AN INTERNET developer has warned of the risks of losing decades worth of documents and images as IT hardware becomes obsolete.

Dr Vint Cerf, known as a father of the internet for his work on its basic architecture in the 70s, is to address the Internet @ 100 conference at St Andrew’s University today.

The Google vice president will explain the need for “digital vellum” to preserve today’s internet information for the future during his sold-out keynote address.

He is expected to argue for preservation of digital content on long-lived media, storage of operating system and application software, and methods for deriving hardware capabilities.

The 71-year-old will also add that, if this does not happen, we are destined to lose access to documents, pictures and videos over time.

Professor Saleem Bhatti, organiser of the event, said: “We are delighted to be holding this special event in honour of Dr Cerf’s visit to the University.

“The internet is, of course, not 100 years old. It is not even quite 50 years old. However, the talks at this event will summarise some of its history, comment on its current state, and look forward to what it might look like at 100 years old.

“Dr Cerf’s talk will consider a real problem he perceives for the future – that the information we have now may be lost unless we think ahead about the longevity of the applications and data we use today,” Bhatti concluded.