Looking into the ways that in information perspective shapes my perspective on my chosen area of research got me to actually think about the different fields that are engaged with my particular interest and topic. So as I have been going on about for four weeks now, my interest is in the effect of archiving social media (to boil it down). The bedraggled daisy post from last week gave me a good start with 14 topics that I should cover to be able to properly frame and conduct my research (Copyright, Ownership, Privacy, Corporate Policy, Social Media Corporations (meaning Facebook, Twitter etc governing body), Social Documents, Ephemeral Documents, Preservation of Digital Databases, Provenance of Digital Records, ”Private” Records Management, Active/Passive “Collection”, Migration, Intention and Technology). Taking these 14 items I can see that there are two main fields (Computer Science and Law) that are being invoked for an information (Archives) centered discussion.
So how is this helpful?
There is already a lot of conversation around the issues of privacy and copyright in digital and social environments, so whats the point of bringing in another perspective. As an information professional I have the unique perspective of both the user and the creator. I am able to sympathise with the creators of blogs and other social media who do not want their privacy “invaded” by technologies and or groups that are not the normal audience of the media. On the other hand, I am also able to get excited when the Computer Science’s tell me that it is possible to preserve a website and that they have the technology to be able to do it.
My information perspective helps me to be able to not only better understand the arguments that are currently out there, but it also allows for me to ask questions that neither Law nor Computer Science would be able to adequately answer by themselves. The Law is able to tell you in black and white (and sometimes grey) terms how privacy law is enforced. Computer Science is able to bring all sorts of fun technologies to the table. But it is the information specialist who will be able to ask detailed question that will explain to both why it is important to work on the issue in this way. (Huge generalizations I know)
For my specific context one of the issues that I will have to grapple with is a question of the legality of using a computer generated spider to not only map out websites, but to completely duplicate the content of the pages as well (at this point I am assuming that there is a positive moral imperative that would justify the retention of websites in archives). Intertwined with this question are questions about which archive would store them, how will they be used, and who retains ownership of the information on the site? GAH generating more questions than what I am able to answer…
I suppose to put it more succinctly the my position as an information professional allows me to understand the importance of finding a solution in my given research area, and empowers me to look at Archival, Legal and Technological theories/issues to be able to discover what that solution is.