From the people who brought you Digital Preservation and the Nuclear Disaster, here is Digital Preservation and Aeroplane Disaster!
While the scenario is a little hokey, the basic ideas it presents -- obsolescence and migration -- are critical topics when dealing with digital materials. Nothing make one's heart sink faster than opening a box and finding a stack of 3.5 inch floppies with files of unknown format on them. Can you open the disks? Can you identify the file types? Are converters available for the file types? These are issues archivists deal with, sometimes on a daily basis. At DCA we have been working to create crosswalks that provide original file types with the MIME and format types listed and the corresponding preservation file types. This process has been a challenge, but it has also been really rewarding. We can open our boxes and stare down a stack of floppies without fear. We have a plan!