Archives

The archive MITH’s Vintage Computers archive was something I found fascinating. Just browsing the list of items I found myself studying types of hardware and software I had forgotten about or never knew existed. MITH gives great example of what Sample describes as platform story. Just like we tagged The Cantos in class MITH tags each item with a tag that references either the platform it was used with or the type of interface it is. When someone clicks on a tag, such as video card, a new list will appear showing all of the other video cards making it easier to find and compare parts you were looking for.

The introduction of the MITH archive claims that the items were not just artifacts but tools that helped retrieve information about obsolete media and technology. This made me think of the quote from Werner/Voss that said “the archive’s teleological function and its claims to universality- the accumulation, conservation, and transmission of the totality of human knowledge- in ways that encourage us to re-imagine its dimensions” (Werner/ Voss ii). Reading the introduction of the archive makes it clear that they aren’t just making a list of old technology but instead they are assembling a list in order to preserve pieces that paved the way for the technology we have today. They want us to be able to see how important the older forms of technology were to that time and how the world was affected by it. MITH is a great archive for the computer history because it indexes important pieces that played a major role in society then and how their influence on today.

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2 thoughts on “Archives

  1. I agree with you on the way that MITH archives the technology. They archive it in a way that lets you click on the platform to then look at the different types that have been made. And each platform has lead to the next one. So keeping an archive of the different ones shows how the technology has advanced and how it became what it is today. I mean we wouldn’t have the consoles we have today without the ones before it. Showing the progression is really important in the continuation of progression. Technology is something that is built from. We could not have movies without photographs. This is the same way that most technology is formed, from other technology.

  2. I have to agree with both the OP and med608 on the importance of such archives because it “encourage(s) us to re-imagine its dimensions.” We are able to look at archives such as MITH and draw important data from it in which we may make predictions for future progression (and their influence). For example, we can examine the devices and determine how many transistors are inside their Integrated Circuit or IC chips. We relate the umber of transistors to the year and we are able to verify the validity of Moore’s Law (the observation that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years). Now, after confirming the validity of Moore’s Law using linear interpolation, we may predict how much computing power we may have in the future and how such a future increase in computing power will effect our society at that time based on previous shifts in our societal paradigm.

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