Thursday, June 12, 2008

Body of Work

As computers have improved, and the Internet has grown, progress has been spotty. During my career as a writer, I used to save stories and articles I wrote on disks. When I tried to use those disks later to make use of earlier writing, I discovered that the disks had degenerated and could not be used.

People are under the impression that once they put something on a CD that it might be good for a long time, but not necessarily. Longer than floppies, but not forever. So when I have searched the web to see how much of what I have written is out there, I found that very little is. Some of my writing was before the Internet, and even the publications I wrote for after the Internet was well established never got around to loading their entire publications on line.

As a result, much of my back pages are lost. Hard copies were lost in moves, and interestingly, some of the stuff that did get posted was reviews of music CDs that I wrote, usually posted by the musicians. So the search may look like all I wrote were a handful of music reviews, but my output was much greater than that. And if this is true in my case, it will also be true in many other cases.

I would say that the album reviews that can be found online probably represent no more than one percent of all my published writing, and does not accurately convery a feel for the entire body of my work, but some future web surfer will never know that. So we have to be careful of what we think we know simply because it is on the web. The web does provide access to a great amount of data, and it is like having a reference library at our constant disposal. But vastly different pictures of a body of work can be had from what is there and what is not there.

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