Friday, March 06, 2009

Desctruction of the Cologne City Archive

It has been briefly in the news on TV here in the UK that on 4.March in Cologne a house crashed down as a consequence of subway construction, but I only found out more details when reading Spiegel Online: The building which had collapsed was the city archive of Cologne. Two people died. The archive had contained the complete documentation of the city, starting from the 12th century. Many 10,000 of documents, books, historic materials are lost. The legacy of nobel laureate Heinrich Boell which just had been moved recently into the archive, is lost. The cultural damage is immeasurable.

This leads to the question why such documents were not stored appropriately in safe-like conditions, in metal containers, or something that would prevent damage. It also raises the question about the subway construction in Cologne which is highly controversial. Maybe it should have been built deeper, or not underneath the historic centre of Cologne. Now a lot of protest against completing this subway line is starting to appear.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

New types of blogs

In December 2007, I had thought about the possibility to create a modification of the usual "web log = blog": the "news log = slog". It has not yet caught on... a google search did not reveal any deep insight, except that slog is a term in cricket sports. Interestingly, one site defines slog (among other very interesting definitions) as a boring blog (like this one here...). So it might not be a good idea to call anything related to news logging "slogging".

There are actually already other derivations from the usual blog out there: a "plog" is derived from a variety of meanings: Poem blog, project blog, portfolio blog, private blog, according to Wikipedia. One could also add another version: "past log = plog". This would be a unique use of blogging: to use post-dating (editing posting dates to represent a much earlier posting time than the actual post is made) to write now about events in the past. Somehow this would of course defeat the real purpose of blogs, to be a true log of current events. But it sometimes is necessary to change the date, as the entry into the blog can sometimes not be made immediately, but only later (e.g. because of unavailability of online access). In that case, the blog entry would rightfully have the date of the event itself, not the date of the posting. I do this here sometimes, when on travel: write a blog entry offline and just store it on my laptop, then post it later when back home.

But this could be even taken further: Blogger here allows to put posting dates starting from 1.1.1970. One could now create blogs from old journals, or could even make completely fictional blogs. This would truly be a new literary form, as the blog author can now, at this time, write and post as if (s)he is in the past. And this could actually be a form to tell a story, completely fictional. It would be interesting if writers would start to experiment with this and write stories that are told as blogs. This would have two audiences: the people who would follow this blog, live as it is being written and posted, and others who would read the whole blog, once it is finished, as a kind of narrated story, based solely on the blog entries. One could envision developing stories that are followed and read, even as they are not yet completed - really a new way of accessing literature!

Anyone aware of such efforts by someone? If I had some writing talent, I would try this myself...
Just found out that these kind of blogs actually exist: "Fictional blog = flog". There are quite a few of those out.