A shy violet keeps a library & information science scrapbook.
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Books have worked the same way, more or less, for centuries. They are a remarkably intuitive technology. Open, read, close. “Or if you have a photo album, you know exactly what that is,” says Bill LeFurgy, who works for the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program at the library. “It’s self-evident. It’s self-describing.”
Now consider the disc, compact or floppy. The disc is not intuitive. The disc may contain photographs, but the disc will not show them to you unless you know how to open it — which, as everyone relocates to the Cloud, will become an increasingly antique skill. In 75 years, the disc will be modern civilization’s hieroglyph; the Rosetta Stone will be the yellowed user manual of an Apple IIe.
While books have endured unchanged, other forms of technology have bred with the speed of invertebrate insects, multiple generations each decade: 8-tracks, cassettes, CDs, flash drives, Google docs, Pinterest boards — old things abandoned for new things in increasingly short life cycles.
“I worry about this,” LeFurgy says. Library of Congress’s collection preserves history of American culture (via thelifeguardlibrarian)