FOREVER: The Books Still Have It.

Here’s something for those 300,000 MO-rons who just ran out and bought the iPAD without the 3G cell phone service on the very first weekend (except we all pretty much know now these types don’t care much for posterity)…

We talk a lot here about making stuff — but what good is it if its just a fart passing in the wind?   Since so many of the so-called “original growth trees” have been used from everything Cigar Smoking Lodge carved wooden bears to sale inserts from F. W. Woolworths & Co. — — where now most of our furniture can’t even survive a single move! (can someone please tell me who picks up the broken IKEA crap from the curb? and if those folks are related to the ones taking my socks, nail clippers and cell phone cords — thanks;)

If you’re like me, you’re somewhat relieved that now all those photos from some 2007 bar or mountain top are still on Facebook where ever that data is being stored in some underground bunker neighborhood next to Dick Cheney will forever be reachable through a screen in their original conditions — but of course, that’s only if they survive Facebook’s countless changes to its policies.

But that doesn’t solve the problem of what to do at home, with your own personal archives and what’s the best storage device overall if you don’t like throwing away metals, chemicals or anything constantly.  In video storage, our thoughts below probably won’t help you much either.  With the “solid state’ straight to drive technology permiating, I still prefer to have the tape copy for mere storage purposes(considering you still have to do some video processing from the P2 anyway) and I’ve been waiting for someone to tell my why I’m a MO-RON.

Regardless, looking at the bigger picture of all this, we actually decided to speak to an expert.  She doesn’t want her name revealed at the moment — archivists are often portrayed as a serious bunch.  When you think, without them, all knowledge is basically erased, that’s a pretty HEAVY load to consider all day long.  For those using Twittter right now, documenting your self-importance 140 chars at a time throwing caution to the sands of time, you may find her answer SHOCKING/PDA exploding..(we hope, just burn your PDAs).

“Books last the longest! As long as you use quality materials, books are here to stay. Even if not, they still last a good while. Books from as far back as the 15th century, or more, are in much better condition than those from the 19th century. Old paper made of cotton and linen can feel newer in comparison to younger wood-pulp paper. Nowadays you can see books that say on the copyright page, statements along the lines of “printed on acid-free archival paper.” These will last, presumably. With some of the glued bindings on common paperbacks, time will tell. Many publishers now are printing books in ‘quality’ sewn bindings, even if they’re also glued to paperback covers, so these too will presumably hold together. Thing is, with books, it’s a technology that really can’t be outmoded. The latest e-reader device will soon be replaced by the next hyper-reader device, while physical paper-based books in codex form will continue to function as well as they ever have. Compare the circulation of books to CDs – books hold up through many many hands, while CDs lose functionality with a few scratches, and now, as a medium are getting replaced by digital files that don’t need to reside on discs or sticks. It’s a very complicated issue, though, when you start considering the reality of how people perform transactions of information today. I for one am still unalarmed about the status of the book itself, but especially in the library field, there are other issues about how to use and provide access to the range of media available. Libraries are certainly not mainly about books anymore. They still need to be founded on a solidly curated collection of material,  but books factor for less and less of this. I can go on… But to keep it reasonably short, books are not going away. And I’m still using the Dewey system — at my cataloging internship right now, we assign Dewey call numbers to our books. Most university libraries use the Library of Congress number system, which I prefer. And actually, cataloging activity conceptualized beyond just books, as organization of information, is absolutely essential in the internet era. With such an overload of information jumbling around, in order to make any practical use of that information, you still need people to organize and categorize and arrange systems of knowledge hierarchy.”

While this alone will not solve this increasingly complicated issue..(and certainly the iPAD will not either — books WIN there too) why not buy your favourite Ludite a beer tonight — if that’s not too modern for them?  They’ve been under some heat for sometime — they may actually have something on this one.

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