My first ever post and I’m pretty excited. I have never had a blog..heck i hardly ever update my Facebook so this is a new experience for me.
Well, i want to first talk about the subject of ‘time’ as discussed the week before last. It’s a pretty big topic but in summary i think the earth exists on a circular concept of time while we as humans operate on linear, because in my view we are born and eventually die and thats it. Maybe the human species is circular because new ones are born and old ones die and the great big ‘circle of life’ carries on. Ultimately, when i think of philosophical stuff like this i end up in a spiral of self-doubt and paranoia..kinda looks like this..
So i pick something more concrete and go with the discussion on digitisation. This weeks reading was pretty interesting. It doesn’t really help me to pick a side, i feel kinda stuck in the middle about it. There are some great strengths to digitisation (easy access for scholars, mobile, time-saving, more variety, etc) but i just can’t help but be super suspicious of anyone on the internet. We have a long way to go to get authentic, credible sources out there. Like ‘library of congress’ credible.
However, i wanted to share with you an experience i had with online help with my own family research. Yes, i admit to being a family history lover, which is why i chose this paper actually. Well, i have subscribed to ancestry.com in the past and have found it incredibly helpful for this kind of research. I got some photographs from my grandmother about her family from a big ol’ album that looks legit! You know, big and thick, soiled pages, smelling of mothballs and dampness. Well, from this book i took a copy of a photograph of my ancestors who originally moved from then ‘Bohemia’ and settled the town of Puhoi, north of Auckland.
I found out there names as they were written in the book and happily posted online to show off to fellow family historian enthusiasts how awesome and thorough i was, only to be told by another member that those people were not the Pankrats family, because they never had any sons, only girls and the Pankrats name is lost. This is actually one of their daughters family and this was of the ‘Lee’ family.
So wiping the egg of my face i quickly investigated ready to tell this lady that she was full of crap, and i am actually a historian-in-training only to discover she was right. They didn’t have any sons and there are clearly boys in this family picture. (Damn it) Why share this story? Well, it goes to show that primary sources, like the photo album are still unreliable. Digitisation of this record helped me to share knowledge with others and get instant feedback. Some people have given me wrong information, but its another source i can tap if i get stuck.
Overall, i believe digitisation will take over. We just have to figure out a way to protect authenticity, and promote longevity of this new method of research and preservation.