organising information

Finding old material from the Internet

Today I read a news story about ‘digital archaeology’ on the web. Digital archaeology is a term given to outdated and retro gadgets and sites, and this article was reporting on items still on the web  since 1996, some of which are still being updated.  For example, a Robert De Niro fan page has survived for 15 years.

It also mentions The Wayback Machine which stores archived pages and screen grabs.

For some time now I have been using this resource to check facts and figures for Conductive Education. It is possible to search the Way Back Machine by inserting the URL for the centre or organisation that you want. For example, putting in brings up over 4,000 hits.

It is comforting to know that in this age of on with the new and forget the old, it is possible to find out things about Conductive Education’s history, that some of it is preserved and some things, such as dates and events, development of websites, can be checked.

But a lot is probably gone forever which reminds us  that we  still need the traditional methods of recording information such as books, journals and personal archives.

Conductive Education: do we want to save the history and knowledge?

This morning on the Today programme, BBC Radio 4, there was an item on archives and preservation of knowledge. This was prompted by the news that the poet,Wendy Pope, had sold her archive to the British Library and led to a wider discussion about preserving documents in the electronic age, the difficulties thereof due to sheer volume, and how important librarians and archivists were to the organisation and management of such collections in today’s ‘digital abundance’.
Naturally it made me think of Conductive Education and what was being done to save its history, development and practice. The National Library aimed to fufill this role as far as it was possible whilst I was Librarian, collecting centre brochures, reports, press cuttings, reports etc, but I would think maintaining the collection in this way will have been very difficult if not impossible during the past two years.
Maintaining this blog, reporting and recording events, answering enquiries is my small contribution to establishing a record, a history, the facts of what is happening in the CE world. Another resource is the virtual library, the virtual catalogue which includes items on the Internet which are available to those who want to investigate, analyse and discuss. Unfortunately one disadvantage of the Internet is the ‘disappearance’ of items due to broken links, deletion or being moved to new locations as has happened with some of the items I have found for the Virtual Catalogue, but with limited resources it is not possible to track everything down.
 I do my best.
One question you may ask is does anyone really care? Other than me, of course. If Conductive Education is to have a future surely it must have a recorded past to learn from and build on?
I would like to offer everyone the chance to present their papers, documents, writings to me for inclusion in the Repository on
or to keep with other material I am collecting here in my ‘office’.
Let’s do our best to save and preserve knowledge for those who will follow us in the years to come.

Organising your Conductive Education material

The hunt for a quotation and its origins as mentioned in a previous posting has led to a discussion about materials on Conductive Education held by individuals.

It is great to hear that some conductors have their own little ‘libraries’ which may include items not in the National Library of Conductive Education or the Peto Institute collections, but most probably they are already held. Judit suggested compiling some of these for publication, or sorting into a ‘library’.

A lot of material in Conductive Education is unpublished and tends to be fairly short papers or reports. Still interesting and useful, nonetheless. Sorting these and preparing them for publication would be quite an arduous task, as I remember well from producing Maria Hari on conductive pedagogy. You would need to decide whether the material warrants such efforts, who would help edit, publish, establish copyright etc. If you do have any you think would fit into this category, please let me know.
Establishing a library also is hard work. The material needs organising, classifying, cataloguing etc and can take a long time. It took eighteen years to build the National Library of Conductive Education in this way, combined with finding and adding new material.

But personal collections can be organised to make indvidual items readily available without sorting through large piles or boxes. This can be done by simple means, such as putting them in order by author, or filing under broad subject headings such as history, philosophy, practice, country, to name a few, and listing them. Duplicates could be offered to the National Library of Conductive Education, the Peto Institute, or even me!

If anyone would like to contact me for further basic information on how to do this, I will be happy to help.