Sunday, December 09, 2007

Tubies, Photos And Catalogues

We’ve all been there. Hopping around the inter tubers looking for information and images only to find it is still a 1950’s version of getting in the car and traveling to a facility and asking the gatekeeper if it might be possible to see said information. Those might have been really cool field trips for 4-H or Jews for Jesus members doing “research”, such as little Roy who really just wanted to see photographs of the 1952 Milk Jugs Queen or Fetter Levi, who after attending his yahrzeit, was hoping to see more “biblical” images of the Virgin Mary. The gate keeper decided what you could or could not access, especially when the research included National Geographic magazine issues dealing with aboriginal people of the dark continents.

Libraries, government archives and universities, among so many institutions, refuse to change or just don’t get the internet. Actually, many times, I hear it is an economic decision, but it appears that in the long list of financial priorities, including documenting the sexual rights of dwarves with the left handed pathological lift loss syndrome, the improving and extending the reach of their holdings and archives is near the bottom of their list of priorities. Constantly breaking new ground is the mantra of these institutions however worthless that ground is. Of course, the other end of this spectrum of never ending yesteryear are those institutions that believe people that need more than a written description are too stupid which is code for a) we are too cheap to spend or b) we’re broke or c) if it was was good enough for my parents and their parents then it is good enough for you.

Where are the pictures, drawings, blueprints and plans? If I want to see a catalogue of physical holdings I can always visit a library or a museum. If I could see the images I am searching for, then I would be more inclined to look further into that facility, visit it and support it. I’m not traveling 300 miles to view material based on a catalogue written in 1780 by someone who couldn’t understand why all those nice young men dressed in red had to go back to England.