June 15, 2007

A thought on preservation

Over the past few years, I've read a lot of papers and heard a lot of talk about preserving electronic literature. We've had lots of proposals that everyone should write in XML, or xHTML, or HyperCard, or acid-free bits. Or paper. We've had fund raisers and institutions and panels and conferences.

What has it gotten us? How, exactly, are we better off?

I think, maybe, we'd all have done better advised to spend our time to writing great stuff — and writing about great stuff — and to let Time take care of itself. Time will do that, whatever we do.

Tho' much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are.