The view from Black Mesa

[2 June 2010]

Black Mesa is a volcanic outcropping just north of San Ildefonso Pueblo in northern New Mexico. (The name “Black Mesa” is used of a bewildering variety of geographic features in the southwest, including two that can be seen from my house. The Black Mesa for which this blog is named is the one on San Ildefonso land right beside the Rio Grande.)

Because Black Mesa lies just outside my office window, two or three miles distant to the south, and because I find its profile beautiful, I spend a lot of time looking at it when I’m thinking about things and trying to get my ideas clear.

It’s clear that information technology has turned many things upside down for libraries, archives, museums, and others interested in preserving and providing access to information. It seems to me, though, that it hasn’t turned everything upside down: many properties we associate with libraries and archives and museums reflect not the properties of pre-digital technology but the characteristics of the problems they are trying to solve. Which existing practices should be changed to exploit digital technology? Which should remain in place?

What is the right way to use digital technology in preserving, protecting, and providing access to non-commercial information, public information, literary texts, linguistic resources, and (for want of a less grandiloquent phrase) the cultural heritage of humanity?

Getting my ideas clear on those and related question is what this blog is for. I hope you enjoy it.

This blog is intended to provide a place to record some of those ideas.