The Era of Documentation in a Digital World


Documentation is perhaps one of the hardest things to do in a digital era. Although it wasn’t easy before in the past, as collecting and preserving physical objects is not an easy task, it was easier before things started to become purely digital. Now, in the digital era, if you want to preserve something that is online it is almost impossible to do without a bit of illegal jargon and a prayer to God that the service doesn’t kill itself after several years.

There are benefits, of course, to having things online. If you have the Internet and time for it, finding things online can be as quick as a single button press. Sometimes it’s easier or harder to find, and those willing to dig for it can find some interesting stuff in the backstreets of Google. Not to mention having things online makes it easier to watch movies, tv show or buy a video game. At the same time though, it makes documenting certain things incredibly hard to do, and if a website should go down with these valuable assets only available online…. Well then, you’re out of luck.

Perhaps the best example of this is Silent Hill P.T., a horror video game directed by Hideo Kojima with masterminds such as Junji Ito and Guillermo del Toro published by Konami. The demo of the game was available as a free download to anyone with a PS4 and you can play it however many times your heart desires. I personally never picked it up because I thought I could do so at a later date, only to find out a short time after its release that it was gone. It had been completely erased from the PS4 digital game store and never to be heard of again. P.T was cancelled, and the only way to play the last living piece of such a video game was if you had downloaded it on your PS4 beforehand and did not delete it. Still want to play it? Go on Ebay and buy an inflated PS4 with a copy of Silent Hill download already.

The digital era, or cloud era, is not a good way to document things. Every day we are losing so much art because companies refuse to allow physical releases, or worst yet -limited physical release. More companies should allow physical releases of their artwork, and to refrain from taking their content down so that others can enjoy and download them in order to avoid losing so much artwork in this new digital age of sharing.