Monday, 20 June 2016

metadata or mal d’archive

Fraught with the prospect of a digital dark age where our “content” has been either corralled in walled-gardens that can both facilitate communication or become a memory-hole at the whim of fortune, interest and competitive forces (reflect for a moment on all the effort spent cultivating a mySpace profile or application to any number of now defunct services) or are all but lost to rampantly changing forms of media storage (think what might be forever trapped in a spool of CDs that one does not even have the player for any more or in one’s old digital picture frame—like General Zod and the other criminals from Krypton) and presentation in incompatible software, the internet’s founders are launching an initiative to make the work of a few dedicated archivists much more distributed and less tied to any single agenda, no matter how altruistic or self-interested.
In part, like voluntarily over-sharing too much about what we’d prefer to be private and not construed with little detective-work, it is our own fault that so much of what we’ve created is subject to segregation, forgetting or censorship, and the impetus to return to a landscape that’s organic and a bit unkempt is strong for a lot of reasons.  Certainly there’s no way of knowing what sort of studious record-keeping (in any format and on any subject) might benefit future generations and as awash as we might be with the onslaught of information and different ways to leverage and nuance it, there is no need for something to pass to the ages by our own negligence. Who can say? The cookies and tokens of today might even have an important structural or descriptive component (and may even be the engines behind an internet that backs itself up) that we cannot not appreciate in this contemporary billboard jungle.