Dienstag, 6. März 2012

Google and Publisher's Rights

Germany currently has a fiercely fought debate, if publishers should share in the income, Google accumulates through using the publishers content.
As the publishers slowly lose any basis to gain income, the discussion is not only a hypothetical one, but one really determining the future of organized publishing.
Though most parties in the discussion overlook the strategic importance of this discussion.

Google did not really get the point of the discussion in comparing the publishers request with a hypothetical share, hardware providers could as consequence also request for making the internet possible.
Publishers do not determine the functionality of the internet, but provide the content.
Hardware providers already share in the success of the internet,
publishers who 'create' the content, do not get a share, but everyone thinks he can spread their created content for free, while the content will not be created much longer, if the current development continues.
Should this discussion should not be resolved, the future will look rather bleak in ways of well researched content on the internet.

But as publishers also did undermine their own demands by spending less and less on research, replacing all experienced employees with freelancers (nothing against them) and student volunteers working for free, the publishers already lost the only unique advantage they had. As a result this discussion soon will not be of any kind of importance much longer, as publishers are loosing their believability fast.

That publishers 'sell' their articles and make them part of an advertisement deal, does not help to increase their believability.

One suggestion to resolve the topic would be, as not the publisher, but the language determines the online search, that Germany as a nation shares in the created income accumulated with the German language results by Google.
Germany can share the generated income to its own liking with the German publishers and content providers (which in principle is every German speaking internet user putting something publicly visible online).

Samstag, 28. Mai 2011

London - In History and Videos on YouTube

I just found a new tool to combine information online (Storify.com). Here I collected some YouTube videos about London and its history.
Watch and enjoy ...

Donnerstag, 14. April 2011

News and Region

The way we consume information and get our daily news changes rapidly.
Newspapers lose their monopoly and information becomes much more 'ad libidum'.
In such a time we can get in contact and talk with likeminded people at the other side of the world. But at the same time we lose our common ground to talk to our neighbour.
Twenty years ago you greeted a neighbour in the morning discussing todays headline in the newspaper.
You no longer can do this nowadays, because in the rare case he still reads a daily newspaper, you most likely read another one or do not at all.
For two people with the same basis of information to meet in real life gets harder from day to day. But it does not really cause problems. We still have the weather and climate to talk about.
Perhaps that is the reason why climate turns out to be the most discussed topic in all groups of society nowadays. Nothing else is of so much concern to all of us.

Donnerstag, 7. April 2011

Documenting our Times in Film

I am a fan of "Spooks" so please excuse, that I speak of this series here more than of any other.
But in my opinion "Spooks" also does a great job in documenting our time.
Not that the events shown in the parts of this series are real events. But they show, what people fear most today. What they see as a likely event and crisis and how such a crisis could be stopped.
So "Spooks" in a way does much more than being a show of fictional events.
It even does mcuh more than any series centered around personal relationships of their protagonists. Those series mostly show scenereies, relationship topics which are well apart from real life and anything the viewer can really acquire.
Though in general sceptic about future historical documents about our time, I even give "Spooks" to some extent authority to document our attitude towards crises and political situations.

What impresses me about the "Spooks" series is, how closely they reach to portrait real events and still be fictional. The line in between documentary and fictional is a very slim one in this case.
Due to this fact, the "Spooks" series allows a multitude of conclusions. For example it opened my mind to see more clearly how our time would act and react in cases of emergency, what we see as likely crises to occur and how we nowadays would try to cope with them.
The series also reveals a very deep ingrained distrust in politicians, which I never saw as clearly manifested as in this series, though it is common ground for people on the street.
The series achieves to really portrait our times, which is an exceptionally well done work by the writers and the whole film crew of "Spooks"!
As a result, "Spooks" is able to reveal a great deal of attitude, common opinion and ways of living of our time.
Though not a real historical document, it is able to tell a great deal about our generation.

Spooks is both "History and Fiction".

Mittwoch, 30. März 2011

History and Future

The headline seems like an anachronism. But what I often wonder is, how future generations will do research of our time.
Not much information about daily life will be available any longer, as bills, notes, etc. are either thrown away, digital and deleted after a while or technically no longer available.
So I think that future generations will have to research our time through secondary documents like films, interviews, discussions, recorded TV broadcasts of shows, etc. These formats are much more likely to be transferred into future technical formats.
This will be a very selective and for one without a TV set not very fitting way to get a real impression of our time.
Historians in earlier times often also documented their present time.
E.g. Venice did a great job in documenting their history in a way they wanted it to be remembered. With all the multitude of current material I still think that our time in future will be a badly documented time for real life activities. Politics and main events on the other hand will be well documented in news and film.
Blogs are a good way to write about current life, but their future availability in the long run is uncertain. Their multitude also makes them a hard kind of historical document. One also can drown in too much to research and their relevance, connections and backgrounds are unclear and mostly not further researchable.
Here only time will see, what future historians will make of our time.

Samstag, 18. September 2010

Actors in Interviews

With most actors, I think they should only appear in films and refrain from doing interviews. I also do not appreciate actors commenting real life events. The utmost non-film-related action I accept from actors is social engagement.
But I absolutely credit them with no authority at all to speak about politics or politicians.
So you well can imagine, that I mostly avoid watching or reading interviews with actors. They can not tell me anything I want to know.
I am not interested in their private life or affairs. The only thing they could impress me with is making good films.

The only exception, which absolutely took me by surprise is the unnamed actor:
I do like him in his roles as Lucas North, Claude Monet, John Porter and (after his character is dumped into a big bowl of water and nearly drowned by Robin Hood) I even like his nearly human but slightly pissed of character of Sir Guy of Gisbourne.

You will ask - what has this all to do with HISTORY, the main aspect of this blog?
I asked myself - do I use the same scruples going through historical documents and results of historical research?
Do I mistrust results, when they do not come from historians or do I demean documents written by a non-professional?
In certain ways I very much do that!
But I also realised, that this attitude, though also practised in earlier times, is much more manifested since the early 19th century and its increasing departmentalisation of science.
Goethe was one of the last German scientists, being able to write about colour theory as well as biological studies of the Gingko tree, while being a well known writer and author of poetry. He still found avid attention and readership for his oevre.
Our division of science today seems to affect all aspects of life and business. Experts of all kind get specialised more and more even to parts of a scientific field.

And now you really have earned the link to the interview I am talking about in so many words:

Montag, 23. August 2010

London Celebrating Wellington's Victory

To the birthday (22nd of August) of the actor mentioned in the previous blog post, a very nice video with lots of London material was published on YouTube.
It is created out of little snippets from the "Spooks" series 7 (Kudos / BBC production) and includes an excerpt of one of my favourite music pieces, "Wellington's Victory" composed by Ludwig van Beethoven.
I hope you enjoy this little video advertisment for London spies:

The history behind the music is quite interesting, as Beethoven originally did not compose the music with the intention to celebrate the English victors. He, for quite some time, was a fan of Napoleon. In Vienna, with French troups enclosing the town (where Beethoven had first hand experience for his music of how canons in different distances sounded), this surely was not an easy point of view.