Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Turning Your Life Into Bits -- Part 2

Dennis Moser wrote a thoughtful comment to my posting on MyLifeBits (Article: Turning Your Life Into Bits, Indexed). He takes exception to the use of the word "archive" which is used in the original article and which I also used. Moser wrote:
This is not an archives, unless it can be shown that there has been an arrangement of the material collected that provides us a context for its' assembly and existence as a 'collection.'

While it is clearly a 'collection' by most any definition, it lacks the process of appraisal that distinguishes any 'archival' one. The two terms I've used, 'arrangement' and 'appraisal' both have a specific meaning with the field of archivy.
Unfortunately, the word "archive" just means repository, while those who work in archives (and are indeed archivists) see it to be much more than that (and rightly so).

In The Laws Of Archivy compiled by Terry Abraham, he notes that:
Garbage is garbage, no matter how long you keep it.
This is true with both hardcopy and electronic materials. Gordon Bell has amassed gigabytes of information from his life, but it is all necessary? What if the information had been appraised? Would they find that some of is garbage and should not be saved?

Turning back to digitization, let's remember that the goal is not to digitize everything, but to digitized what will be useful and used. There must be some appraisal of the materials or you may find that you're digitizing junk.

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