“The past is a foreign country,” novelist L. P. Hartley wrote. “They do things differently there.” He penned that in 1953, but in the digital era the past is now present and all around us: Millions of out-of-print books and historical videoclips, black-and-white movies, nearly forgotten TV shows and pop songs are all available with a credit card or in many cases for free. It used to be that, for economic and technological reasons, this cultural history was locked away. Libraries and corporate archives kept a small subset of it available, but the rest was in storage, out of reach. The reversal has happened in just the past decade. We are now living in a history glut; the Internet has muddled the line between past and present.
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