Today I went to History and the Internet at King’s College London. It was a small event with not many people but with a very high level of people there, it was quite wonderful. From the blurb:
“The internet is a phenomenon studied from a wide variety of academic disciplinary perspectives – sociology, political science, psychology and philosophy as well as information science. But there is scope for a more thorough application of historical knowledge in this area. This event will seek to provide an historical perspective; subjects discussed will include technological revolutions, communications networks, the printing press, Hansard, Big Data now and in the past and the challenges and opportunities of the internet for the historian and the archivist. ”
Professor Jason Peacey, Head of History Department, UCL, talked about ‘The media and Parliament: seventeenth-century parallels’ One of the really striking takeaways I got from his talk was how he presented democracy’s edge on one side with the unengaged and at the other side with the extremists and it strikes me as as a wonderfully clear picture of the ‘shape’ of public life and also furnishes us with a shape of how to deal with the work of keeping democracy alive since if either outlier group becomes too large or powerful then the democratic process will suffer. I am not saying that the world doesn’t need resolutions, I am simply saying this is a model for how democracy can see itself in context and should act to persevere its form.
I discussed the importance of citations and the ability of having real-world time references inside audio and video media files with Edward Wood, Director of Research, House of Commons Library and Anthea Seles of the The National Archives to what seemed like great enthusiasm. We agreed to continue this dialog.
Furthermore, Dr Nishanth Sastry, Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Telecommunications Research, Department of Informatics, King’s College London, talked about the importance of interaction, though he called it ‘processing: “Unlocking processing capabilities is crucial to realising value from data”. Yay!
At the Groucho now, enjoying a very dry mocha, something I started with this week on campus. Very happy making.