|||Clive|||http://clivedavis.blogspot.com/2005/03/somewhere-someone-will-be-reading-i_04.html|||3/04/2005 08:02:00 pm|||||||||
The rise of the telegraph and then the telephone muted the historical record. People rarely saved telegrams and almost nobody recorded telephone calls. From WWII up until the mid-'90s, a lot of historically important dialog disappeared into the ether. The history of the era is largely an oral one, collected post hoc from survivors. Such oral histories, heavily shaded by hindsight and contemporary sensibilities, give a much different view of events than written communications done as part of actual events. We especially miss the evolution of ideas over time.
The rise of the Internet has brought written communication back into the day-to-day world and given us a means of capturing the thinking of people for the historical record. Computer historians have already used early Internet archives to rewrite the early history of the Internet itself (which was what most of the early dialog on the Internet was actually about).