[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.
The view from Black Mesa collects thoughts about various topics (digital preservation and access,r descriptive markup, XML, digital humanities, and other things that cross my mind) from Michael Sperberg-McQueen of Black Mesa Technologies.

The header image is a detail from “Black Mesa: San Ildefonso Pueblo” © 2010 by Larry Lamsa, used by permission (CC BY 2.0).

I regret that owing to a continuous stream of comment spam I have been forced to curtail the length of time articles are open for comment. My apologies to those who come across posts here after the comment period has expired. Feel free to write me directly with your comment, if you like.

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