Thursday, September 5, 2002

i can't believe a year has passed

i spent the first day of classes last year alternately glued to the television and the 'net with feelings best summed up this way. almost one year later, witness the september 11th digital archive: "Sept. 11 was the first major event of the Internet age," said Tom Scheinfeldt, managing director of the archive. "For the first time in history, people experienced this major world event online, through all kinds of media and computer technologies. Someone had to quickly mobilize to preserve a digital record of the attacks."

according to wired, they "began spidering the Web just hours after the attacks to cache corporate, government, media, memorial and tribute websites... They got a fairly broad, deep snapshot of the Web in those couple of months (after the attacks) ... before the government security apparatus was up and running," Scheinfeldt said. "Researchers from George Mason University and the City University of New York have amassed more than 20,000 pager messages, e-mails, digital images, websites and other digital materials since the project launched last January (2,000 of which are currently available on the site). Researchers hope to use the archive to develop free software tools to help historians to do a better job of collecting, preserving and writing history."

i remember Tiananmen square (which incidentally, none of my students do) and thinking that it was amazing that faxes communicated so much to those of us so far away. when the gulf war broke out, my neighbours borrowed a big-screen tv "to watch the war in style," and customers at work most often commented on "how pretty" the missile attacks looked at night. last year, i was most interested in the global response to the events - to read what people all over the world were saying and watching the stories change over the next few days...

i, for one, was grateful for google's caching, if simultaneously horrified by my own propensity for voyeurism...

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