Avoiding binary oppositions between digital and analogue

While I’ve argued that ‘digitisation is the death of history’, the reality is that any technology, be it pencil sharpeners or digital cameras, has the ability to affect the way we interact with and understand our collections.

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There are a few points of worth in Professor Tony Edwards’ comments on digitisation in the Times Literary Supplement. But one gets the general impression of someone of someone who does not want to engage with the twenty-first century. Some of the comments could have been sorted out with a bit of investigation; others come across as just being snobbish.

One idea I found jarring was his insistence that the digitised copy is simply a surrogate of the original – a Platonic insistence that the digital is just a pale copy of the original, a poor reproduction made simply to allow mass dissemination (‘entertainment’, in Professor Edwards’ words)

Of course, anyone with a bit of a experience of the digital will know that the relation between the digital and analogue is more complex than that. One is not a pallid reflection of the other.

Yes, of course dealing with…

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Archivist, historian, avid reader

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