Tag Archives: history

Preserving Information: It’s Not Magic, It’s People (And it takes a lot of work!)

A view of the archives of Alpine County, CA.
A view of the archives of Alpine County, CA.

Do you remember what it was like doing research and writing papers in the Stone Age? When the most accessible fonts of knowledge we had occurred the forms of gigantic sets of encyclopedias, miles worth of microfilm, and card catalogs so large that they could easily fill up one of today’s server farms? If you don’t, then we might not be able to be friends.

Okay, I’m just joking there.  (Or, am I?) But there is a strange yet noticeable divide growing between the traditional and the digital when it comes to accessing information. I see it all the time in my work. When people ask if we have a certain bit of historical data in our archives/library, the first question is not longer “is it available?” but “is it digitized?” (Or, likewise, “can I view it online?”) This question doesn’t just come from young students who grew up with iPads in hand, but seasoned scholars, those with well-preserved pasts in the information Stone Age and futures in the all-encompassing digital world. And it’s not something I’m immune to myself. I’ve done plenty of Internet searches for tidbits of information that I can’t see to find. There are still lots of (hidden) vital nodes of our culture that can’t be located online (yet).

Continue reading Preserving Information: It’s Not Magic, It’s People (And it takes a lot of work!)

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A life, through computers

The other day, an short post appeared on Kotaku titled “Explaining Microsoft Windows’ Evolution Is Simple” that featured this image uploaded by Twitter by user @kataoka_k.

windowshouses

It made me chuckle, and it made me feel ancient. As the post and some commenters point out, this “history” omits a few operating systems like DOS, Windows 1, 2, and 3, and Windows ME. I’ve not used all these systems, but I’ve been exposed to most of them throughout my life either at home, school, or work. But my personal history with computers dates from before even DOS, when I learned to program in BASIC on our TRS-80 Color Computer.

If it doesn't look like it could do much, well, that's because it didn't.
If it doesn’t look like it could do much, well, that’s because it didn’t. (source)

The TRS-80 was nicknamed “Trash-80” for good reason — it wasn’t much of a computer.   Continue reading A life, through computers

Whatcha gonna do with that history degree?

Image from Flickr user Northeast Document Conservation Center
Image by Flickr user Northeast Document Conservation Center

I realized the other day that this year marks 20 years since I ended high school and began college. 20 years?!  Um, ick. And where the hell did the all that time go? [Sigh.] Because nostalgia is a bitch (that I surely love), of course my college beginnings have filtered back into my mind. Ahhhh….those days. Those days when was I cast into the “real world” and treated like an “adult.” Those days where I had the freedom to screw up and around in ways I never imagined. Those years of having to make decisions without really thinking of the consequences. Those years where guidance about college majors and jobs was never really guided, but rather was mostly left up to my own devices and sometimes poor choices. I certainly didn’t follow a yellow brick road to my current job, and I definitely didn’t think that acing a few high school history classes would ever lead to something bigger.

Continue reading Whatcha gonna do with that history degree?