The probability archive : essence, uncertainty, and the ‘Olduvai imperative.’

Hartley, John (2011) The probability archive : essence, uncertainty, and the ‘Olduvai imperative.’. In International Communication Association's 61st Annual Conference, May 26-30, 2011, Westin Waterfront Hotel, Boston, Massachusetts. (Unpublished)


Starting from a local problem with finding an archival clip on YouTube, this paper expands to consider the nature of archives in general. It considers the technological, communicative and philosophical characteristics of archives over three historical periods: 1) Modern ‘essence archives’ – museums and galleries organised around the concept of objectivity and realism; 2) Postmodern mediation archives – broadcast TV systems, which I argue were also ‘essence archives,’ albeit a transitional form; and 3) Network or ‘probability archives’ – YouTube and the internet, which are organised around the concept of probability. The paper goes on to argue the case for introducing quantum uncertainty and other aspects of probability theory into the humanities, in order to understand the way knowledge is collected, conserved, curated and communicated in the era of the internet. It is illustrated throughout by reference to the original technological 'affordance' – the Olduvai stone chopping tool.

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ID Code: 43831
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Archives, Internet, Knowledge, TV
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000) > FILM TELEVISION AND DIGITAL MEDIA (190200)
Divisions: Past > Research Centres > ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011 John Hartley
Deposited On: 08 Aug 2011 00:23
Last Modified: 13 Aug 2011 09:19

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