Is the Internet a Museum of Computing?
Peter Krapp, Senior Fellow / Dept. of Film and Media Studies, University of California, Irvine, USA
How does the computer get into the museum and when does the museum get into the computer? “Information technology constitutes the twist in the Möbius strip that takes us from arguments internal to a field (how is the past conceptualized in the case of a historical science) to its exterior (how is information about the past stored)”, as Geof Bowker put it. Of course the internet is not a museum in any conventional sense - but then computers are not conventional media either, and a range of scholars have argued that the internet may be the most apt way to assemble, consult, commemorate, and musealize what we know about computing. Inversely, we may wonder to what extent computer history museums actually do justice to computer history, from analog and early digital machines to mainframes and from minicomputers and microcomputers to the creation of decentralized networks, up to and including the history of the internet.