In 2002, thanks to electronic data processing, the notion of archive has been entirely transformed from the notion of paper records, tapes and files.

And because it is electronic, once produced, it is subject to a life cycle entirely different from that of paper records and files.

Some knowledge (such as government records of e-mail exchanges and inter-departmental memorandums) are instantly and irrecoverably lost, while other, utterly trivial data sets continue to float forever in the infinity of online data space, simply because they are no longer subject to the Darwinian pressures of finite resources, competition, and survival. There can be no doubt that the fundamental shape and quality of the collective social and historical "archive" are being profoundly transformed as a result.

Sanfort Kwinter, from MUTATIONS