Thursday, March 29, 2007

When A Blog's Author Dies...

What happens to a blog when the author dies? That's one of the latest questions Dave Winer's asking. See point number two of Dave's four predictions of the future.

Many of us have made substantial investments into the digital realm. Unfortunately, the blunt truth is that we have no guarantees that our work, this blog included, will survive much beyond our death. As an example from the Library field, I'm seeing few digital footprints to Dr. Anne Clyde's work since she passed just two years ago. [Internet archive being the exception...]

So here's Dave's idea: a trustworthy entity such as Google, Microsoft, traditional cemeteries, or insurance companies, should pick up on this gap and offer a one time fee service to preserve the work of bloggers.

While the concept seams reasonable, I wonder if this might be a bit of an ego service for the wealthy. Not that 'wealth' hasn't always been the criteria for the biggest gravestones, but the question of quality thought would have to be addressed. With print media we had editors and publishers acting as gatekeepers to publication. But now with the web, and the barriers to publishing being removed, what happens when a prominent thinker passes? There really should be a 'hall of fame' cemetery to come to the rescue. No?

Perhaps Archivists, both community and academic based, are already thinking about this? I do hope the answer comes from many and various groups, and not just those looking to 'make a buck'. .... Perhaps legal bloggers will ban together and come up with something? An industry based approach wouldn't seem that far fetched.

Admittedly, this concept leads down many paths. None of us document our chosen web services and passwords as well as we should, and we could all take a day once in a while to update our 'digital wills'. Succession planning on the web is serious business, as Winer's idea provokes, but the preservation of quality thought and the crossroads we now are arriving at, would seem just as critical.

[cross-posted to slaw]

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1 Comments:

Blogger George Lessard, The MediaMentor said...

Re.: "When A Blog's Author Dies..."

What about all those free websites? Yahoo! Groups, del.ico.us FaceBook and the like?

Sooner or later there will be an ever growing mass of pages on the internet that will be owned by the dead....

All these services will need to find a way of dealing with this...

7:26 AM  

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