If we Really Read Bradbury, Orwell [et.al]...

The following thoughts come in the afternath of reading the article entitled New Look for Bradbury's 'Fahrenheit 451' from Publisher's Weekly http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6654436.html?industryid=47140/. As a lover of Ray Bradbury's work, as well as that of George Orwell and other futuristic authors, I pose a few questions.

If we really read Bradbury, Orwell [et.al]...

Would we be so quick to put our words into an electronic format which is so easily changeable.

Would we be so quick to weed children's books because of a "lead paint" problem.

Would we forsake our personal reading time for time with social media.

Would we continue to call ourselves information technologists, rather than the noble term of librarian.

I hate to be a bother, but I just had to ask.

Comments

Pennies from a Wired Lady

Would we be so quick to put our words into an electronic format which is so easily changeable?

I think of phrase I heard once when it comes to electronic data, especially as member of fan culture and as a collector of philosophy/psychology text: Always trust your fellow man, and always cut the cards. Oddly enough, most people really don't think of altering electronic data unless it's an update or to correct a typo in my experience. The people that do think of it as more changeable are often professional who wouldn't want to for reasons of ethics and often have tools to find alterations in both electronic and in hard copy. Still, it only takes one jerk, doesn't it? Archiving your work, knowing the merits and flaws of formats, and making sure multiple copies are out there have saved many, many an author's bacon over the years and the same rules apply to scientific notes, business documents, and even my husband's Star War collection.

A side note? Winston's job would be made easier if he had HTML. You will note though that Winston managed his job just fine with print material. It was more labor intensive and in a way that suited the Party just fine. Idle hands meant the mind could stop and think for itself.

Would we be so quick to weed children's books because of a "lead paint" problem?

That's a lot of hype, I'll admit. Another phase comes to mind on that one: The customer isn't always right, but they're never wrong. In customer service you deal with irrational crazies and the rules of customer care are there to weed those out from legitimate concerns. Concerns can be addressed with some flexibility, education, and a truckload of patience. Being a professional means that you are obligated not to give into hype or irrational fears and that you then use clear-headed informed thinking to navigate the concerns of those you serve with the environment you serve them in.

Would we forsake our personal reading time for time with social media?

::laughs: Oh sorry, friend. You are not going to sell this one to me (though in your defense I've heard it a lot).

1) There is nothing on the social web that wasn't done through the mail, VCRs, personal terminals, journals, the phone, the telegraph, at coffeehouses, etc. before there was a web. Science fiction fans pioneered many of the creative uses of copyrighted materials and collective reworking I see in Web 2.0. All YouTube and video editing software does is make what my twin and I used to do with a stereo, TV, VCR, Star Trek clips, a few blank tapes, and the mail a lot easier to make and distribute.

2) I got into information science in a professional way by helping to manage a blog-based writing project which is now on its 5th year manage it's continuity and by answering story-related reference questions. I therefore do not see my writing time or my reading time as "split" between page based text and screen based text. (Or, for that matter, one as "solid" and one as "untrustworthy" as your question implied.) Often I have my laptop open to a scanned-in text-based item or a book holder holding open a physical item while I answer something that will appear in a web-based environment. It's not black and white. It's diversity.

3) Speaking of that blog, after one of our contributors got thrown off LiveJournal for a copyright dispute we all had to discover that there are ways to retrieve information even when the blog's servers have "suspended" it, thus making it unreadable. Just like the underground in "Fahrenheit 451" - where there is will to maintain and reconstruct the information, friend, there is a way. It just might be really hard to do and might not be completely what the original was.

Would we continue to call ourselves information technologists, rather than the noble term of librarian?

There was this great post on this blog awhile ago about Art Spieglman talking about being "the father of the graphic novel." He hates that thought. He wanted his work and others like them to be called "comics" because even if the name had the connotation of being silly that's what the format was. Speaking of comics, the character of Barbara Gordon might be more of an "information professional" in the sense of how the term was coined, but the lady is still a librarian. (Even the ALA's poster shop says so.)

I am an information professional. I'm the type of information professional called "a librarian." Downgrading either term is to take away from the history of the profession and it's a truncation of language and understanding in exactly the sense Orwell warned about. Just like with Spieglman - what he does are comics. Some of those comics are considered graphic novels. Both terms are descriptors which apply.

"Electricity is really just organized lightning." - George Carlin

Words in electronic format

Would we be so quick to put our words into an electronic format which is so easily changeable.

Everything in life is a trade-off. The risk of having our words changed so easily is counter-balanced by having those words so much more easily accessible to greater numbers of people. Plus, it also allows for greater ease of comparison between various editions of a work, to determine if a particular edition has been altered.

Would we be so quick to weed children's books because of a "lead paint" problem.

This has nothing to do with censorship or controlling the flow of information. This issue stems from a moral panic the same way censorial actions do, but it's not about targeting books or information. Censormorons will be quick to seize upon it as a tool to remove certain books, no doubt about that, but the law behind it is about lead content in a wide range of products made for infant consumers. The real problem with this law is that it stems from knee-jerk reactionary, "we must protect the children" hysteria.

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