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Response to Reading

I found the most interesting part of the assigned reading to be the section that discusses the costs and benefits of digitizing. The author compares the digital preservation to the analog version by saying that “The continuous sweep of the second hand on a wristwatch compared to a digital alarm clock that changes its display in discrete units aptly illustrates the difference.” I found this analogy to be rather brilliant. Although digitization makes finding documents history there is certainly a value to holding the original document, the feel of it in your hands which cannot be replaced by a computer screen. The medium the information is presented in particular can really add to the historical document for example a journal from the front lines of World War II may have mud or even blood on a certain page, or perhaps in one journal entry the young private was so scared that you could see his handwriting became shaky. If you convert the file to text this is all lost and if you scan it into the computer you may still be able to see the shaky characters but the rawness of the original document becomes lost.

In addition to the things that are lost during the process of digitization the process itself can be very tedious and expensive. It is hard enough for human beings to read documents written in cursive hundreds of years ago never mind for a computer to translate the image into text. The process of converting documents in addition to being arduous often having to be done manually, is an expensive process. The servers and maintenance of them, software, and transfer of documents from there analog state to a digital one all come with an associated cost. Although the digital age is an exciting one, it is important that we understand that many of these innovations have their benefits and disadvantages.

~ by kroll on September 16, 2012.

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