thesis stress

the thesis…it is too ponderous….too much….adf;lkj

quick idea: Google Archives — the full digitization of all the archives in the world, with Google as its search portal. The scanning gruntwork could be farmed out to the masses, in the same way the Oxford English Dictionary came together — whenever someone requests a box of documents for their own research, they could voluntarily scan it in while perusing, and slowly a mass of scans would accrue from the wealth of research material being accessed by the People…and Google would collate this, infuse it with their Great Google Algorithm, and historical research would be revolutionized! democratically!

still largely AWOL, banging my head against various items of furniture


5 responses to “thesis stress

  • Mike Cosgrave

    Brilliant idea! Not sure it should be run by Google (who seen to be intent on scanning the Universe) but certainly, every research student should be required to scan or at least photograph at least some of the primary materials they use and make them available. If I photograph documents in an archive, I always offer the archive a copy of the images. My next History & Computing option in our MA next year will involve lots of digitisation of primary materials

    One thing that really annoys me is when collections of primary material are sold off by archives to private companies for digitisation – the companies then recoup their costs be selling the material to university libraries for thousands of euro/pounds/dollars (delete as needed).

    I know having all the primary docs in the world digitised by grad students would take a lot longer, but it would be good training for the students and at least then the resulting material would be free – because I certainly can’t justify asking my library to blow 25% of our depts annual library grant on something like a single year’s worth of Cabinet papers.


  • Gavin Robinson

    I think the research councils should only be giving grants to projects which are producing digitised resources. I also think there’s a lot of scope for grass roots digitisation, and it could even be quicker than big centralised projects if it gets enough people involved. Wikipedia, Project Gutenburg and Free BMD are all hinting at some of the possibilities.

  • rAchel

    yes, I am all for grassroots digitization! if it worked for the OED, with torrents of obscure word definitions flooding into England from people all over the world, on little slips of paper, then it will work for a torrent of scanned & photographed archive materials flooding into virtual space. and I agree with mike that it should not be privatized — I was not aware that archive materials were farmed out to private companies for digitization (perhaps efficient, but definitely undesirable course of action).

  • Eisenheim

    That would be an excellent idea. The effort should be decentralized i.e., individual institutions and organziations should be able to do it on their own and then it can be indexed by google etc.

  • eceentric parabola

    I realise I’m more than a little late to this discussion, and similarly I come bearing some old links, but – what the heck! – I thought these might be worth adding here:

    A couple of pieces by Robert Darnton in the New York Review of Books:

    The Library in the New Age (2008):

    The Library: Three Jeremaids (2010):

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