Odes to Mnemosyne


Technologies of Memory

16 Jan 1999
I woke up this morning thinking about this as a History of Technology project for myself (having wrung suggestions from each of the other participants in the course yesterday), and so I'm more or less obliged to do what I've said others should do, in the way of making a hypertext commonplace weblet to record my thinkings, explorations, findings, and so on ... and eventually to build it into a something else (a finished project? surely not...) that illustrates and illuminates the processes of gatheration and presentation and inspiration.

I started as I often do, scribbling thoughts onto paper so they wouldn't get lost, and asked Betsy what she thought and then we talked back and forth and I scribbled some more and in about an hour I had a whole lot of examples, instances, suggested directions. Here's the list more or less as it evolved, each item being a potential digression to an exposition with other links. Some of those will find their way into the structure that I expect to construct in this space; others will be possibilities and nothing more, until I get around to following up on them. And I expect that many more will emerge (and be recorded here somehow) as I go about the process. (A reordering of the list is available as Table 1)

I did an Annie search, starting with the SUBJECT 'Memory', and that led me to a HOLLIS search for a book we don't have, but I recalled.

17 Jan
It occurred to me that a meta page would be a sensible way to keep track of the evolutionary process(es) of this weblet (a place to keep track of the process of doing the project). There's a danger of scatteration (what really should be on which page? how to keep track of the pages as they diverge?) inherent in this medium, though in theory there can be links to everything and maps and such-like.

A page of quotations seems like another necessity.

28 Jan
Chance led me to the latest volume (v. 2., bk. 3) of

 TITLE        The History of cartography / edited by J.B. Harley and David
 PUBLISHER    Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 1987-
 CONTENTS     v. 1. Cartography in prehistoric, ancient, and medieval Europe
                and the Mediterranean -- v. 2., bk. 1. Cartography in the
                traditional Islamic and South Asian societies -- v. 2., bk. 2.
                Cartography in the traditional east and southeast Asian
                societies -- v. 2., bk.3. Cartography in the traditional
                African, American, Arctic, Australian, and Pacific societies.
 Leyburn Library        GA201 .H53 1987
which has lovely pictures of a great variety of maps and spatial aides memoires, including Oceanic navigation, representations of the cosmos, Indian and Inuit maps...

10 March
Found Bruce Sterling's wonderful Master-List of Dead Media (re-found via Wayback, 27 July 2004)