December 11, 2006

PoM Closing Keynote: Stewardship in the 21st Century

NEDCC Persistence of Memory Conference
Closing Keynote Speaker: Clifford Lynch, Coalition for Networked Information

Step back and think about the whole notion of stewardship... (uses the environment as an example)

"law" vs "custom" for preservation of intellectual work

Ramifications of IT (Not starting with digital, but the massive treasure-houses of physical holdings we already have)
- Physical collections are more at risk now than ever
- Now have the ability to produce better & better surrogates for physical itemss
- Stewardship used to mean protection; now it means both protection and dissemination

Now, to digital collections
- Not just what we usually think of, but also "born electronic" items like film, sound recordings, etc
-- massive amount of poorly stewarded stuff

- The advent of increasingly database-driven information is negatively impacting historical research
-- example: Lists of flights to cities from NYC in 1965 (relatively easy to obtain) vs 2005 (very hard)

- Future digital material defies description even more
-- example: MySpace, Second Life

- Discussion of storage versus non-storage issues
-- all of a person's writings versus data output from the Large Hadron Collider or current astronomical institutions

- Privacy & liability issues change as data ages
- Need to be wise about how we use material

Characteristics of preserving & curating
- Endless writings about the technical issues are available
- Tendency to stress aout deep-time and obsess about formats
- If the bits don't make it to next month, there's not much worry about your descendents being able to read it!
-- need to focus on the near-time issues in order to get to the deep-time ones

*It's not IT that does it, it's organization!*

Fragility of data these days
- example: Used to be it was hard to unpublish something, but now it can be done with a keystroke

Futur of special collections will be the individual.

No comments: