Friday, September 19, 2008

AALL "Blawg" Gets It Right - Mostly

While anyone can look back through writings of various technology naysayers and cautionary pundits of the past (including yours truly) and find warnings about how the rapid (and thoughtless, apparently) wholesale adoption of technology for publication of legal information, it's turning out to be much more complicated than that.

Simply taking snapshots of Agency websites won't capture the important information that we're loosing. In fact, it captures more useless stuff than valuable. After all, who needs to know how, say, the Immigration Office coded their homepage? The important stuff is what's at the other end of the links, the data. Knowing that a link to a report was present in an agency page isn't as important as the report itself. If that only exists as an html or other form of e-document and it's wiped out, who cares about the link?

As I've said a zillion times before, all important government information should be in e-format only as a secondary, back-up format. The primary format of everything that's important should be in print.

All e-formats, by their natures are ephemeral. Until that conundrum is solved, "preservation of electronic material" is an oxymoron.

Amazon to Become "Content Provider"

If you listen to no other podcast and are interested in what's happening in the world of hi-tech, it should be John C Dvorak's "Tech 5". Subtitled, "The most important five minutes of your day," Dvorak covers all the latest tech trends with economy and wit. Occasionally, he even makes brilliant observations:

The September episode carries mention of a story circulating that day in which it is announced that Amazon was soon to become a "content provider." Dvorak makes the observation that that's precisely what Amazon is! People go to the website, look for music, books, whatever, and then Amazon packs the stuff up and sends it to the customers. Isn't that providing content?

Sheesh. Good point.