I listened to Jonathan Zittrain talk about self-archiving of your digital entertainment by passing on the hard drive – “like a survivalist putting a lot of canned goods into the root cellar” — in the wake of the mini-flap about Bruce Willis wondering whether he owns his iTunes collection.
I liked the canned goods analogy so much that I thought about the cupboards full of canned goods that I have in my basement. Shelves and shelves of preserved vegetables, fruits, and herbs. I’m no survivalist. I happen to be married to someone who is trained as a Master Food Preserver (and who grows a lot of vegetables, fruits, and herbs). The MFP program, like its cousin Master Gardener Program, is a way of inspiring volunteer service. The people who get certified promise to go out into the community and share their skills, as teachers.
Which leads me to wonder whether the world of data needs a counterpart “Master Music [Video, Image, etc.] Preserver” certification, people who are experts in training individuals to store, manage, and when appropriate transfer their digital collections. In the institutional universe we call these people librarians, archivists, and curators, and in the analog individual universe we call them (for some media) scrapbookers. I’ve never encoutered a corps of counterpart digital volunteers.
Could something like that be brought into being? Or would the threat of copyright infringement (contributory liability, or inducement) be an overwhelming deterrrent?