"Steven C. Barr(x)" <[log in to unmask]> wrote: >Now that we can turn any of our thoughts into "information," how
>much of that is worth preservation and/or will be of interest to
>anyone a few minutes/hours/days/years/wotever hence?
An example that crossed my mind...a researcher here on campus got a grant to digitize some recorded conversations. The content was just ordinary interpersonal exchanges. One could make a case that the preservation of such an exchange was a bit of time capsule. Perhaps it would be interesting to have recordings of conversations in the 1930's.
My mother kept track of all of our family expenses...every penny! Should that accounting book be preserved? In our Center for American History we preserve a family's accounting ledger from the 1850s.
Should a representative sample of common, everyday sorts of information be preserved? Should a representative sample of Boston Symphony, presidential speeches, telephone directories, phone conversations, financial transactions, recipes, broadcast logs, web transactions, weather reports, census reports, repair manuals, blueprints, postcards, bottle caps, beer cans, wines, water samples, tree core samples, medical records, etc. be saved?
What is a representative sample? What is important to save? Who is qualified to make these decisions?
For me, I look at video of an archaeological dig and marvel at the time that is taken to identify every scrap of pottery, its location, etc. I think of the many hours that are spent by so many people and then I think of our recorded history that is rotting away on chemically unstable materials, lacquers peeling, tape becoming unplayable...and yet there is but a handful of people in a position to deal with any of it.
Indeed, what is worth saving is a good question and even more importantly in my mind is the question, who is qualified to make these sorts of decisions?