digital knowledge. digital culture. digital memory.


Preserving blogs for posterity

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Several weeks ago, I wrote a post about the importance of preserving semi-formal Pacific scholarship [Gaps in the collection of Pacific scholarship]. This is the so called lost literature that is ripe for harvesting by institutional repository programs. And I singled out the University of Hawaii and the University of the South Pacific as logical homes for such repositories.

In the light of this I was interested to read about the recent program at the National Library of Scotland to collect blog posts and other digital material of prominent citizens.

The National Library of Scotland is to create an archive of the blogs, journals and e-mails of leading Scots, which curators claim are the manuscripts of the 21st century, writes Karin Goodwin.

The scheme, which has been awarded £1.8m by the Scottish executive, will be launched over the next two years. The library’s "digital repository" is expected to quickly outstrip its physical collection of books and papers.

The websites and blogs of leading cultural figures, including writers such as JK Rowling and Alasdair Gray, will become prime exhibits.

Digital curators will also save digital source material such as personal e-mails, which they believe will be used as primary research material by academics and biographers.
[National Library to store blogs, The Sunday Times, September 10, 2006]

This is a welcome development. Certainly emails are the personal letters of the 21st century, although I would describe blogs as the diaries and journals of the 21st century rather than the manuscripts.

A related initiative at the British Library took place earlier this month known as the "One Day in History" project.

The details of a day in the lives of hundreds of thousands of Britons will reportedly be recorded and compiled into a digital time capsule that will be stored permanently at the British Library.

The "One Day in History" project, described as a "blog for the national record," will feature British celebrities such as actors Stephen Fry and Derek Jacobi, and the writer Bill Bryson contributing to the compilation, along with any Briton with access to the Internet who wants to participate.
[British Library to store 'blog' of lives of Britons: report, AFP, October 14, 2006]

This gives me another good idea for a Fiji blog project!


Anonymous said...

Forgive me if you already knew this, but last year (or perhaps the year before) I recall some Australian bloggers mentioning that the Australian National Library and contacted them and asked whether they could archive their blogs on an ongoing basis. I'm pretty sure The Currency Lad and Troppo Armadillo were on the list, but there were plenty of others even more obscure than those two. So that's another regional library that might provide some insights into the whole thing.

On an unrelated matter, I notice that my blog has been picked up for your South Pacific feed (V. mentioned it in her last post). If you don't mind, I think I'd probably prefer to drop out of that distinguished company. My subject matter is mostly defence-related and I'd hate to cast a pall on the otherwise 'pacific' South Pacific feed. I'm not too worried about new readers -- I'm generally five minutes away from giving up blogging anyway. (And it was probably me who stuffed up the feed last week as well. I ended up republishing about 300 posts with new 'labels' when I switched over to a new version of Blogger, so that's what probably introduced all those old posts.)

Feel free to pop by the old-fashioned way though.

Cheers, FM

Set Condition One

mpb said...

Wouldn't the Wayback Machine help?