September 13

Lecture notes and comments

Week #3

Date: September 13

Outline: Today’s lecture, given by Bill Kuykendall, was on the fifth aspect of New Media; cultural transformation. Here are my notes on the lecture NMD 100 Journal Sept. 13.

This lecture focused on the evolutionary aspect of New Media, which I found really interesting. Bill talked about the descent of society into a “digitizing craze”, and how our society was being influenced in this rush to digitize everything. I had never thought of this before, but the more I pondered it, the more I found it to be true. Bill used some excellent examples of this phenomenon, such as the Shoah Foundation, the Library of Congress’ American Memories Project, and others.

Comments: This got me thinking. Is it a good thing that our society has taken to digitizing all the information that it can find? What are the benefits, and disadvantages, of this process? Why are we even concerned?

In my opinion, I think it’s a good idea to take information that is impossible to put into a database in its original form, and to digitize it so that it can be remembered and referred to long after the source is gone. Like the American Memories Project, if we hadn’t gone and recorded these stories, they would have died off through the generations until no one knew the original story anymore. With this project, this is no longer a problem.

As for the negatives, some would argue that we are losing the traditional method of narration, such as oral history, to something that is just a large amount of data, with no way retaining that narrative style of giving information.

I do not believe this. I believe that the narrative needs the data base to use for a subject to talk about, characters to go in the story, and locations and ways of living that a database could provide. To me, they seem to behave in a more symbiotic relationship than a parasitic one.

This worry about losing our narrative style seems to have bothered people a lot, which is why I think the topic was brought up. But I think we have nothing to fear from the database, as long as the humans are the ones telling the stories.

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