[iDC] Re: Re: Everything is Miscellaneous

David Weinberger dweinberger at gmail.com
Sat Jul 7 14:41:00 EDT 2007

Trevor has represented the book accurately. Unfortunately, between the 
time when I submitted the book and when it came out, the BBC became a 
worse and worse example. The backsliding had begun even before I 
finished, and I hastily added a line somewhere in there, lamenting the 

But, Rick's more important point is (as I take it) that overall (i.e., 
not just with regard to the particular flawed examples I use), access 
isn't as open, free and glorious as my book makes it out to be.

On the one hand, I'm sorry to have to agree with Rick. Things are not as 
rosy as we would like nor as rosy as the book makes out. Google Print 
could be so much more than it is. Yet, I'm hopeful that it -- or 
something like it -- will be more than it is.

On the other, I think the notion that users now own the organization of 
information is largely true and worth noting. URLs provide pegs, crude 
though they are, by which we can create layer upon layer of metadata 
without the permission of the owners of the URLs. E.g., no matter how 
desperately you may want to keep me from tagging your page as 
"Balderdash" (or "Genius!"), you cannot stop me from tagging it. The 
system and its capabilities are far from perfect, but user control of 
the organization of resources comes straight from the structure and 
architecture of the Web itself.

David W.

David Weinberger
Harvard Berkman Center for Internet & Society
self at evident.com
Elevator statement on file with building supervisor

trebor at thing.net wrote:
> Hi Rick,
> Thanks for input. I may have to respectfully disagree here.
>> In discussions about David Weinberger's interesting book I'm often struck by
>> the  disconnects between examples cited and actual experience.  For instance,
>> Trebor states:
>> In 1999 the BBC started spending $100 million a year to convert its archived
>> material into digital format, making it available for reuse.
>> Reuse by whom?  The suggestion is that digitization suddenly opens up access to
>> collections.  This is possible, but far from inevitable.  Copyright, license
>> agreements, union contracts and a licensing-oriented culture restrict reuse of
>> BBC materials to those willing to pay hefty license fees.  But unrestricted
>> items in their collections have always been available for licensing and reuse;
>> when it's time to make a copy, the film or tape goes to the lab for
>> duplication.  In any case, if the implication is that the world is going to be
>> able to reuse BBC collections, this is not so.
> As far as my review is concerned, I'm not misrepresenting David's
> characterization of the BBC digitization effort.
> (If in doubt, please read pp 96-97, which address this issue.)
> -Trebor
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