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The rebirth of the palimpsest - News from Nowhere [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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The rebirth of the palimpsest [Mar. 7th, 2017|10:27 am]

How often do I get to use the word 'palimpsest'? Figuratively, perhaps, but literally, a document which has been scraped clean so that the valuable parchment can be reused, where remnants of the original text can be detected under its successor? How often does that happen in these days of cheap paper and free electrons?

Except that when durham_rambler sent out the agenda for tonight's residents' meeting, he used last month's agenda as a template, and - as a neighbour has just pointed out - failed to change the date. What's that, if not a palimpsest?

Come to think of it, those websites whose back pages are embarrassingly full of 'lorem ipsum' - palimpsests!

[User Picture]From: klwilliams
2017-03-08 01:23 am (UTC)
You're right. I love the idea of the modern palimpsest. The information on a digital document is kept even deeper than the text. Metadata can contain previous author names, for example.
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[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2017-03-08 11:24 am (UTC)
I hadn't thought of that - good point. Change tracking can mean a document tells you more than its author intended!
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[User Picture]From: klwilliams
2017-03-08 03:37 pm (UTC)
In fact, change tracking is the very definition of palimpsest, in an ongoing fashion.
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