rejectomorph (flying_blind) wrote,

They Make Mistrakes

I spent some time perusing the historic photograph collections of the California State Library tonight. There is some excellent stuff there, but I've discovered that there are also many errors. I found several pictures that were labeled with the wrong locations, and at least one photograph of a building that was captioned with the wrong name. I thought about e-mailing the webmaster, but realized that the errors are probably in the library collection itself, and were unlikely to be changed.

I've run across this sort of thing before. About three years ago, I sent an e-mail giving the correct information about a mis-identified photograph displayed at the Library of Congress web site, but the error was still there after two years, and is probably still there today. I've also had information I provided ignored by the web sites of The University of Southern California and the Los Angeles Public Library.

I have found that it is more productive to spend my time informing the operators of privately owned web sites of errors or omissions in their collections. For example, two pictures at Dave's Electric Railroads, one formerly unidentified and one mis-identified, are now correctly identified as a result of information I provided to the owner of the site. It's nice when your efforts actually produce results. Dave even sent me a nice e-mail thanking me for each correction.

I've had other private web sites make corrections as a result of information I provided, too, but I don't think that large institutions are very good at learning, especially if they are accustomed to teaching. They are pretty much one-way outfits. A lot of them could probably benefit from some sort of wiki function, by which web wanderers could easily make corrections of errors. They wouldn't even have to have the corrections go live on the site until they had been checked out by some functionary of the institution, but I doubt that this will ever happen. Libraries, Museums, Colleges and Universities are all caught up in awe of their own expertise, and can't bring themselves to believe that we rabble could possibly know anything they don't.

Oh, yeah. The rain continues, as does the interminable daytime chirping of the birds.

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