Being someone with a livelihood that’s invested in historical and cultural institutions, I was quite pleased to stumble into a museum of sorts during a recent session with Mass Effect: Andromeda. The spot is called the Cultural Exchange Center. It’s tucked away in an unnoticeable corner of the Nexus, a massive space station and central hub of the game. The center, while not vast, contains a number of interactive holographic displays of items, such as the Citadel, and races: human, Krogan, Asari, Turian, and Salarian. The room appears to be a work-in-progress, as there are a couple blank displays, as well as one that will likely hold the history of Ryder, the Pathfinder. (Though that’s only a guess.) With the species displays, players are presented with a general greeting from each hologram, and then may choose to learn more about the species’ home world or history. Being the goofy person that I am, I chose to spend some time listening to as much information as each display would give. I summarily found my jaw on the floor each time a display when over its races’ history.
The following post original appeared on Geek Force Network, July 5, 2013. And that sucks. Not the site, but the fact that I’m even older now. ACK?!
I realized the other day that this year marks 20 years since I ended high school and began college. 20 years?! Um, ick. And where the hell did the all that time go? [Sigh.] Because nostalgia is a bitch (that I surely love), of course my college beginnings have filtered back into my mind. Ahhhh….those days. Those days when was I cast into the “real world” and treated like an “adult.” Those days where I had the freedom to screw up and around in ways I never imagined. Those years of having to make decisions without really thinking of the consequences. Those years where guidance about college majors and jobs was never really guided, but rather was mostly left up to my own devices and sometimes poor choices. I certainly didn’t follow a yellow brick road to my current job, and I definitely didn’t think that acing a few high school history classes would ever lead to something bigger.
What does it mean to be a paper-pusher in the digital age? For librarians, archivists, and others who help preserve our many, many, many paper trails, it means having to toe the line between the needs of the records and the needs of those who want to use the records. It was with this notion in mind that I wrote the following post for Geek Force Network. Information is a valuable thing; preserving it for the future is, perhaps, more so.
Do you remember what it was like doing research and writing papers in the Stone Age? When the most accessible fonts of knowledge we had occurred the forms of gigantic sets of encyclopedias, miles worth of microfilm, and card catalogs so large that they could easily fill up one of today’s server farms? If you don’t, then we might not be able to be friends.
Okay, I’m just joking there. (Or, am I?) But there is a strange yet noticeable divide growing between the traditional and the digital when it comes to accessing information. I see it all the time in my work. When people ask if we have a certain bit of historical data in our archives/library, the first question is not longer “is it available?” but “is it digitized?” (Or, likewise, “can I view it online?”) This…
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