Save for watching Time Bandits, I almost never think about ‘the future.’ But I was reading danah boyd’s piece on ‘blogging outloud’ wherein she asks:
Although they do exist, very few blogs are about culling knowledge into an archival form. But this does not make them worthless. Why do libraries keep letters from the 18th century? Historical artifacts tell us about the people who lived at a particular time.
Which got me thinking about the ways in which blogs serve as semi-permanent documents of ephemeral thoughts of a certain kind of person. I wouldn’t say ‘the masses,’ but 112 million blogs isn’t exactly chump change either. Reading Natalie Zemon Davis’ ‘Printing and the People‘ and how New Cultural Historians had to come up with creative ways to understand the oral and written culture of the masses in the 16th Century (e.g., death certificates, etc.), I began thinking about the record that may be left behind from today forward… And as Google seeks to cataloge any data it can find, I certainly meditate on the frailty of this medium, and the obvious issues of public and private good… The University of Michigan, in its collaboration with Google, has just celebrated digitally archiving its one millionth book. (Read more about the ‘Googlization of Everything’ here.)