I was listening to radio 3 late last night, not my usually choice of station, just passing through the frequencies looking for some rock music. There was an essay reading which sounded intriguing about a synagogue in old Cairo. According to Jewish law no document or writing which invoked the name of God could be destroyed. The documents were stored in the synagogues. During medieval Cairo it was common practise to write ‘In the name of God’ or something similar on the simplest written documents. These documents have provided archeologists with a wealth of information about life for everyday people. The writer of the essay mused over how these people would have felt if they knew that personal letters written to family and friends were being translated and read by historians and researchers. Or if they even thought that there shopping lists, preserved on scraps of parchment, would one day give such a wonderful insight into how daily life was lived.
I began to wonder how historians would view information preserved from this day and age. Not just the usual sources of information, books, blogs, journals which have been edited and redrafted to make them fit for public reading, but some of the other stuff. Those strange unreadable lists we make in the note pads on our mobile devices, typed so quickly without regard or use of spell check. The private conversations using messenger. The things we upload into iclouds which will always be there and never really get deleted.
Maybe one day a millennia from now cyberologists will find these relics of the ancient internet. I wonder what they will make of them?