Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Chronology of The Archive

* Cave Paintings
Pictographs- meaning conveyed through resemblance to physical object
Time represented through visual layering (adding/ erasing)

* Oral
Bards and Homers
Knowledge is transferred through physical/social interaction
A unique event that happens in time
Information is not fixed- can be personalized/context-specific

* Written/Recorded Library
Composed of primary or original source material, may be unique
- Access is limited (often must request permission to use a specific material)
- Archivist or librarian as gatekeeper
- Behavior code: white gloves, pencils, low lighting, silence
- There is a limit to what can be 'saved'
Subjectivity of History: What is known is what has persevered
'Aura' to the object/ Artifact- a physical connection to the past
'Holy Grail Quest': History's hidden treasure that could change or reshape the world
- Possibility for the material to be destroyed and lost forever (war, flood, fire)
Authority implicit in preserved or source material
Searching the archive requires expertise (ex. knowledge of language) or credentials

* Printed Material Library
Increased Accessibility
The possibility of exploring shelves of books related but not specific to topic
Collection Impulse- documentation of everything that can be 'known'

* Digital Archive/ Library
Examples: Web 2.0, online library collections, Databases
Shifting paradigms as to the 'owner' of the material
Hoarding vs. Sharing
(Copyright, Confidentiality, Intellectual Property, vs Creative Commons, Wiki, Hacking,
Google Books)
Restrictions: Internet Connections, Passwords, Meta-Data
Material is often a reference/copy; context is often lost
Increased ability to erase, manipulate, alter, or copy material
Acquisition comes through ability to learning the correct search algorithm
The art of filtering: User must be able to evaluate the relevance and authenticity of material

Side notes:
Does information decrease in value when it increases in quantity?
Is the destruction of information a form of historical liberation?
How does the digital archive negotiate between the subjective and the objective?
What is the personal archive and what is the public?

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