Group Notes Week 2/1/10 (Group B)
Image from Sharon Carlson
General Ideas For The Week:
Ideas From The Reading:
The class then continued on to Jacques Derrida’s rambling book of fun called Archive Fever. Derrida compared archives to toy boards by stating that you can erase files but small marks will always be left behind on each. Cornelia Vismann’s article “Out of File, Out of Mind” talks about the archive’s role in the German government when files mysteriously disappeared after the regime of a previous chancellor ended. However, a search ended up finding 99 backup files. This highlighted one of the many differences between traditional and digital archives: method of disposal.
For Thursday, much of our discussion stemmed from Wendy Hui Kyong Chun's article "The Enduring Ephemeral, or the Future Is a Memory." In her article, Chun touched on the difficulty scholars have had in keeping up with new technology, especially new media and the digital archive. Because digital information is technically now available 24/7, past scholars believed that establishing theories around online phenomenons and predicting their futures would be easy. However, as time as shown, the digital archive online - where the phenomenon of today, may not be the phenomenon of tomorrow - is extremely difficult to grasp with its everchanging ways.
Three important questions brought up during our Thursday discussion on the academic community "playing catch up" in their analysis of new media included:
1. Does product development currently have an actual contribution on societal development?
2. If an internet archive were to be created, "Best of the Best" as it were, is there REALLY any way to determine what is "good" info?
3. Should academics evolve their process to adapt to new technologies?
Two important discussion issues were brought up by Julie nearing the end of section as well.
Firstly, there was the topic discussed in the Ernst article of searches needing greater parameters and the fact that creating filters is a necessity that is required for the creation of an archive. Many of us acknowledged that online archives already do exist to a degree in the form of databases, where a plethora of scholarly journals have been uploaded for public viewing. However, as a class, we agreed that there are dangers in who actually decides to determine which information is valuable and worth uploading and which information is not. One of the beauties of the internet is that it escapes the hierarchy of who gets to choose what is available because everything is available. To counter that ideal, someone asked "at what point does the proliferation of information become too much? When does it become an overflow?" Does having so much information available make it so that we don't understand any of it? Many people suggested instead that this proliferation leads to "the cocktail effect," where people start falling into specific niches of information, instead of trying to absorb all of it. We delete or ignore things that are irrelevant to us.
Included in this discussion was also the question of the human aspect altering things due to the fact that the content of multimedia is really only content to humans. To machines, content is merely data, thus the reason patter matches seem more effective than content matches.
Secondly, there was an emphasis put on the great level of difference between a traditional archive and the "digital archive." The main differences given attention were the fact that a traditional archive is concrete, not ever changing as the digital archive is. The digital archive is less subjective given it is controlled by machines. The two archives take up space in a different way. It is the space model versus the time model. The digital archive just uses bandwidth and is accessed through time as opposed to being stored in an actual building. However the physical archive can be finitely destroyed whereas the digital archive is much, much more difficult to delete entirely (due to traces of it that might exist out of the creator's control, such as an index or something). Discussed near the end of section was also the issue that there is a great difference between the level of accessibility between the two archives. it is much more difficult to limit access to digital archives due to the fact that anything can be saved externally once access is given to any one person, and in that way the digital archive transcends the idea of an information hierarchy.
Furthering The Discussion -
Related Articles on Internet Filtering and Control:
Last updated 1197 days ago by Christina Carroll
Great notes! I appreciate that you focused more on synthesizing than on summarizing the material. This is an ideal balance of short synopses of main ideas/texts and longer consideration of the ensuing questions from discussion. However, where are key terms? Also these links are useful, but you could have done more with outside sources.
I will note, again, that diligently editing your collaborative notes Tuesday-Friday enables the most comprehensive "archive" of our work when it's fresh in your limited human memory store. I think that you covered many of the most important and interesting topics that came up this week. There's certainly more that you could have included or expanded, though. For example, our brainstorming of the contrasting archive modalities (copied from the board):
TRADITIONAL vs. DIGITAL archive
permanent vs. ephemeral
human/state organized vs. robot/algorithm organized
space vs. time
limited access (finite copies) vs. difficult to limit access (infinite copies)
difficult to delete but possible to delete permanently vs. easy to erase but difficult to erase permanently (Hagen)
Julie Levin Russo 1192 days ago