Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The contradiction of erasure in the internet

I was particularly interested in the relationship between new media and the concept of "erasure" that is addressed in Cornelia Vismann's "Out of File, Out of mind." With the widespread use of computer systems to store information, which have the ability to copy and backup data, it would seem to be the case that information is safer than it has ever been. Burning down a library might once have caused certain texts to be irretrievably lost. However, destroying information in the age of the internet is a much more difficult task. Gchat conversations that a few years ago might have taken place over the phone are now permanently stored in google's data base. The glance over at a classmate that would have gone unnoticed is now saved in facebook's database of profiles you visited.
But there is also a lack of permanence in the information that we view on the internet. An article that we read in the New York Times might revised, with no indication that a change had taken place. There is no public record of the earlier version of the article as there would have been if it were printed on paper. Thus some element of the story is erased through its revision.
The internet has seemingly endless potential for data storage and preservation, but the dynamic nature of digital information presents new forms of erasure and deletion.

No comments: