Thursday, 22 August 2013

The information generation

I can still be astonished by the internet's capacity for storing and sharing information; I've just found a film clip of my father commanding a parade, sometime between returning to Europe from Palestine and leaving again for Korea. Previously, all I'd seen was a 10" x 8" still photo, now clearly taken from a film frame. There's no sound, but it's still astonishing. And curious that it should be in the public realm and I just another anonymous viewer. But that's the net. 

This new generation cannot imagine how we coped before the net, when searching for information was physical, often involving travel. I remember too clearly my hours spent in the PRO at Kew and in the Newspaper archive at Colindale, fighting for a desk at the BL or amongst the great unread book stacks kept at Imperial as part of the National Science collection, in the IWM's annex driving one of the huge old Steenbeck editing desks or with county archivists in run-down records centres and always, always, with voluminous paper 'finding aids' a single volume of which could weigh a stone. Those days weren't better - just slower, more frustrating and harder. Just so long as they don't throw away the original material, digitisation is fine with me. 

I realise now it's been over a week - more like ten days - since I've had the TV on. I see that BBC bosses face theft and fraud charges after being caught fiddling their payoffs. As the Telegraph reminds us that 10% of criminal prosecutions are for not paying the TV tax, and the Mail reviews the £30 Chrome dongle. Surely it can't be long before even this wet and dim government realises that the licence fee is unsustainable? I'm not hopeful, though - even a wet and dim culture minister can introduce a new 'information levy' on ISP charges.

15 comments:

Andy said...

The BBC needs to be stripped of its taxpayer funding and made to compete on a level playing field with all the other media out there,when they have to pay their own way on revenue earned from those viewers who choose to watch it we might then see some balance and impartialality returning instead of the blatent left wing,anti English attitudes so often shown.

right_writes said...

I agree with Andy in all but his first statement...

I reckon that the BBC should be shut down... or wound up (if you prefer)... It is far too diseased to cure...

Talented people will find good work elsewhere, the vast majority of time serving, communitarian bureaucrats need to be expunged. The who class has been infecting minds (young and old) for far too long...

Such a culture won't die by just removing its public funding.

right_writes said...

Sorry that should read "whole class"...!

G. Tingey said...

Ah, hand it all over to the crypto-fascist Murdoch.
So nice.

Noit my problem, incidentally - I haven't had a TV since 1975.
But I do like the Beeb ..
Radio4 & Radio3
How are they to be funded, then?

Demetrius said...

The places you mention for research in the old days were on my beat as well. With the web now it is very different but now you might just find things that you might never have found before. Notably with the digitisation of newspapers on some subscription sites. The other thing is time saved looking up odd items of supporting information. If it wasn't on your shelves it meant a trip to a library. I don't miss the travel and the complications but I do miss the human contact with many interesting people.

visc said...

I'd agree the volume of information is so much easier to access.

However with the rise of "intelligent" search, with results dependent on your previous searches and actions I am not so sure that all information will continue to be as easily accessible over the longer term. there seems atrange loss of serendipity, algos do not know best ...

lilith said...

The internet is an extraordinary resource. I found that one of my great great great grandfathers had drowned himself in Wellington harbour and left a bitter suicide note referencing his daughter and son in law...all in the paper at the time! So any dreams that my family may once have been functional have been further dashed...

Anonymous said...

Please note:

The BBC is an organic part of that thing we call the State - has been since its inception. In military parlance it is 'force projection', for implanted ideals and control [message].

Such incalculable worth means no government would ever part with it.

Disagreements between the state broadcaster the executive are based on the 'message' content, not the delivery. You have been had.

Steve

Budgie said...

Andy said: "The BBC needs to be stripped of its taxpayer funding ...".

Andy, and anyone else complaining about the BBC (and there is a lot to complain about), you can strip the BBC of its funding by simply not paying for a TV licence. Hit the BBC where it hurts them, and stop your children's brains being addled at the same time.

Anonymous said...

What about the remaining hundreds of channels?
Or is it only the bbc?
Or would that be only those perceived as left-leaning?
Or only close those recommended by conservative central budgie?

Anonymous said...

Or maybe only close the channels that conservative central office does not like.

Johnm said...

Better still, don't watch any tv at all.
Stop kids being turned into right wing propagandists, like budgie

Budgie said...

JohnM said: "Better still, don't watch any tv at all."

Yes, that is what I said; glad you agree.

JohnM said: "Stop kids being turned into right wing propagandists, like budgie".

So, if I am right wing, and watching TV turns kids into right wingers, why would I be against it? Your statement is illogical, JohnM, even on its own grounds.

Anon 2 said...

Yup. Don't watch it - there's nothing worth seeing on there anyway. Everything we need's on the internet ... Mind us, though - we might need the radio or something for when they come down on us here.

Votefor said...

You are correct , this is a very powerful medium . How long will we allowed to partake of it freely? If it becomes a choice of the BBC or free internet access then it's obvious the way government will go. We have to get something before things change.