In my last post, I was going to write about how maybe digital librarians might have too narrow of a definition about what a digital library is. It reminds me of the discussions about whether or not folk art is art as defined by artsy people (it generally isn’t). One of the examples that I thought of were all those Geocities webpages that people put a lot of time into. I poked around the Archives Team website a bit but nothing really jumped out at me as a good example, so I omitted that part of my blog.
I have spent a lot of time working on endangered Native American languages, especially Ojibwe. Well, I had Star Trek, Next Gen on the Roku tonight while I was working on some grant documentation. Worf was giving a speech before he underwent the second rite of ascension and I could have sworn he used an Ojibwe word for ‘thank you’ – miigwech.
So of course, I watched it again and yep, I wasn’t mistaken. There was the word miigwech. I just had to know what the Klingon word actually was, so I Googled it and up pops an archived Geocities website with a Klingon glossary. I didn’t find the word, but then again, I didn’t search very hard.
The actual Geocities archive itself is not very useful since there is no metadata attached to any of the site captures and there is no easy way to navigate it. But I am sure there are some good things in there, including art, documents, images, video and audio that is no where else on the web. I don’t think anyone would mistake it for a digital library though.
Or could it? It sure sounds like Borges’ Library of Babel.
Video for those who are shaking their heads and wondering just what the heck I am talking about: