Preserving information

  • André Hurst
Part of the IFIP International Federation for Information Processing book series (IFIPAICT, volume 161)


The decipherment of linear B writing in 1952 by Michael Ventris has thrown light on a very interesting issue: in the second millennium B.C., the Greeks had a writing system, but the amount of information they put into writing was limited. Other civilisations, including the Celts, made the same choice. A choice was made between what you memorise and what you write down; the reasons for this choice could be political and religious in nature. In the course of history, there has been often a great resistance to writing, a resistance which in most cases arose out of a form of respect for the human memory, and a strong diffidence towards storing important information outside the human brain. This resistance is certainly connected with the status of sacred object that has often been bestowed on specific writings. It is interesting and curious to observe how the problem of preserving information outside of human memory has appeared again with the introduction of computers.

Key words

information science memorisation preserving information writing 


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    Giovanni Garbini, The question of the alphabet, in the volume containing contributions by various authors: The Phoenicians, Venice 1988, p. 89. Ibid, p. 102.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© International Federation for Information Processing 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • André Hurst
    • 1
  1. 1.University of GenevaGeneveSwitzerland

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