Book burying – the new book burning?

Whatever your take on the recent #amazonfail controversy – it does suggest, as this article implies in its concluding paragraph that book burying (or in fact any form of content supression) could be the new book burning. Given that tagging in it various forms is becoming the principal method of information retrieval, this episode shows the importance of being alive to ways in which this process can be manipulated – wittingly or otherwise.

This concept of content supression also came up recently when I was doing a Google image search for the picture of Nicole Kidman throwing her arms in the air with relief having been notified of the finalisation of her divorce from Tom Cruise.  This (albeit rather grainy) image received a lot of attention at the time and appeared in many newspapers. I certainly remembered it enough to want to use it in a presentaion to illustrate the separation of content from distribution!  However, try and find it and it is surprisingly difficult.  This did make me suspect that someone has made a concerted effort to cleanse the web of this image.  You can understand why someone might want to do this and you can understand that this is probably done entirely legally – however it does raise some interesting questions about preservation of the digital record and the idea that this should be kept intact – no matter what it might contain.  It would seem to me that the way to right wrongs or inaccuracies is through  interpretation of, or addition to, the source material, rather that trying to mess with it.

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