Third and last post from the old blog. Can the spread of information be traced and mapped?
As said in the previous post, the printed materials are stable, mainly because it takes considerable time and effort to change them and even when they get changed, there is always a paper trail leading to the old version. Its stability makes it ideal for referencing – it can be found with relative ease. This is not necessarily the case with native digital sources, as the information on the Internet is in motion. It gets copied, deleted and altered constantly. It changes location. This makes a digital historian’s hunt for the particular piece of information, say, a text, much akin to a real hunter’s.
In this situation, the digital historian would have three options – she can either witness, kill or mark the text. Mind you, all of the terms are meant metaphorically. Witnessing the piece of information is perhaps the most common method at present. In practice it means…
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