Flash Fiction: a complete story
in one thousand or fewer words.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Online Access to Artifacts of World Culture

A U.S. Library of Congress-initiated and UN-sponsored project, the World Digital Library, seeks to provide access to artifacts of human culture from throughout the world. The LOC netted the first commercial supporter, Google, with its $3M donation.

...the World Digital Library would bring together online "rare and unique cultural materials held in U.S. and Western repositories with those of other great cultures such as those that lie beyond Europe and involve more than 1 billion people: Chinese East Asia, Indian South Asia and the worlds of Islam stretching from Indonesia through Central and West Asia to Africa."

At the World Digital Library site, you can click on a region and get a list of documents and view them. This seems a Good Thing in general. Many writers may find information and inspiration for stories there. In another article, it was pointed out that some of the items are copyrighted, according to the laws from where the item came...even if thousands of years old.

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Sunday, February 8, 2009

Emerging Job: Digital Archiving

One of the emerging job categories these days is digital archiving, professional approaches to recording permanently the seemingly infinite digital information we are creating. [Leaving century] I remember waist-high 40 MB hard drives that served a small corporation. [/] Now, I have heavily photoshopped pictures that are 30 MB. [Leaving century] And I remember when photoshop wasn't a verb. [/]

The linked NYT article isn't revealing a new idea. You can study this at any level, including a doctoral program in digital curation and archiving. Digital archiving is a serious issue for individuals and nations. Finding reliable long-term media is far from trivial, when long-term is 100+ years. To return to the photography example, DVDs once seemed like the dream media. Now, they are laughably small, and can't be relied upon for even a decade. Imagine the issues faced by a large corporation or a modern government. (On the other hand, one DVD will hold about 700,000 flash fiction stories.) Transience of information is also an issue. For example: "Before Barack Obama even finished taking the oath of office, the White House site switched over to the Obama administration’s version." Dang. I meant to copy that.

There are many who lose sleep over finding a way to preserve the entire culture. I don't find that necessary. But we do need to preserve this, the Decade of Flash Fiction.

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