Breaking out Aristotle

Geoffrey Yeo, drawing on Aristotle in “Concept of Record (1),” delivers another reminder that exploring the discipline of philosophy might be fruitful.

“…it is increasingly recognized that in digital environments records cannot be seen merely as a subset of documents.” I was pondering why a document couldn’t be a subset of records. From a practical perspective, that would encompass cases where, say, some sort of snapshot of information in a database was created.

I need to ponder more, but perhaps one reason is related to the framing of copies as representations of records. I certainly think that’s a good way to think of them, and it makes it possible to both acknowledge their usefulness and concede their limitations (e.g. lossiness*)…but I would argue that they are, themselves, records. They are born of a particular context, they have their own provenance, they get their own metadata. No doubt their primary importance, in any practical sense, is as copies, but they do have an independent existence.

Having just read the article, as of this writing, I am still digesting. I think my adders are adders, not blow-apart-an-argument misunderstandings. Again, I need to ponder.


* Which I don’t believe is a word, but should be. It’s quite cromulent in its truthiness.

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