Found History

by Tom Scheinfeldt

Briefly Noted for October 12, 2009

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ArchivesNext on Modes of Social Media InteractionKate Theimer at ArchivesNext has an excellent post detailing four approaches archives and other cultural heritage institutions can take in inviting users to interact with their collections via social media. The four interactive modes or “places” are described according to their relative openness and the kinds of social behaviors they explicitly or implicity support, the “social contracts created by them.” Written partially in response to some worries I voiced about Footnote.com’s use of social media in connection with its NARA Holocaust collection, Kate’s provides a much more nuanced, much more firmly grounded analysis of the question than I could hope to do. I’m eagerly awaiting her promised thoughts on the broader issue of NARA’s private digitization partnerships, the other issue I raised in an embarrasingly off hand manner in the same post.

Email: Dead or Alive? — An article in the Wall Street Journal titled “The End of Email” is making the rounds this morning. The piece argues that social media services stand ready to displace email as the “king of communications.” Not so fast, argue many other observers, including Dwight Sliverman of the Houston Chronicle, who points out that 54 percent of companies still ban the use of social media. Indeed, in general the commentary on the story is better and more balanced than the story itself, which—with its hyperbolic title—seems designed more as link bait than as thoughful analysis.

Trust the Cloud? Better Backup — The interwebs were alight this weekend with news of how T-Mobile and Microsoft lost data their Sidekick smartphone users had stored with the companies in “the cloud.” According to T-Mobile “the likelihood of a successful [recovery] is extremely low.” I use Google’s cloud services as the primary location for all my email, contacts, and calendar data. I am downloading Mozilla’s Thunderbird and Sunbird as I type and will be backing up everything locally anon.

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