Dustbin of history – a brief Hogmanay rant

What did history do to merit the dustbin tag? You don’t hear about things being consigned to the cesspit of chemistry, morass of mathematics or sewer of sociology.

But “dustbin of history” is now in common usage. Mark Liberman has looked at its origins and the unlikely combination of Leon Trotsky, Ronald Reagan and Tony Blair gave it wider currency.

What does this say about all the archivists, historians and other interested folk? We’re not averse to a bit of foraging now and again but serial scavengers in mucky discarded trash? I don’t think so!

Treasure chest seems a preferable term which gives the excellent Tobar an Dulchais  archive a head start because that’s what it means in translation from Gaelic.

That’s my Hogmanay rant over … in case you missed them, here are some highlights from 2013:

Two guys

Declan Dineen set out to meet all his twitter followers in person.  And Jonathon Fletcher who built the first  web crawler  at Stirling University long before Google.

Three short films

All from 1943 and each brilliant in its own way: Highland Doctor is a Kay Mander classic, The Western Isles is a Hebridean feast in glorious Technicolor.  And the Polish women soldiers training in Gullane proved fascinating. It has even trended on BBC trending which, for the History Company, is really trendy.

WW1 Centenary

There is a huge amount of work already under way. I was moved by this piece on the first UK homes for heroes and, from the Accrington Pals site, this view of the horrors of the Somme from the German side.

Thanks to all of you who have helped support the History Company over the last year, particularly those who have given feedback, and Twitter chums for their contributions which have made it interesting and fun. Here’s a special treat – a two minute trip across the Tay Bridge in 1897.

And, just to be fair to dustbins, here’s a joyous clip of young Paraguayans making great music out of rubbish:

It’s a production from the Creative Visions Foundation set up in memory of Reuters journalist Dan Eldon. A wonderful way to start the New Year…

Categories: digital history, gems from the archive, history on the web

Tags: , , , , , , ,

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