Sunday, July 8, 2012

Making the Web the Mirror of the World

In an earlier blog I noted that the Albert Einstein archives were being digitized and put online. Well that trend of making documents available online continues with the announcement this week that the video footage and propaganda reels of the 'Il Duce' Benito Mussolini will be made available online. In a deal with the Italian government over 30,000 newsreels and documentaries will be hosted by YouTube in the new channel Istituto Luce-Cinecittà . This is part of a larger effort by Google to make available world historical archives and documents. Other documents include the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Nelson Mandela archives and images from the Yad Vashem holocaust museum.

I support this effort of Google. I think that this is a noble effort which should be supported and lauded. This is a nice content diversification for YouTube. Plus, I think that it ensures that these documents remain online. They could be hosted by a government site or a site supported by a grant, but that is a mercurial existance with no garauntee of being around in the future. I understand that little is garanteed in life, but YouTube/Google is theoretically self-supportive. With Google/YouTube there is the best chance of these documents remaining readily available.

Reading this article reminded me of a couple that my Mom and I used to know. This note is significant because it was listening to their stories which helped forge an interest in me towards history. They were an old couple Alfred and Mary Clark. We met them when we used to live in Whiting Farms in Holyoke. They met when Alfred was with the army in Italy during WWII. Mary was Italian. She used to tell stories of what it was like to live in Italy during the Mussolini regime. She was quite proud when she said that she was present in the crowd when Mussolini was strung up in Milan. A bit macabre, yes, but it sparks the memory. I was always fascinated by the stories she told with her old pictures and memorabilia which she had in her apartment. Its partly those memories which drive me to tell my own in the hopes that I can spark a similar interest in others.

The original Guardian UK article -

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