There’s much to be said about today’s inauguration of President Obama but the thing I want to focus on is how well documented this event was from multiple view points. Here’s a link to a slide show from flickr, with at the time over 5000 photos from over 2000 people (I’m sure both stats will grow as more people add their photos). Each photo from a different vantage point, different person, and at a slightly different time all documenting the same event: an incredible range of views.
This notion of views as explored in my thesis or accounts as it’s called in the Open Provenance Model is critical to understanding how things have happened. The more documented perspectives we have of an event the more likely we are to be able to understand its true nature (free from bias and more detailed) after the fact. So much documentation is hard to process and thus a clear story is sometimes difficult to construct from it. However, it’s clear that this is one area where technology can help us. Here, I’m thinking about technologies such as Photosynth (see CNN’s the moment) that help munge multiple sources into one element. The hard part is once we have the synthesis of information how do we understand its provenance?