Writing History in a Paperless World: Archives of the Future

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The rapid expansion of the seemingly limitless digital universe invites us to rethink the question of archives. If information in the time of high-speed Internet connectivity is easily produced, searched, circulated and consumed, it is as easily deleted and effaced from the public domain too. The digital content (especially user-generated) on blogs, websites, and social media platforms is both plentiful – often expressed as ‘information overload’ – and fragile; it risks perishing almost as fast as it is produced. The historians of the future seeking to write the history of the early twenty-first century will be faced with this problematic. While one approach is to seek technological solutions toward storing the digital content, another is to reconsider what the very notion of past might mean in the age of acceleration. The past is produced rapidly as every passing moment is buried under fresh layers of information and news almost every second on multiple media. This article considers the challenges of writing the history of the vanishing present.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHistory Workshop Journal
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)243-253
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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