Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Archiving Histories

The topic of archiving histories is finally getting a look.  This month many calls for scholarly papers in the academic fields of Historic Preservation, Museum Management, and Conservation Architecture are going out for submissions.   It is time fine minds begin to examine the beginnings of how to  define the scope reach and value of this enormous subject..as relates to the recent advent of technology and its relativity, relevance,  or irrelevance to history.

Folks who have been involved in this academic arena are the  appropriate professionals to be addressing these concerns as the aforementioned fields' practitioners  are the ones who embraced and helped build this virtual world as the means to help manage the stacks of our paper-laid monster...and much of this digital media began with the advent of " e-learning" , which started out as a pedagogical research tool in the realm of architectural research.   The time consuming process  locating details amongst massive amounts of information in the form of architectural plans and large format photos, warranted the idea, which has transformed itself to another notion  entirely replacing the original   "e-learning" which has made its way from private institutional libraries to secondary schools where it is now perceived and often misunderstood as a classroom broadcasting tool for the computer.. My limited experience with parents' understanding of  this new virtual realm is more to the idea of interactive television with much better content to help their kids learn, versus a new world digital realm which commands new dictionaries necessary to explain all of the now decade old acronyms and vocabularies for a true understanding of where this realm goes and how far its reach is...  so parents and educators alike may realize that research analytics and the collection of data and management of meta data is at the center of it all..

So, the discussion will eventually meander to.....where does that leave anyone's privacy-individual authority as it relates to histories, personal or otherwise?  Beginning with our children's? Is there nothing sacred about a child's personal interactions in a classroom? Do people understand where the kernel of this idea began--its life,  in the hands of archivists and librarians intended to help researchers manage books and manuscripts now are in secondary schools via "tablets"?  Where are there laws assuring us the broadcast is only coming into the classroom versus collecting information from our children to help manage metadata and data and the interactivity more productively, according to someone we never see or know?  Were does the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act come into play? This is only one area of concern where histories being archived may well be our children and how they are interacting with each other and the computer on their desk?  Is that what we consider history?And if the answer is yes, then ask yourself another question.. did you know that story would be recorded then if you did, have you ever been able to access it?

Data and Meta Data aside, where are the Authentic paper bound histories...? Editorial Staff and decisions for factual stories... ? How quickly are we allowing them to disappear? How does this bifurcation of tried and true processes create more accountability to truths with infinite added layers, and manipulated or disappearing timelines?

Its interesting, that right when Western America is gaining a footing as an historic world center.. suddenly the way we record history changes- and all in the span of ten years...

How will that help us in the larger scheme of things?

Why aren't we asking these questions...Now we have so many satellite images yet how many folks survey what we can see with the naked eye with film, drawings, tape, print?

How does social media and e-learning truly serve us? or is it a slow-mo   slap in the face where the pain is yet to be felt, through gradually  eliminating our place in REAL history BOOKS.- our deeds from county records, our children from real picture books, where no electricity is required to hold or see the images.. There are still True stories and images worthwhile and needing to be recorded with ink or other media on an actual page or film.. and while we blog away.....myself included,  we relinquish security and monies to those who have not put down their film-cameras and scaled-drawings....recorded paper notes and deeds with wet signatures, who knows if all of  this new media will be sustainable, and reliable? Who knows if it will merely  be a bright white flash in the pan?

History and her stories are valuable and worth archiving-with hand on paper, whatever true narratives they describe and tell.

When was the last time you wrote  a letter and mailed it to your congressman or congresswoman? your friend, your family? wrote on a ballot? Or looked at a printed calendar or film photos of an event, person, landscape or building worth remembering as a way to archive the beauty of truth?
Make your answer----