Monday, 8 November 2010

Lord, preserve us!

Or if not The Lord, then at least the British Library. Out of the blue I received an email last week. It looked like this:

Remarkably, it isn't a hoax. Apparently the British Library is ensuring sites like mine aren't lost in the ether of ephemera that is the internet. As they say, 'Thousands of UK websites have been collected since 2004 and the Archive is growing fast.' Visitors can, '...see how sites have changed over time, locate information no longer available on the live Web and observe the unfolding history of a spectrum of UK activities represented online. The Archive contains sites that reflect the rich diversity of lives and interests throughout the UK.' Including, apparently, the random jottings of stay-at-home dads.

Which reminds me, I have yet to reply. Not that I'm having any doubts about agreeing. Far from it! Although it does rather make your fingers linger slightly longer over the computer keyboard knowing that what you are about to write is likely to be preserved ad infinitum, read by the scholars of the future and picked over for the tiniest clue about what life was like as a dad in the twenty-first century. It's makes each post rather like burying a time capsule: what to include? What to leave out? And why?

Of course, as they've already selected the site they're well aware of the eclectic range of topics that my bird-like brain alights upon to turn into a blog-post. But the concept of having your words read long into the future, when the world you inhabit no longer exists, when the things you hold dear no longer have meaning and the very medium you write in is as outdated as a typewriter is as fascinating as it is frightening. I'm going to give some thought to what I'd like to tell my readers of the future. And I'm asking for your suggestions, too. What should we tell a historian of the future about blogging, parenting and writing? Can we know now, in the middle of it all, what will be important in fifty or a hundred years time? And what, if anything, would you like to edit out?!
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