I am starting to make better use of my Twitter aggregator, Paper.Li.
In the last week I have been taken to some posts that I would have missed in the daily flow of tweets and exchanges.
For example, I found a danah boyd post that led me to this tweet:
which took me to Anil’s post and the 158 comments it stimulated. Anil starts the post with these observations:
The tech industry and its press have treated the rise of billion-scale social networks and ubiquitous smartphone apps as an unadulterated win for regular people, a triumph of usability and empowerment. They seldom talk about what we’ve lost along the way in this transition, and I find that younger folks may not even know how the web used to be. So here’s a few glimpses of a web that’s mostly faded away …
One of the comments (by Ryan Sholin) was:
Of all these things, I miss Technorati the most, but I also miss the culture of blogging that powered it. Now we (well, Anil and Jason and Gruber and obviously many prominent others excluded) barely use our blogs, content to share half-passively, doing things like posting a comment and leaving the box checked to post it to Facebook as a method of exposing our thoughts on a link to a wider audience.
Perhaps moving six cubic metres of stone aggregate recently during house renovations has overly sensitised me to the medium but I was interested to note that aggregate has interstices (small openings or spaces between objects, especially adjacent objects or objects set closely together). Paper.Li is taken me to some of those spaces and is helping me connect macro themes with granular detail.
It seems to me that if we do talk about aggregation, we need to discuss record keeping and curation too. Paper.Li helped me with that today too. At the end of last month, the Recordkeeping Roundtable, in partnership with the Australian Society of Archivists, held a two day workshop in Sydney; ‘Reinventing Archival Methods’. Radio National’s Future Tense program reported on the workshop.
Over two days participants in the workshop explored “how we can fundamentally reassess our methods and determine what can be done to create a stable archival record of the 21st century”. There is an excellent resource (compiled by Cassie Findlay) that came out of the workshop.
I was struck by Cassie’s introduction:
In 1986 David Bearman first argued that our core methods of appraisal, description, preservation and access were fundamentally unable to cope with the volumes of information that archivists were required to process. He called on the profession to completely reinvent its core methods. While much has been done in the intervening 25 years, as a profession our methods are still ill-equipped to deal with the volume, fragility and complexity of contemporary archival records.
I recall that Claude Debussy suggested that music is the “space between notes”. Paper.Li is helping me with some of the spaces in my information interests.
On this journey I have thought about what we have lost and gained in the transformation of the web. It has been great having danah, Anil, Ryan and Cassie as guides.