Universities finding new ways to preserve history in the making – like Ferguson
Years from now, when researchers want to look back at what some are calling the modern Civil Rights movement following police killings of black people in Ferguson, Cleveland, Minneapolis and Baton Rouge, La., they could be using a tool developed in part by researchers at Washington University.
Say, for instance, a researcher wanted to study the initial reactions to Michael Brown’s killing on the day it happened. They could search through media archives and find statements from police and politicians.
But what about the people who generally don’t end up in history books — Brown’s neighbors, young people from the neighborhood and bystanders?
And what if the same researcher wanted to collect massive amounts of data — possibly millions of documents.
A simple social media search won’t produce the type of results a serious researcher desires.
Twitter, for example, has emerged as one of the most useful tools for sharing information, but it’s most useful in the present. The company restricts public access to its full services, meaning there are limits on the number and scope of past tweets that can be collected.
At Washington University, the hope is that a new tool currently under development will help researchers curate that kind of data.
The project is called DocNow, short for “Documenting the Now,” a tool that will be used to chronicle historically significant events, while also preserving blog posts, photos, comments and other digital artifacts that are in danger of being lost to history.
“We want something to ensure the voices of young people and the voices of minorities will be heard at the same volume as the police and politicians,” Desiree Jones-Smith said.
Is the NYT’s day after day for months and months obsessive coverage of a faded St. Louis suburb not narrativey enough for you? Much less the P-D’s itself.
I guess not, such that WU researchers are going to make it easy to read the tweets of black Twitter from the time, because everyone knows black Twitter is where one goes for truth, facts, logic, reason and evidence.
I highly doubt this tool will catalog my coverage or Jim Hoft’s coverage.
Barring all this, Ron Unz commented about two weeks ago at Steve Sailer’s blog which has now been on Unz’s domain for awhile, that our coverage and opining is basically worthless for the purposes of history, because grad students twenty years from now and historians a hundred years from now won’t be searching Countenance Blog, Gateway Pundit, Steve Sailer, posts or comments, for source material. They’re going to run straight to the “mainstream” narrative peddlers, the P-D, the NYT, and now, ook Twitter.