Let’s push things a little more energetically. Here’s a new song about digital preservation!

Files that Last: the song
Lyrics and Music: Gary McGath, Copyright 2012
Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution license.

Feel free to sing it, post it, turn it into a video, etc. I do request that if you put it anywhere on the Internet, please provide a link to this post or to the Kickstarter project. In the unlikely event you find a way to make money from it, please support the Kickstarter project or buy the book when it comes out. (Note: Firefox is giving me a “clickjacking attempt” warning when I start the player. This is just some clumsiness on WordPress’s part. At least I don’t see how it can be anything else.)

I had a little Kindle, it had a little book.
Today the book has vanished. I think that I’ve been took.
They say I never owned it, no not a single page.
The only thing it kindles is my rage.

   I want some files that last, data that will not stray.
   Files just as fresh tomorrow as they were yesterday.

I wrote a little fanfic just seven years ago.
But how to read the file now, my PC doesn’t know.
My brilliant tale is only a bunch of useless bits,
Why do I have to put up with this … inconvenience?


I made a little archive all stored on DVDs
And put them in the car trunk, where they could fit with ease.
The summer’s warm and sunny, and sadly I have learned
That’s not how DVDs ought to be burned.


The road to preservation has potholes everywhere,
I’m trying hard to dodge them and taking extra care.
To give my files a future, I won’t forget the past.
There has to be a way to make them last!

Chorus, twice

For preservation purposes, a lossless WAVE version is also available.

It’s amazing how easy it us to put together a decent multitrack home recording these days. The tools for this were my voice (such as it is), a Yamaha CLP-840 keyboard, a Zoom H2 recorder, a Mac running Audacity, and an iPod to listen to previously laid tracks while making new ones.