Declarations, independence, and text in the information age

Richard J. Cox

Abstract


The World Wide Web has presented new opportunities for the creation and dissemination of documents, especially in providing a greater power to citizens to proclaim opinions and to call for actions. There have been, of course, such documents before the Web. The Declaration of Independence was made all the more powerful, for example, because of the power of print to multiply copies and to support public readings of it as the American colonies took up arms against England. Renewed interest in the preservation of the original manuscript of the Declaration provides an opportunity to compare how, in the emerging Knowledge Age, we should consider documents and their text as well as to question what records professionals such as archivists should see as their priorities. Can we, from this time on, conceive of textual preservation in the same manner? Can we even have the same sense of primary or sacred documents as we have in the past? At the least, can we exhibit or use older documents in the same fashion as we did prior to the advent of the Web?

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5210/fm.v4i6.674



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