Tuesday, January 29, 2008
How will history be documented in the future?
I've been thinking about this for a number of weeks now.
One of my absolute favourite books as a teenage girl was The Diary of Anne Frank, it inspired me to start writing a diary. If you watch almost any historical documentary on SBS or ABC, you'll see references to diary entries and old letters written between people. Last night Dave watched the end of a four part documentary called Warlords about Churchill, Roosevelt, Stalin and Hitler and how they changed the course of the world during WW2 with this various negotiations. The most interesting, insightful parts of the documentary were the thoughts from these men recorded in their correspondence with each other and other people.
So, ok, now we have this wonderful information age where almost anything is available at the fingertips of a person with an internet connection and a modicum of reseatch prowess. It's bloody wonderful, I love it! I certainly wouldn't want to go back to the "dark ages" when you had to traipse down to the library to read information that was probably at least a year old, if not much older, and therefore outdated.
However, with the advent of blogging and emailing, are we burying all possibility of future generations to access our thoughts in the decades to come?
I mean, sure, our thoughts are "on the net" readily accessible to everyone if we want them to be, but for how long? What happens to these blogs, and these emails after 10 years? Or 20 years? What about 100 years from now. Will they still be accessible. Will historians in 100 years time be able to track down the intimate thoughts of the worlds movers and shakers at the end of the 20th century, or the beginnning of the 21st?
Are we in the process of starving history by not putting our words and thoughts on paper that might last 1000 yesrs when computer harddrives have rusted and been corrupted?
I don't like to think about this too deeply, because it's actually a bit unnerving, don't you think?
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