Email Is Changing the Way We Communicate and Historians Are Worried

There's a treasure-trove of computer-generated communications sitting out there amongst business, government and significant people that is not available to historians and biographers. There is no way to access, manage and use it. So, what's the problem? Apparently, it's the future. Without these digital communications, generations who follow will lose opportunities for valuable insight and understanding as to the who, what, why and how of our lives, says Peter Gottlieb, State Archivist of Wisconsin. The Rest Of The Story.


to quote myself from my blog:
During the Civil War, their twelve-year old boys wrote with pen and ink:
"It is with an infinite sadness that the news of your recent illness has reached my ears. Yet President Lincoln's latest speech has strengthened our resolve to weather this latest unpleasantness of battle with confidence and stout brotherhood. The cherry blossoms are in bloom and I have been inspired to knit a colorful eye patch for my recent wound."

But when a future Ken Burns does his PBS special on life in the early 21st Century, he won't have any source material other than some text message retrieved from a twelve-year old's battered cell phone:
()/\/\‡6 ¿00 Þ\/\//\/I) /\/()()3 I()I

Which will inspire the appropriately titled: WTF? Ken Burns looks at the 21st Century.

read the rest here: Burn, Baby, Burn

I don't think that the days of widespread illiteracy, unceasing war, poverty, no fire departments or police, and religiously incited destruction of books and letters was any kinder an environment than a world of ephemeral electronic messages and inscrutable text message lingo.

History isn't (or shouldn't be) the way your house looks when company gets there.

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