National Archives sign at Kew Gardens Station

National Archives sign at Kew Gardens Station


Alice turns 150

The sesquicentennial of the publication of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is 2015. Happy birthday! The Lewis Carroll Society of North America has information on events and commemorations for Alice150.


Denmark presents digitized cultural heritage to the world

According to this BBC News story, Denmark has opened its digitized cultural heritage of over two million images and other types of content to the world. The site is called arkivdk. The content comes from over 500 Danish archives. There appears to be no English language interface as yet.


Key reports and publications in Canadian archival history

The Association of Canadian Archivists created a page pulling together Key Reports and Publications in Canadian Archival History. The documents span the development of Canadian archives from the 19th century to the present.


Google executive despairs of a digital dark age

People notice when a Google executive talks about a digital dark age. Vint Cerf, an Internet pioneer and Google executive, was speaking at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting and warning of "bit rot" and "digital vellum" to stem the tide of an "information black hole".

Ironically, as The Atlantic reported in its take on this story, there was a fire at a Brooklyn warehouse two weeks ago that

smogged up the Brooklyn ether (and confettied parts of the East River) with "decades’ worth of charred medical records, court transcripts, lawyers’ letters, sonograms, bank checks, and more." Huge swaths of Brooklyn's legal history literally fueled the fire, leaving one Clerk's Office representative to lament of the stacks of data lost: "They're priceless."
Of course archivists and technologists have been arguing for years over the most effective methods for digital preservation to prevent a digital dark age. No one set of methods appear to be accepted among the community. Cerf favors something called Olive (Open Library of Images for Virtualized Execution) under development by Carnegie Mellon University in association with IBM Research. They've had some success in virtualizing software such as Apple's last version of HyperCard and Microsoft Office 6.0.


Alien invasion imminent (in galactic time)?

If the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute in California gets its way, we'll be inviting aliens to Earth. I think this is an extremely bad idea. While the chances are extremely remote that we'd see a single space craft in Earth orbit any time soon, I come down on the side of the sci-fi camp that says the only reason to make such an interstellar journey is for the resources along the way. And civilizations capable of making such a journey will more than likely not be benevolent. Even the alien refugees or whatever they were in the brilliant District 9 film had weapons and avionics technology superior to ours. And while we managed to contain them, only because there ship was somehow temporarily disabled, the film's ending seemed to portend a rescue and retribution scenario.