|My first laptop! - Compaq LST128, top of the range|
Fortunately, the pitifully low volume of fuel also meant the fire lasted less than a minute, and school was safe.
My 'A' level notes and first degree notes went much the same way, but by the early 1990s I had a green screen laptop the size of a small car, 'wordperfect' had made me legible, and I discovered Papyrus Bibliography system! My computer may have had the RAM of a modern fridge, but for the first time I could catalogue my notes, list, add keywords, search by author, date, anything. For the first time my notes were useful for something other than fuel.
|Sarah Jane's computer, Mr Smith|
I've worked a lot with archives and appreciate their value to future generations. In our (Birmingham's) archives, I'm also aware how little 'primary' material there is written by young people in our archives (rather than 'secondary' i.e. About children, of which there is quite a lot). It's a tough one, but the pandora box opened by our new technologies, accessible, properly catalogued information recorded by young people (and other poorly represented groups and comunities) is an opportunity we need to take full advantage of.
Today on Radio 4 news following the Cumbrian floods (again) a victim was upset about loosing the most valuable thing to her - the photos and artwork of her children. Our own children's work holds a special place for each of us, but how important is the artwork and voice of our children now, and what should we be doing to listen to, celebrate, document, and archive it for future (or even the same) generation?
Our own Creative Partnerships database does document and evaluate our work in schools extensively, and I hope will be put to good use when CP is no more in July. However, is this really going to hit our own (CP's) objectives to empower young people, providing open access to all? In Foucault's terms where does the knowledge and power reside?
Luke ended the programme with a pithy remark which sums up archives for me - 'I hope this is useful to you, Sarah Jane, or whoever you are, in the future , to save the world.'