Monday, April 18, 2005

Welcome to the containerless future

A great hunk of writing came across my desk this morning from one of the information-space e-newsletters I get.

The short piece lamented the fact that Intel offered $10,000 for an archival copy original of Electronics magazine that tipped Moore's law into existence. The writer ackowledged that there are photo- and digital copies everywhere, but few originals to be found. So Intel turned to the library community--who subsequently now have to protect their originals from poachers.

The writer then explored the idea of "what is an original?" of an object when the original object is in fact digital. Here's a snippet:
It makes us wonder once again how future generations will view our obsession with content containers and packages. When someone 50 years from now wants to document the rise of blogs, they'll likely point to the original posts on the Powerline and FreeRepublic blogs about the CBS documents about President Bush's military service that proved to be false and led to the downfall of Dan Rather. But what will they put in their museum? Where will the originals of those posts be? They don't exist outside the ones and zeroes on somebody's computer, and that will be true of all kinds of important documents we are creating today. What's an original when there never was a print version?

The clincher was at the end: "Welcome to the containerless future."

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