31 July 2013

Data Glut -- Are we creating a headache for our descendants and future historians?

Creative Commons, Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic

As I have felt increasingly overwhelmed with all the information out there – more and more FB posts, tweets, blogs, Google+ discussions, LinkedIn dialogues, images, videos and much more – I sometimes think that we are not doing those in the future any favors.

Apparently, someone else feels the same way as discussed in the article An Open Letter to the Historians of the 22nd Century: Sorry for all the stuff.

As family historians, we crave anything written by our ancestors – no matter how minimalist.  As the author says “...In contrast, future historians of my era (for whom this post is written) will have information, both useful and useless, sprayed at them with a fire hose. It’s worth thinking about how you future historians can sift through the flood of primary-source material ...”

And, though I am much better at organizing my images in folders labeled with dates and sometimes places, I do not re-label the individual image files and so I greatly identified with this statement, “Sorry about all of my files undescriptively labeled DSCimage987234534.jpg and GrantProposal2,docx. Sorry for the mess.”

With the plethora of “stuff” out there – what can we do to not overwhelm our descendants and future historians?



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