. After I parsed and processed and batched his digital legacy, it came to 7,382 files and around 7 gigabytes.

The sum of Frank took two days and nights to upload to the Internet Archive, at a rate of a few files per minute. I wonder what the universe will make of this bundle of information. Who will care? Scholars of short plays about the Korean War? Sociologists studying 1930s Irish childhoods? I am sure his words will be ingested, digested, and excreted as chat by untold bots and search engines. Perhaps they’ll be able to make sense of all the modernist imagery. At least he’ll have slowed them down a little. In time, we all end up in a folder somewhere, if we’re lucky. Frank belongs to the world now; I released the files under Creative Commons 0, No Rights Reserved. And I know he would have loved his archive.