Computer scientist and linguist Professor Steven Bird of Melbourne University says most computer files, documents and original digital recordings created more than 10 years ago are now virtually irretrievable.

Linguists are worried because they have been enthusiastic digital pioneers.

The problem is we are unable to ensure the digital storage lasts for more than five to 10 years because of problems with new media formats, new binary data formats used by software applications and the possibility that magnetic storage just simply degrades over time.
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