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Re: transmission (was "Digital Dark Age")

Actually, Dorothy, I AM an optimist! 8-)...it's one of the reasons I went
back to Library School, but it's also the reason that I am a consultant for
a major software company.

And, yes, it is about the dual needs of the transmission of knowledge...it
IS an extraordinarily fragile process and requires tremendous support from
all quarters.


PS. I hope my comments are NOT misconstrued as a dump Msr. Fletcher...it's
just that much of this road is so well-traveled on other lists (Archives-L
being a prime example) and it wish that more evidence of a broader
perspective, ie., one tempered by exposure to a wide range of intellectual
and practical endeavor, was exhibited when discussing these topics. "The
truth" may be  out there, but ya gotta take the initiative to go look for

Read the articles in question first. Then read the responses to those articles.

And, yup, Dorothy's last question is the FIRST one that should be asked...

Pax et flora,


> Now, now, Dennis, let us not dump on Mr. Fletcher.  Somebody has to be
>the optimist around here!  The discussion raises the point that the
>transmission of knowledge really requires two things, 1) a durable,
>accessible, credible medium 2) the ability of future generations to use
>it.  Yes, clay tablets survive, but how many people can read them? We
>read them because a collection of intermediaries survive, texts that
>explain how to read the dead language written in still living languages.
> Same for computer tech. if we can supply the necessary intermediaries,
>we can use the older computer records as long as they themselves last.
>The trouble is that the intermediaries become part of what has to be
>saved, as well as the primary materials themselves, and we are well past
>critical mass for the sheer amount of info we have to save on a wide
>variety of media.  Every generation of the living, must, like it or not,
>make a choice of what it passes on.  There isn't an old book that comes
>into our hands (to get back to familar ground!) that hasn't survived
>numerous private decisions about saving or discarding.  For people that
>work in the field of preservation (librarians, collectors, bookbinders,
>pack rats...)the first question is not how to save, but whether.
>  Dorothy Africa

"That so few now dare to be eccentric, marks the chief danger of the time"
--John Stuart Mill (1806-73)

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