Computers, bikes and things I’d like to remember.

XVI Brazilian Congress on Archival Science (Day Two)

August 27th, 2010 Posted in General

Professor Geoffrey Yeo

With my day one keynote behind me and my day three workshop off in the future, day two would be my day to take in some of the congress and hopefully get outside the hotel for a quick look around.

Having chatted over dinner with Professor Geoffrey Yeo, I was keenly anticipating his paper presentation. He did not disappoint. Drawing on a great British tradition of academic oratory, Professor Yeo delivered a cogent, clever, nuanced and challenging argument in support of the uniqueness of instances of digital records.

I’ll admit I was caught between furiously scribbling several pages of notes and just admiring his skill as a presenter. The subject matter happened to be close to my personal interests in digital preservation, so I was engrossed. At times I found myself in disagreement with his suggestions, but more often in vehement agreement, particularly when he concluded that it is “…impossible to have a complete list of significant properties [of digital objects] because they are contingent on user perception…” Oh yeah - testify! Take that, all you significant properties adherents!

His exploration of the concept of uniqueness or originality is one that has not received enough intelligent assessment in the digital domain, and it’s past due for careful consideration. I have long advocated that we cannot know what facet of a digital record will be important to a future researcher. Aspects other than obvious content may assume more importance than we currently imagine.

It’s fair to say that Professor Yeo’s talk rather eclipsed the remainder of the morning for me.

In the afternoon I returned to my room to do some further preparation for my workshop, then changed into shorts and T Shirt for a look at the Atlantic ocean. The beach front was a two block walk and I crossed the wide sand to touch the Atlantic for the first time.

Santos Beach

The weather was warm but the heavy haze made it not quite what I would call beach weather. A queue of huge transport ships were just visible off shore, lining up to enter the port of Santos. I walked the sand for a kilometre or so, looking at the trolleys of the mobile beverage vendors with their collections of folding chairs for their customers to sit at. In the distance I saw what I thought were a pair of Lifesaver ’swim between’ flags, but when I got there I found that they were each a different design and were the advertising flags of two different beach trolleys.

I crossed back from the beach to the famous beach front garden and I marveled at the paving which looks like mosaic ceramic tiles. Most of the pavement along streets is similar to this:

Paving

Having seen quite a few potholes in footpaths, I wondered at the fragility of paving with ceramic tiles. Then I discovered that it’s actually done with bricks of different types of rock:

Paving Bricks

That made more sense.

I had thought I might walk up to the Historical district to see the coffee museum and other historical attractions, but I was running out of daylight and energy, so I shelved those for another day.

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