Scholars of the future might look back on our time and say that humanity had the power to save it’s past. As we enter into the digital age, there is an assumption that any historical document that is not digitized runs the risk of being lost to history forever. Through the process of uploading documents, we preserve forever the story of the past. But digital storage is not without its risks. Servers and hard drives run the risk of malfunction. The other argument on digitization is access. It can not be disputed that uploading documents increases their accessibility.
In a perfect world, everything is brought into the Digital Age. Cost hinders this and politics decides who comes onto the boat. The first solution is to streamline the process of digitizing. This, when looked at the history of the task is not easy. In Amy E. Earheart’s piece “Can Information be Unfetted”, we see a field of work dominated by the patchwork method. The process is divided by scholars on a mission and somewhat larger institutions that are willing to pour resources into the task. Much of the process must be facilitated by hand. Opening dusty old boxes, prepping them into a machine and finally classifying their content. Cost comes mainly from this labor intensive process. We must recognize the cultural value of this information and supply the necessary resources it deserves.
One solution would be to have government come in and accept the responsibility of preserving the past. This would eliminate the patchwork approach and possibly create a more democratic formula in preserving the past. In addition, by having one entity preserve the past, we create a uniform approach to what can be seen as the wild west.