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Monthly Archives: March 2011

We Need Archives!

The readings this week have further focused on archives and the concept ‘archive fever’. I find all this talk of ‘archive fever’ very interesting. With technology advancing, there are more and more ways to publish, and with most forms of publishing being digital, it creates more instances where people will publish, therefore creating more archives. Almost everything is being archived and documented. People are now blogging and using various social media websites to write every little thing they do (Facebook and Twitter). In this way, more and more archives are being created (even though some are difficult to retrieve). These social media websites help us see how we’ve changed or what we liked doing in the past.

Archives allow us to see how we’ve progressed as a society, how things have changed, and how to improve ourselves. They tell us what’s ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ our culture. What this means is, if something isn’t preserved and archived, how do we know if it existed? There isn’t any evidence, therefore it has left our culture and history forever. Archive websites such as http://omeka.org and www.apartheidarchive.org allow us to easily access documents, images and articles about certain topics and the history of particular topics. This is done to preserve records of our history so we don’t repeat mistakes of the past and we can better ourselves for the future. I think this is a very important point and this is why archives are so important.

We can learn from our mistakes by looking at archives

Picture Source: http://www.mta.ca/library/archives/index.html

I discussed my next point in my last post, but I’d like to repeat it. The problem with archiving online publications is that they’re unstable. By that I mean that anything published online can be changed, edited, altered or deleted at any time quite easily, so if a web page hasn’t been archived before it’s been changed, then a part of history has been lost forever.

Even though online publishing has allowed us to produce more archives than we otherwise would have, it has also created a desire in everyone to have the most updated and recent information. We want and expect the most up to date information because we know it’s possible and it’s in the now. Who wouldn’t want real-time information? It keeps our knowledge of the world current which is great. However, there is a bad side to online publishing. It has reduced our interest in archiving because information becomes outdated in a matter of hours. This begs the question: Is our interest in preserving the past dwindling? Are people now only interested in what’s happening at this very moment? This seems the case with the popularity of Facebook and Twitter. A lot of valuable information could be lost and forgotten if people aren’t interested in archiving.

The good thing about online publishing is that it’s made us archive more than ever. Because it’s so easy to do, everyone is publishing things they wouldn’t have ordinarily published, allowing for more archiving. Before the revolution of online publishing, it would’ve been too time consuming and difficult. Now, there are numerous ways to archive: saving files, tagging, bookmarking, emailing, writing on social media websites and adding pages to Favourites. So, in summary, online publishing has made it easy to archive, and easy to access archives too!

Although, I’ve always wondered whether posting messages on social media websites is a form of archiving because I wasn’t sure if we permanently lose the messages we write. Well, I know for a fact that Twitter stores and saves all our Tweets, which makes it archiving. Take a look at the video:


However, there is a slight problem with archives. They allow us to look into the past and keep a record of the past, but ask yourself the question: is it really a record of the past? To me, it’s a trace of the past, not the actual past. You don’t know any of the circumstances surrounding the archive. It could look like one thing, but mean something different (this applies more to photos and images than perhaps writing). For example, let’s just say that there is a photo of someone smiling at their birthday party. This would infer that the person is happy at the time the photo was taken. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean they were happy. They could’ve just been smiling for the photo. The photo portrays the person was happy on their birthday, but they could’ve in actual fact just smiled for that split second to look happy in the photo, but be miserable for the rest of the night.

How do we really know these girls were happy on the day the photo was taken?

Picture Source: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3532/3741086396_da49369ae7.jpg

It’s a bit of a far-fetched example, but it works to explain my point. Even if this point is valid, archives tell us more about the past then we would have known if archives didn’t exist, which is why we need them!

Bibliography

Ogle, Matthew (2010) ‘Archive Fever: A love letter to the post real-time web’, mattogle.com, December 16, <http://mattogle.com/archivefever/>

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Technology Is Changing The Way We Live Our Lives

The readings this week have focused on the Actor-network theory and how this theory would apply to technologies, humans and the social. The theory seems to emphasise the idea that all these things are interrelated, and if one things changes, it changes the others within the network. For example, technology is constantly changing before our very eyes, and it’s changing the way we do things as well. There are more and more technologies available to enable easy publishing, anyone can publish and information is becoming available to anyone who wants it or has access to technology.

All the actants involved in this network are constantly changing: the human and non-human. All the technologies: computers, laptops, the Internet, Ipads, E books, Kindles, Nooks, Blackberries and mobile phones are slowly replacing paper, ink, books, journals and printed works. This change in the network is changing other parts of the network: humans and the social, how we interact, how we complete certain tasks and how we live our lives.

 People are now able to access information with the click of a button wherever they go. People used to talk to each other face to face, because that was the only option available, but now it’s more convenient to text, email, Facebook or Twitter someone. Any change in technology affects the human way of life and social interaction. If you ask someone today if they could survive without their phone or the Internet for a few days, their answer would most likely be no, or at the very least, they would admit they would greatly struggle.

It’s not only difficult for the individual to stop using such technologies because that’s all they’ve ever known; it’s also the world itself and the rest of human civilization. Technology advancements have changed the world forever: how people communicate and the daily routines of individuals. All these technologies are seen as the norm of how to do things. If you transported someone from the 21st century to the 1950s, they would struggle, because the technologies of the 21st century weren’t being used in the 1950s. The person wouldn’t know how regular daily tasks were done in the 1950s without the technologies they’ve known all their life.  You can’t contact your friend through any social media site, email them, or text them. All these ways of publishing didn’t exist back then.

Technology in the 21st century has made it easier than ever to communicate with each other

                                       Picture source: http://lolzombie.com/tag/facebook/page/2/

As publishing is so easy now, people seem to publish every little thing that goes on in their lives through social media websites. This sometimes makes it difficult to start a conversation when meeting someone face to face. Have you ever tried so hard to think of a question to break the ice, and you finally think of something to talk about, but the other person responds with, “Oh yeah, I heard about that on Facebook…” *Insert awkward silence here*. And you think to yourself, should I even go on?

Or you’ve been that person who has said you’ve heard about it on Facebook, and you’re not sure if you should’ve mentioned that you’ve heard about it or not. It just seems to make the whole conversation and relationship with the other person impersonal, shallow and fake, when potentially there could’ve been a strong connection.

Social media websites have made it more awkward to talk face to face with someone because they have diminished the conversation starters you would normally bring up

             Picture source: http://www.thedatingrulebook.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/awkward_silence.jpg

According to the Actor-network theory, such actor-networks are “potentially transient, existing in a constant making and re-making.” This means that relations need to be repeatedly “performed” or the network will dissolve (Actor-network theory, Wikipedia 2011) . So, for technologies to continue to develop, grow and change, people need to keep using them. People need to continually use technology for it to stay within the network.

There are the few people from older generations who have not succumbed to the pressure of using new technologies, because they never used them when they were growing up, and see themselves as too old to start learning how to use them now. This is an example of a conflict in the network.  

As publishing changes, so does the way in which we live our lives. If we want a book, we don’t have to leave our house (E-books). To talk to our friends, we don’t have to even hear their voice (texting, email, Facebook, Twitter). To publish something ourselves, we don’t have to meet with a publisher and we can let everyone know what our opinion is on a particular subject (the Internet).

People also feel comfortable publishing things they ordinarily wouldn’t publish in real life on the Internet because they can remain anonymous.  This has allowed us to discover new things about the human psyche and discover more about ourselves, pushing human civilization forward with ideas, concepts and knowledge.

The ease of publishing nowadays is also creating more archives, but at the same time, these archives can be easily lost. As the Internet is a major platform for publishing, web pages can be edited and deleted permanently without them being archived. In a way, we have lost a piece of history if we are unable to retrieve a web page that was once made. There are also other ways to archive e.g. Facebook, email, text messages and Youtube. As long as they’re not deleted, they’re archives, because you can retrieve them at a later date. Archiving is important as it allows us to see how our civilization is developing, who we are and what our culture is etc. With all these new technologies that exist, archiving electronically is becoming more common. I myself am more comfortable with archives being in print form as I still see it as more permanent if it’s physically there. I also think people are sometimes forgetting to archive things nowadays because a lot of publications are electronic, even if it’s possible.

References

Actor Network Theory’ (2011) Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Actor-network_theory>

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

The Digital Age Is Changing The World Of Publishing

The world of publishing is constantly changing, and the biggest technological revolution that has changed the world of publishing is the internet. It’s changed print publishing forever, as more information is digitised and put on the internet instead. Of course, there are also technologies such as the Ipad and the Kindle that have changed publishing, as these technologies have caused a decline in physical copies of newspapers and books being purchased.  There seems to be more information available to us everyday, which of course is a good thing, but at times it can cause information overload.

The internet has also introduced the world of social media sites, which has changed the way publishing is done. The emergence of Twitter, Youtube and Facebook allows anyone to publish anything they want, making all content available to anyone who has the internet. Blogging sites such as WordPress, Tumblr and Blogger have made it easier than ever for anyone to write about anything they want and for it to be read by anyone who wants to read it. These publishing sites make it very easy to provide links to other social media websites. For example, a link to a Youtube video can be put on a blog site. Publishing has never been so easy, but there are some problems associated with this ease.

Now that everyone is able to publish, how do you know if what you’re reading is true or reliable? Has the information been edited or checked to make sure it’s genuine? As more information is being published on the internet for everyone to read, there is a growing concern that not everything you read is true. There are certain things to be on the lookout for to make sure information is genuine. With a website such as Wikipedia, which is a collaborative publishing site, there are footnotes that provide links to where the information was obtained. If those links transfer you to websites that are of a credible status, then you can be sure the information on Wikipedia is reliable too. Government websites, educational institution websites and links to the author (providing the author is of credible status) of the website are all ways to be sure information is genuine. The amount of information available sometimes makes it more difficult to find the information you want. At the present time information is easy to obtain, but it takes more time to filter through all the junk that you don’t want to read, whereas before the revolution of digital publishing took place, it was the other way around.

With technology advancing, the way in which publishing is done is changing so rapidly. The internet has changed publishing, providing free information for all to read. This is causing major problems for newspaper companies (Carr and David 2010), because instead of readers buying a printed version of a newspaper, they are turning to the internet, because it pretty much has the same information and has more interactive links such as videos and comments of what other people think about a certain article. This is obviously causing newspaper companies to lose revenue and is making it difficult for these companies to maximise profits.

The New York Times is reportedly going to implement a pay wall so that once someone accesses 20 articles, you have to pay to have unlimited access to articles (Carr and David 2010). Now, I’m just not entirely sure this is going to work. People have been used to having access to free content, so why would they all of a sudden be happy to pay to get information when they could get if from another site for free? The only way this would possibly work is if the New York Times articles are somehow superior and of higher quality than its competitors. Don’t get me wrong, there will always be some people who will be willing to pay a subscription of unlimited access to articles, but I think the majority would reject this idea, especially those who read NYT online but have never subscribed. We are already paying for internet access to read these articles. So, maybe the newspaper companies could arrange a deal with broadband companies and somehow strike a deal. After all, aren’t these newspaper companies attracting people to use the internet more often?

References

Busfield, Steve (2010) ‘Guardian editor hits back at paywalls’, The Guardian, January 25, <http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/jan/25/guardian-editor-paywalls>

Carr, David (2010) ‘Dialing in a Plan: The Times Installs a Meter on Its Future’, The New York Times, January 20, <http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/20/dialing-in-a-plan-the-times-installs-a- meter-on-its-future/>

Websites discussed

www.blogger.com

www.facebook.com

www.twitter.com

www.wordpress.com

www.tumblr.com

www.youtube.com

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

E-books Will Change Our Experiences With Books Forever

A number of readings of this week discuss the E-book revolution and how this technology has changed the world of book selling and book publishing. I found this reading quite insightful as it discusses the huge impact E-books are having on the book selling and publishing world, and how everything will change from here on in.

One of the major advantages of the E-book is how readily available it is no matter what time or where, and that is a wonderful thing. Some days I can’t be bothered to go to the shops to buy a book I want to read, which is briefly discussed in the radio interview (Osnos 2010), but if all I have to do is click a button to retrieve a certain book, then I would most definitely read it that day. So in a way, E-books are encouraging people to read more than they would have if E-books didn’t exist, and that’s a good thing.

E-books have emerged because of new technologies such as the Kindle and Ipad, which have made it more convenient to purchase, carry and read books. The mobile application Social Books is making reading much more interactive, where people can leave public notes on a particular book they’ve read, even in certain chapters (Wortham 2010) . All these technologies aren’t just changing the way we’re reading books, it’s changing the experience of reading altogether.

However, I have a few issues with the E-book revolution. I feel in some way it diminishes the historical value associated with a book. Up until now we have books from decades and centuries ago that can be seen as part of history. You know those books from long ago that start looking a bit tattered and mouldy? To me, they seem to somehow tell the reader what time period the book came from, and for me it adds more to the story I’m reading. It creates some kind of background and context of the book. Can E-books do that? No.

E-books for me also seem to lose the idea that you can actually own a book. Are you really owning it if you’re reading a digital copy? There is no evidence that you own a book if there is nothing tangible about it. Why is that so important you ask? Well, maybe it’s not to some, but for others, they are generally proud of the things they own and want to show others, and that idea is completely gone with the E-book revolution.

I also feel that the E-book revolution will cause a decrease in people purchasing physical books (well, this is pretty much inevitable) and in some way, I think that we are losing a bit of what books are all about. I know I know, purchasing or borrowing a tangible book takes more time and preparation than having a book available to you with one touch of a button. Yes, E-books are quicker to get and are readily available for everyone to read, but isn’t half the fun of books actually owning your own copy, to put in your book shelf, and to have a story to go with why you bought a particular book? For example, what about the excitement the Harry Potter novels created, and all the children lining up at book stores for hours on end just to grab a copy and start reading it as soon as possible? Yes, they had to wait, but it was an experience those children will never forget, meeting other fans and even dressing up for the occasion. Again, that experience is not possible with E-books.

A lot of books also contain sentimental value, like if someone gives a book to you on your birthday, and a little personalised message is written at the front, it just makes it that little more special. And again, I’ll come back to historical value. It’s a physical thing that can be passed down through the generations and be seen as an important item in a family’s history. That simply can’t be done with an E-book. It seems like all things special associated with purchasing a book will now be lost because of the E-book revolution, and I somehow find it a bit sad.

It seems technology sometimes makes us lose those special little moments in life all for the sake of convenience. With technology moving so quickly, will those special little moments be eradicated forever and will we have any memories or stories associated with a certain book in the future? Only time will tell.

References

 Lehrer, Jonah (2010) ‘The Future of Reading’, Wired, September 8, <http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/09/the-future-of-reading-2>

Osnos, National Public Radio (2010) ‘E-Book Boom Changes Book Selling And Publishing’, December 21, <http://www.npr.org/2010/12/21/132235154/e-book-boom-changes-book-selling-and-publishing>

Wortham, Jenna (2010) ‘Social Books Hopes to Make E-Reading Communal’, New York Times, November 11, <http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/11/social-books-hopes-to-make-e-reading-communal/>

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!

 
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Posted by on March 8, 2011 in Uncategorized