Welcome!

Digitizing History

Francie Helm

Subscribe to Francie Helm: eMailAlertsEmail Alerts
Get Francie Helm via: homepageHomepage mobileMobile rssRSS facebookFacebook twitterTwitter linkedinLinkedIn


Top Stories by Francie Helm

Are you old enough to remember the 1982-1993 TV show Cheers and its theme song lyrics by Gary Portnoy and Judy Hart Angelo? “Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name, and they're always glad you came; you want to be where you can see, our troubles are all the same; you want to be where everybody knows your name.” Now imagine the creation of that same kind of community feel, but instead of inside a common location of physicality put the community within the confines of an electronic screen and you have the popular phenomenon of Facebook. “We believe that Facebook represents an understudied offline to online trend in that it originally primarily served a geographically-bound community (the campus). When data were collected for this study, membership was restricted to people with a specific host institution email address, further tying offline networks to onl... (more)

The Smell of Newsprint a Soon to Be Anachronism

Will reading from ink on paper bring the same odd glances that those who still type (if any) on a typewriter now receive? There is something mystical about the experience of settling in with a newspaper. A park bench, a library couch, a kitchen table is transformed into a sacred place when holding the golden pages of stories. There is a thrill to seeing the rolled up print on the doorstep or a flat version on a bookstore shelf. My fear is that my sacred simple pleasure of reading a newspaper in print will be replaced by digital devices. Is this nightmare keeping you up at night t... (more)

Dell Sees the Writing on the Screen

The coverage of Cloud Computing gets ever wider, as reported, Apr 2, 2012, in PCWorld. Dell is in the process of acquiring Wyse Technology, a leader in cloud computing and desktop virtualization. This acquisition is yet another definite sign that the conception of what a PC is no longer holds, but is rapidly evolving. This evolution of the PC, for those of us able to recall the days of dummy terminals, almost feels like going backwards. But, of course, it is a loose association comparing dummy terminal days to the smart phone world of today, yet it is a handy illustration in whi... (more)

Digital Libraries: History Meets Technological Change

As someone who worked for a historical society during the time of its initial transition into digital formatting, I have first-hand knowledge of the complexities involved. When this major change first began, we were in a small building where almost all of our records were cataloged and accessioned in the old fashioned way. That meant card catalog indices housed in wooden cases with drawers full of hard copy records. It seems hard to imagine that little over a decade ago we were working in such a, retrospectively speaking, primitive environment. Since then, so much has changed it ... (more)

Going Viral: Steve Jobs in Silhouette

"We are all susceptible to the pull of viral ideas. Like mass hysteria. Or a tune that gets into your head that you keep on humming all day until you spread it to someone else. Jokes. Urban legends. Crackpot religions. No matter how smart we get, there is always this deep irrational part that makes us potential hosts for self-replicating information. (see wikiquote) "Want to stay alive in the new world? You better get tech savy. Things are more complicated these days when it comes to all aspects of life thanks to the amazing technological advances we are all enjoying. Business is ... (more)