- What kind of tools are we using to store memories and communicate ideas?
- As our recorded world becomes more fluid, how do we capture snapshots of it for documentation, memories, or communication of ideas?
- What is a document anyway?
- Is the document dying or are certain characteristics of the document dying?
What is a document and is it even a useful definition? Two theoretical views of the definition of a “document” are found in the following sources:
Frohmann, B. (2009). Revisiting “What is a document?” Journal of Documentation, 65(2), 291–303.
Stone, D. (1997). What is a “document”? Journal of the American Society of Information Science, 48(9), 804.
The Changing World of Publishing
There is a lot of discussion in the world about the decline of newspaper publishing, the decline of the independent bookstore, and the growth of self-publishing on blogs, wikis, social media, and bulletin boards. Many journal articles are now accessed more frequently online through fee-based databases. In addition, the world of direct access publishing is increasing.
Decline of Newspapers
kxan. (2009, April 17). Paul Steiger addresses the future of newspapers. Video posted to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwA2Ego5BW0
Perez-Pena, R. (2008, October 28). Newspaper circulation continues to decline rapidly. New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/28/business/media/28circ.html
Who killed the newspaper? (2006, August 24). The Economist. Retrieved from http://www.economist.com/opinion/displayStory.cfm?Story_ID=7830218
Change in Publishing
Rich, M. (2009, January 28). Self-publishers flourish as writers pay the tab. New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/28/books/28selfpub.html
Predictions of the Death of the Book or the Ultimate Failure of the eBook
There seem to be dueling theories about the ultimate success or failure of the paperbased book as an artifact. Will the paper or the ebook win out in the end? Does it matter? How does the business model of publishers change as the format changes?
Gomez, J. (2008). Print is dead: Books in our digital age. London: Macmillan.
Contends that printed books will be replaced by digital books and that book distributors and readers should actively support the transformation by encouraging digital book creation and the standards required for storage and delivery.
jlaccetti (2007, April 18). Digitise or die: Margaret Atwood. Video posted to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5GUJ4uA7G2w
Levy, D. M. (2001). Scrolling forward: Making sense of documents in the digital age. New York: Arcade.
Marsh, S. D. (n.d.). The death of the book. Retrieved from http://www.marshillreview.com/extracts/mash.shtm
Weinberger, D. (1998, March 19). The death of documents and the end of doneness. Journal of the Hyperlinked Ogranization. Retrieved from http://www.hyperorg.com/backissues/joho-march19-98.html#death
Documents that exist in the digital world can be much less permanent than paperbased documents. Related concepts include: perpetual beta, living (or evergreen) documents, and continuous improvement. All of these ideas point to the concept of impermanence. Content that exists in a particular form one day may not exist in that format the next day. Efforts to increase permanence such that accessibility to ideas is maintained require that time is stopped occasionally such that a snapshot can be kept as a record. More important is that today’s library cataloguing routines are difficult to apply to documents that won’t stand still. How do you catalog an artifact that won’t remain in existence?
Bowker, G. C. (2005). Memory practices in the sciences (Inside technology). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Internet Archives: Wayback Machine. Retrieved from http://www.archive.org/web/web.php
Business Document Management Systems
Although paper books, newspapers, and other printed material may be decreasing, the business world is turning to digital document and content management systems to augment their communication and documentation processes. For years, there have been Paperless Society/Paperless Office utopia theories. In contrast, requirements for record-keeping seem to be increasing.
Ragnet, F. (n.d.). The future of documents. Retrieved from http://futureofdocuments.blogs.xerox.com
Document Management Software for Project Managers and Business Examples
Ademero. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.ademero.com
Knowledge tree. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.knowledgetree.com
Other Topics of Interest Relative to Document Management in the Business World
Content management, digital documentation, knowledge management systems, information delivery systems, and more.
Increasing Access to Digital Resources and Digital Archives
Services like Google books and the Project Gutenberg are increasing digital access to archival materials at the same time that current book publishing is decreasing. Access to these documents is no longer facilitated by or dependent on the library archives. In contrast, these archives are now partly dependent on commercial ventures, which have both benefits and costs.
American Libraries. (n.d.). In Internet Archive. Retrieved from http://www.archive.org/details/americana
Google Books. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://books.google.com
Main Page. (n.d.) In ProjectGutenberg wiki. Retrieved from http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Main_Page
Materiality of Communicative Practices
Researchers in communication theory are also dealing with the impact of technology on established communication practices. The idea of “boundary objects” is explored.
Osterlund, C. (2008). The materiality of communicative practices: The boundaries and objects of an emergency room genre. Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems, 20(1), 7–40. Retrieved from http://iris.cs.aau.dk/index.php/volume-20-40200841-no-1.html