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Technically speaking

Capitalism and archiving are not well matched. Broadband in Britain is still sputtering - could we emulate Italy? Plus Prospect's guide to cyber-safety

By Azeem Azhar   August 2004

Alexandria on the web?

Does capitalism create good archivists? The way executives in firms such as Credit Suisse First Boston reach for their document shredders suggests not. But there are commercial libraries around, such as LexisNexis, which archives thousands of newspapers. The trouble is that their objective is not to preserve a record of human activity but to find the optimal point between spending to maintain an archive and charging for access to it.

In short, the profit motive prejudices the creation of open, comprehensive archives. So it is perhaps fortunate for historians that a number of grand archives are…

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