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Context

October 25, 2012

For this post I was inspired by Derek’s posting of Monty Python’s “Spam” skit and his discussion about this week’s assignment. We are on a career path to maintain and preserve knowledge for future generations. But, one thing we need to strive to do is to maintain the context of that knowledge. This is a link to the Quebec History website that discusses context.
http://faculty.marianopolis.edu/c.belanger/quebechistory/Historicalcontext.html.

Going back to Monty Python – comedians throughout history craft their comedy on the events of the day or easily remembered by the audience. Monty Python’s audience lived through World War II and its aftermath. We see photos of cities that were literally leveled but we don’t see the destruction of agriculture. Spam, which was developed in 1937, literally fed the world and prevented mass starvation – frequently the only food available to eat was Spam.

We need to maintain knowledge and its context. A rock can be just a rock or it can be a rock from the moon.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. rbush953 permalink
    October 25, 2012 5:47 pm

    I didn’t know that about Spam, so thank you for putting it in context. I thought it went back to the Vikings. Obviously, this is why archives place such a premium on maintaining their collections within their original context, context being the way the creators arranged and used the material. When I took Erin Lawrimore’s LIBR 256 course on Archives and Manuscripts, she gave us a fairly limited set of documents from an archival collection belonging to an engineer who worked on the Manhattan Project. Nothing was spelled out overtly, and many of the documents were pretty mundane letters home, but it was amazing how quickly and thoroughly you could flush out his career and what he was involved with simply based on the dates, locations, and a few choice phrases.

  2. October 26, 2012 11:11 am

    Nicely said and great points! I never knew SPAM had been around that long but based on your brief explanation I can see why it is so popular in Hawaii. In further discussion on your points of maintaining and preserving information I think it is doubly hard today as technology plays such an important role in archiving. And as we are all aware, technology becomes obsolete quick and therefore we have to anticipate various methods for archiving.

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