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Entr’acte: the poetry of digital preservation – #StF12 (2)

Most of the time, I blog about the prosaics of digital preservation: costs, responsibilities, standards, audits, certification, etc. Tonight I am making an exception. At the end of day 2 of Screening the Future 2012 archivist and film maker Rick Prelinger screened an installment of his Lost Landscapes project. He finds all sorts of footage that, perhaps, no-one has cared about before, he archives it and screens it. Without comment. Just letting the “motion picture” speak:

The images this evening included lots of footage of 1930’s and 1940’s American automobiles cruising the streets of Los Angeles and San Francisco. Prelinger encouraged the audience to comment loudly, and many cries of recognition went up from locals in the audience. They were part of the performance.

Rick gave us a powerful reminder of why we do digital preservation. Because the images of the past are part of what we are today.

The automobiles were fun, but in the end it was the people that moved some of us the most. Perhaps because they are not about what, but about who we are. Much closer to home.

Yesterday Kara van Malssen tweeted: “I’m tired of always talking about digital preservation as a ‘problem’. Yes, its challenging, but lets also look at the ‘opportunity’.”

Just in case you forgot: this is America 😉

PS: Rick’s introductory text can be found here.

(And yes, in the course of the next few days all the other themes will get their due attention as well on this blog.)


  • Jeffrey

    Hi Inge, very nice proof of what preservation is about. I remember a similar presentation at Digccur in 2009. Very impressive! But some metadata would help as the people of today will be no more in 100 years time..