MySpace, MyDeathSpace

Web 2.0 technologies enable more people to have access to creating their own online content. This results not only in blogs, wikis, websites, and social networking sites, but creative spin-offs, too. A mixture of tongue-in-cheek parodies and smart marketing exist, like the following: SecondLife is parodied by Geta(First)Life.  Bloggers with a dark sense of humour sign up for DeadJournal, not LiveJournal. Voyeurs whose itches aren’t scratched by YouTube may seek satisfaction at PornoTube.

The one that intrigues me most is MyDeathSpace. Explained in detail by Ray Pietras, this site posts details on the passing of people with MySpace accounts. The veracity of the obituaries can be tested against “publicly available information”, their front page states, as well as providing the following guidance: “We have given you the opportunity to pay your respects and tributes to the recently deceased members via our comment system. Please be respectful.”

There’s so much I want to say about this but need some time to reflect. Thoughts on online versus F2F [face to face] writing for openness and facilitating grieving; callous, disdainful comments from pseudonym-cloaked users, and the fallout of those comments. Thoughts on whether this can reduce the youth death rate due to preventable accidents and suicides, even while turning reading obituaries into entertainment…


Vatican Library closure

Closed for renovations until 2010, the Vatican Library‘s priceless books will not be directly accessible for research. Here are some extracts from the BCC report on technology in place there that tickled me.

“…the Vatican Library is in the vanguard of digital technology. Microchips have already been installed inside some valuable books, which tell librarians if a book is missing from its regular stack.”

And on the obverse side of the page, keeping in mind that I’ve just finished weeding outdated transparencies from our stacks:
“…stacks of old card indexes still fill one of the reading rooms when the library catalogue has been transferred to a digital database.

‘We shall never destroy them because scholars often prefer to use the old library cards, and they are a permanent record which we can always use to check possible mistakes in the database,’ Mr Piazzoni explained.”

inside the Vatican Library