Add a Comment to this Note (list members only)
Date: Mon, 13 Mar 2000 23:58:24 -0800 (PST)
Date: Sun, 05 Mar 2000 20:42:09 -0600
From: Bruce Sterling
Dead medium: 4-digit clocks? (the Long Now Foundation)
Source(s): see text

(((tomj note: though this is nothing more than a press release I decided to run it anyways, since the opposite of a thing is pretty much the same as the thing itself. Or so it may seem at 1AM.)))

Alexander Rose (executive director) 415.561.6582 The Long Now Foundation FAX.561.6297

For Further Information: Margaret MacLean Conference Manager 310.450.8848. Alexander Rose Executive Director 415.561.6582

For Immediate Release

Great Minds to Discuss '10,000-year Library'

The Long Now Foundation and Stanford University Libraries announced they will hold an invitational conference, "The 10,000-year Library," June 30 - July 2, 2000 on the Stanford campus sponsored by the Lazy Eight Foundation. Two dozen confirmed participants - including Elizabeth Niggeman head of the German National Library; cuneiform expert William Hallo of Yale University; leading innovators in high-tech, such as Brewster Kahle the creator of the Internet Archive, an extraordinary Native American anthropologist Dave Warren; Council on Library and Information Resources director Deanna Marcum; and others -will join the Long Now board (Danny Hillis, Paul Saffo, Kevin Kelly, Peter Schwartz, Roger Kennedy and Doug Carlston) and librarians to deliberate on the permanence of information and the nature and need for long-term thinking about it.

In a time of accelerating technology, accelerating history, and a dangerous shortening of civilization's attention span, the role of libraries becomes deeper than ever. Libraries need to be rethought in the new context and in the light of civilization's now-global and very long term responsibilities. Some new initiatives need to be set in motion. The conference participants will address needed directions for such initiatives. According to Stewart Brand, co-chairman of the Long Now board, "We want to jump-start some serious, collaborative thinking about how to see information - the real narrative of civilization - in very long-term ways. We're talking in part about technology, but it goes much deeper, right to the root of why we are here, what we're doing, and what kind of legacy do we want to leave to our descendents and to their successors."

"Stewardship of cultural content is the essential role of research libraries," says Stanford University Librarian Michael A. Keller. "Serious players in this field have always collected, organized, and preserved information - OK, books, mostly - on behalf of future generations, but up to now, we haven't really thought seriously about how many such generations, or how to think about the mission in terms of thousands of years. Digital information technologies, with their notorious instability, force us to reassess how we go about fulfilling this mission hereafter. So we are an interested party. But nobody knows what the important questions are, to say nothing of solutions. This conference will be tremendously valuable in helping to pose the right questions." Adds Brand, "The issues are pan-disciplinary, so the group we're bringing together is as broad as we can make it with a small group."

The format will be similar to what Long Now used successfully in 1998 at the Getty Center in Los Angeles with a related conference called "Time & Bits: Managing Digital Continuity." The participants will meet for dinner and introductions Friday evening; scheme and probe all day Saturday; spell out next steps Sunday morning, and sum up and for a public audience Sunday afternoon. The public event - for invited press, scholars, technologists, and others - will also include a question & answer session. (Details about the public event will be announced later.) Expected outcomes of the conference will be a publication and paths toward subsequent conferences, whose topics should emerge from this conference. There may be recommendations to specific institutions of actions to pursue.

The Long Now Foundation was officially established in 01996 to develop the 10,000-Year Clock and 10,000-Year Library projects as well as to become the seed of a very long term cultural institution. It has been nearly 10,000 years since the end of the last ice age and the beginnings of civilization. Progress during that time was often measured on a "faster/cheaper" scale. The Long Now Foundation seeks to promote "slower/better" thinking and to focus our collective creativity on the next 10,000 years. For more information about the Long Now Foundation:

Stanford University Libraries and Academic Information Resources (SUL/AIR) develops and implements resources and services within the University libraries and academic technology units that support research and instruction. With collections containing over seven million volumes and numerous of archival, manuscript, map, media, government document, database and serial materials among its fourteen libraries, SUL/AIR coordinates with Stanford's Business, Law, Medical, and SLAC libraries and the Hoover Institution to provide comprehensive information resources to the Stanford Community. The Academic Information Resources division provides information-technology support and instruction and network services to the entire campus community, whether in the library or in the dorm. SUL/AIR's HighWire Press division provides advanced online publication and access services to over 170 of the world's leading peer-reviewed scholarly journals in science, technology, and medicine, and thus is significantly involved in the provision of information to the world's research and academic communities. For more information about the Stanford Libraries:

The Lazy Eight Foundation is a non-profit, charitable organization dedicated to promoting research and development in the sciences and education. It supports efforts to bring together scientists, artists, and educators across disciplines, with a focus on projects that offer creative solutions to educational, social and environmental problems. The Lazy Eight Foundation works with its "Lazers," individuals from a broad range of disciplines who advise the Foundation on various projects. For more information about the Lazy Eight Foundation:

Stewart Brand 3E Gate 5 Road 415 331-9241 fax 331-6123 Sausalito, CA 94965 USA

The Long Now Foundation PO Box 29462, Building 116, Presidio, San Francisco CA 94129 415 561-6582 fax 561-6297

I have a new book, THE CLOCK OF THE LONG NOW. $10.40 at 299-4269441