The British Library are deciding, and asking the crowd to decide, which digital artefacts to archive; which is clearly a task as important as deciding upon what one should include/exclude in one’s #ededc tumblog :-)

The following questions which are asked in the covering article are very deep:

‘But how will researchers be using this resource in 100, 200 or 1000 years time? And what will it say about who we are in 2013?’

But do these questions really matter? Is this not a case of ‘gathering matters of concern/things’ (Edwards 2010 p.15); is this not a fallible experimentation in which this current entanglement of human and non human things could, with entanglements of future humans and non-human things and their subjectivities (Edwards 2010), matter, or maybe not?.

Of course, our 2013 subjectivities are at play here in deciding what matters of concern will be gathered into a big matter of concern. To date there are artefacts based on locations, communities, history and archives, food and drink, leisure pursuits, data and technology, institutions (BBC, Met Office, NHS, the Old Bailey), religion, sport, arts and crafts and of course shopping and money. A vast array of potentially unstable assemblages which together might just enact a bit of the world in 2013.


Edwards, R., 2010. The end of lifelong learning : A post-human condition? Studies in the Education of Adults, 42(1), pp.5–17.



2 Responses to “Archiving”

  1. Nikki Bourke April 6, 2013 at 8:26 pm #

    What a wonderful top 100!

    It looks as though every facet of contemporary culture has been represented. If the objective is to provide a person living in 2113 with a snapshot into today’s lifestyle habits then I think it works admirably.

    I think that the question mark hanging over the subjectivity of those choosing the matters of concern and consequently the matters of concern chosen as a result is justifiable but inevitable. Although it is the professional / academic qualification which qualifies the selectors how would a different group of equally ‘qualified’ selectors base their choices on?

    But isn’t that the risk that always must be taken in such actions? When folk buried time capsules 100 years ago the same set of challenges presented through the subjectivity issue were faced. Maybe this is a legitimate part of the process.

  2. Steph Carr April 7, 2013 at 2:46 pm #

    Hi Nikki, yes I agree there is an inevitability that the subjectivities of the selectors and how their criteria are arrived at will form a part of the thing. They have opened up a twitter discussion for suggestions, but that will include/exclude certain people too. It’s interesting to think of how the whole performance of it would change if, say, half of the cohort of decision makers were under the age of 20.

    I think it’s also fascinating to think of how the subjectivities at the other end will also affect the building of this world. There’s nothing to say that they’ll see anything resembling what the authors of this project think they will.

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