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New Media

Archival things

The Guardian reports that the British Library has failed to archive any of the last six years published digital content. Not a vast surprise that the creation of a digital archive is a thorny issue, and needs legislating in order to get it right (although recent forays into new media legislation suggest that this too, is going to be a nightmare), but dismaying that after six years of being able to archive, the conversation about how to hasn’t even got going.

Phil Spence is a little more downbeat than I’d suggest is the case:

We’re failing to create intellectual capital and the knowledge economy because of this digital black hole,

Well, possibly. I think that the lack of an archive is a symptom of the intellectual vacuum at the heart of Government thinking about digital technologies, rather than the sole cause, but nevertheless.

Martyn Wade, though, head librarian at the National Library of Scotland, hits the nail on the head:

We’re missing the birth of a new way of publishing”

That’s about the shape of it. A new way of publishing that we (and especially our archival bodies) have a duty to preserve and study in order to see what happened, examine how it happened, and provide the means to propose what that might mean for the future.

Still, there’s always the Wayback Machine. Although it won’t cache flash files, and provides no context.


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