Information doesn’t want to be Free…

I have been carrying around Cory Doctorow’s most recent book Information Doesn’t want to be Free like it’s the Bible. Over a year ago I researched opening archives for mass (digital) consumption for a talk. I wish that Cory had published this book sooner!

“Information doesn’t want to be free- people do” (pg 94)

“Information is an abstraction,” so it doesn’t really want anything. It is us who live with mass information at our fingertips, who want free information. I must reiterate Cory’s (and my own) point that ‘free’ is a double entendre which can mean both gratis (money) and libre (open). We know that there will always be paywalls- we pay for internet access from our providers for goodness sake. But, we want information without digital locks and appropriate Copyright for 21st century consumption.

In a mass information age, there is so much content online that we spend a lot of time trying to make sense of it. In the physical world this is what archivists and librarians do. They provide the contextual knowledge which ties the information together in a digestible way. With the George Rodger Archive Jinx is the archivist, but I digitised the information of the archive for a digital audience. I shaped the information so that it had a clear narrative, essentially contextualising it for the viewer. This does throw authorship and accountability into the arena.

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