The Delete Generation
August 30th, 2009

We are all part of the “delete generation”. Every second of every minute of every day people around the world are deleting their history, their thoughts and arguments, which these days are invariably presented in a digital environment. Penny Carnaby states that “our understanding of the impact of this kind of loss has not really matured. It may take a generation to actually understand what this means for the transmission of ideas and information over time. Do we yet understand what we are losing and does it matter? What is the economic, social and cultural impact of this loss of data?”

Presentation “The Delete Generation” at IFLA 2009, [Milan Italy, programme & papers] of Penny Carnaby, Adjunct Professor, Victoria University of Wellington, National Librarian and Chief Executive of the National Library of New Zealand. At IFLA Carnaby’s paper was presented by Sue Sutherland.

The presentation focussed on citizen-created content, digital equity and the preservation of community memory. Also view Penny Carnaby on video, as she originally presented ‘The Delete Generation’ in March 2009. Carnaby explores here the challenges and unlimited potential of Web 2.0, in reshaping thinking about what digital assets to collect and protect over time.

A quiet, web-roots-led, revolution is challenging the way librarians have traditionally viewed the protection and preservation of knowledge. While the complex issues concerning the protection and preservation of digital assets are better understood by the information professions, there is still much thinking required about the preservation and protection of the new wave of citizen-created content.

The digital world has changed all and there is now a further layer of complexity to traverse as well. It is not only the sheer quantity of digital content which is being created but there is a changing order in terms of who is the writer, the artist, researcher, film-maker of the 21st century. The world of Web 2.0 (and 3.0, 4.0 and 5.0) is turning established, authoritative knowledge systems upside down.

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