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Oct 22 2011

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Back to the Present Future: Document*

The ability to capture the present changes the past and, therefore, the future. What becomes of the document, not to mention the document of record? Do trails of evidence matter to humanities scholars? How do people in the humanities think of documents and trails of documentary evidence in a world in which history is captured in the present (no longer a study of the past)? How do we address questions of historiography in a world of Twitter and iPhone/Android/mobile text- and photo-documentation of current events? The conversation about citizen journalism, for example, exists; but how are (and might) such trends change the way archivists, librarians, curators of all sorts (including educators at all levels) think of their roles as stewards of the documentary legacies we create as witnesses of the present? Documents, documentaries, documentation — document*.

Let’s discuss and understand better how we harness and harvest the present (and the past) to influence the future.

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About the author

Profile photo of Patsy Baudoin

Patsy Baudoin

I'm a subject specialist at the MIT Libraries (media, arts, film studies, visual arts, and foreign lit) and the liaison to MIT's Art, Culture, & Technology program and Media Lab. I am interested in digital arts, digital humanities, electronic literature -- and the preservation of digital media projects in those areas. I'm one of ten co-authors of 10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10 (MIT Press, 2013). I am interested in critical code studies, and more generally, in the history of how ideas travel.

Permanent link to this article: http://newengland2011.thatcamp.org/10/22/back-to-the-present-future-document/