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[this is aaronland] the status of truth
If you, as curators and archivists and generally anyone involved in the preservation of promotion of cultural heritage, think that the authority record is the pinnacle of your careers – that is, the most important thing you will leave behind – then you are about to be eaten by robots.
I am here to suggest that this the work we need to face in the years to come because the unit of measure for whether or not something is important is no longer dictated by the cost of inclusion.
Google has never wavered from their goal of being an information retrieval company because “information retrieval” is just a benign way of saying “everything”. If every natural language researcher on the planet uses Wikipedia as its training set Google was clever enough to realize that they could do what Facebook is trying to do by building a suite of tools – often very good tools – and treat the entire Internet as their training set for teaching robots how to interpret meaning and assign value.
Dispute is notoriously difficult to codify, especially in a database, but one of its most important functions is to shine a light on two or more opposing views so that might better see the context in which those ideas exist. I am not suggesting that we do away with structured metadata but this is not necessarily where all of your time is most needed today. You have the gift of magic that no robot will ever have: We call it language and story-telling and these are the things that you are good at.
I am saying that by encouraging documentary efforts outside the scope of the contemporary zeitgeist we create a zone of safekeeping for historical records and their stories for a time when we are ready to reconsider them.
I am saying that all those works not yet deemed worthy of a scholar’s attention still have value to people and their inclusion within a larger body of work is an important and powerful gesture for encouraging participation. Consider the authority record as a kind of gateway drug to scholarship.
internet  data  curation  waggledance  digitalhumanities  aaronstraupcope  glvo  cv  storytelling  human  humans  art  archives  search  google  metadata  language  robots  whatmatters  choices  via:tealtan 
august 2012 by robertogreco
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