Then there is a question of what really needs to be retained.
In the past I was the responsible archivist for financial data, including mortgage payments. So the way the law is currently crafted is that you need to maintain the last seven years of data for IRS purposes, but technically had to delete the data older than seven years (plus 30) from mortgages that had paid off. I came up with a CD/DVD system that had the zip software of the backup and a copy of the SQL Server installs in use at the time. The application wasn't there, but the data was.
That was after I had to do a tape search of loans we had done in Georgia, over five years earlier, that was an abysmal failure.
I swore that I would never leave myself or my successors over such a large abyss ever again.
But sometimes I think of Jeff Atwood's comment of using paper
. And if you think of how much history was preserved on papyrus (Dead Sea Scrolls) or stone (the Pyramids) it might not be a horrible idea.
A little bit of this and a little byte of that can cause bloatware.