Abstract: The Personal Computer Revolution--Implications for Data Management
Michael J. Wiltshire
The emergence of personal workstations has profound implications for the future of the geosciences. The social transformation that resulted from the invention of the printing press arose from the freeing of access to information. The emergence of computing tools has parallels with the development of the press. Because information must be actively used if its value is to be realized, we have to develop routine computer literacy, and we have to ensure that the historic information base is adapted to the new medium.
Recent trends toward ever finer detail in exploration data acquisition will continue, with huge data volumes threatening to overwhelm potential users lacking appropriate data-reduction tools. As information management becomes increasingly electronic, organizations that fail to adjust will rapidly become technologically uncompetitive.
No absolutely secure long-term electronic storage mechanism exists; preservation of the oncoming avalanche of basic data cannot be assured. To successfully meet the challenge of information preservation, our industry must concentrate on efficiency and quality in our data preparation, storage, and use. This is a task for skilled and experienced personnel.
Mechanisms for funding the data conversion task, protecting the investment in data, and in aiding its routine use should become a priority. Attitudinal and organizational changes on the part of both corporations and governments will be needed or the value of data will be unrealized, and the data will eventually be lost.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90982©1994 AAPG International Conference and Exhibition, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, August 21-24, 1994