Tag Archives: archives

Emails and Paper Trails

There are two things I don’t understand about the Sony hack. First, why does anyone with the ability to accomplish such an impressive hack want to live in North Korea, when they could clearly sell their IT skills for millions in the global market?

Another film that caused offence Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

Another film that caused offence
Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

And second, why are people such idiots that they continue to write stupid or outrageous comments, and put them in emails saved to the company’s mainframe? Continue reading

How will we write history when the data disappears?

Like a lot of people at present, I imagine, I have a little red dot hovering over Settings on my iPad and iPhone, inviting me to download an upgrade.  Despite the lure of little red dots, I’m ignoring it, because the upgrade would mean replacing my Google Maps app, which is fine, with Apple’s own Maps – which is apparently hilariously bad.

This is fine in the short term, just irritating – but what about the long term?  What about all the stuff – content, programs, operating systems, a perfectly good Google Maps app – that disappears?

‘Our online history is disappearing at an astonishing rate, creating a black hole for future historians,’ says Tom Chatfield on the BBC Futures program.  He gives examples from last year’s revolution in Egypt – photos, tweets, blog posts – that have just disappeared in the last year.  Chatfield points out the irony that it’s now possible to read online virtually any book or pamphlet printed during the 17th century English Civil War – but not similar communications from last year’s Arab Spring.

Continue reading

The Value of Manuscripts

It happens rarely – but it does happen.  People steal manuscripts, autographs, stamps, seals, maps and illustrations from libraries.  Last July, Barry Landau, author of The President’s Table: Two Hundred Years of Dining and Diplomacy (2007), was caught with an accomplice, Jason Savedoff, stealing documents from the Maryland Historical Society.  Since then, police have found about 10,000 documents in their apartment.

‘I cannot believe it,’ Lynn von Furstenberg, the second wife of Prince Egon von Furstenberg and a close friend of Landau’s for many years, told The Daily Beast. ‘The things I’ve been reading about him in the press are not the Barry I know. He’s just this gregarious, sweet, sensitive human being.’

Well yes, maybe.  On Amazon, Landau is described as a ‘historian’ – but as those of us in the profession well know, anyone can call themselves a historian.  There’s no quality control outside the university system, and since non-academic historians do a lot of important work, I don’t really want any – but sometimes someone goes rogue. Continue reading