11 September 2013

For Biographers, The Past Is An Open (Electronic) Book

Used Under: Creative Commons License, Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic

Keeping with a recent blog post theme of what to keep and what not to keep and what that means for future family history researchers, please read For Biographers, The Past Is An Open (Electronic) Book who introduction starts out with:

For centuries, biographers have relied on letters to bring historical figures to life, whether Gandhi or Catherine the Great. But as people switch from writing on paper to documenting their lives electronically, biographers are encountering new benefits — and new challenges...

[the post goes on to say] ... A lot of us think electronic communications live forever. But if someone won't give up his emails, or takes his passwords with him to the grave, or if he used software that's now outdated, his records may be lost...

If you’ve ever been to an archive and accessed the private collection of an individual or family with its letters, diaries, logs, and more, you know exactly the kind of “intimate” communication that you might miss out on if modern individuals don’t ensure that what they “write” will be available to future researchers.

Other recent Upfront with NGS posts about “preserving” records for the future:

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1 comment:

  1. Good post and I agree completely! I actually blogged about this very topic on August 20th at Filiopietism Prism, "When All The Paper Is Gone, What Will We Have Lost?"

    How many of us can access the letters and dcouments we have or had on floppy disks not so many years ago -- unless we went to the effort to tranfer them as technology moved on? Paper is a medium that has been around for centuries upon centuries and is accessible today in basically the same way it was when created -- pick it up and read it. Will this be true in say 100 years for the digitized records we are creating today?