In an OMG-I-can’t-believe-I’m-linking-to-Nick-Carr-moment — he’s worrying and lamenting and passing along plausible scare tactic scenarios of the brave new world of e-books and the potential for updates.
I totally get the fear. Although I don’t trust it one iota coming from Nick. The one publishing model that changes everything here is the one model he fears more than revisionism — at least in its Wikipedia form.
But here’s the thing, here’s what changes the revisionist fear. And here’s what makes the e-book demonstrably better than the printed version. And of course, you can come to the same worst-case scenarios about modifications here too — but the solution to all of this?
The change log.
Give me the updates. Make the changes. Keep the copy updated — change it totally in the middle of the night while I wasn’t looking. Change your mind a thousand times about the meaning of the word “is” But give me the revision history. Give me the who, what, when, and how. Give me the diffs. Give me the discussion. That changes revisionism completely.
Now I don’t think we’ll be getting this either. Because revisionists fear transparency. And those that fear revisionists seem to fear transparency more than they fear revisionism.
History isn’t and shouldn’t be immutable — but the revision history can and should be. And that changes everything.