I guess you know you’re getting old when the National Library of Australia decides to preserve you.
Well, according to the State Library I have been selected for preservation in perpetuity which, when they told me, made me feel a bit like an Egyptian mummy: dry, desiccated, covered in dust and falling apart. Preserved forever! Nice!
The preserving body – pardon the pun – is an outfit called PANDORA which is a selective archive set up by The National and State libraries to select and collect online publications and web sites they consider to be of significance and to have long-term research value. The intention is to put together a collection of historic online publications relating to Australia and Australians. The name, PANDORA, is an acronym for: Preserving and Accessing Networked Documentary Resources of Australia.
Although it’s a great honour to be selected for preservation by PANDORA, I can’t help but feel a little worried about the name.
Pandora, according to Hesiod, was the femme fatale who brought all the world’s woes down on us when she opened her jar and out flew old age, sickness, pain, insanity, greed, vice and all the other bad stuff. Hence the saying, ‘Pandora’s Box’ (even though it was a jar) an expression people use when they start digging into the unknown with the possibility they might discover something very unpleasant.
In this case Pandora’s ‘box’ presumably contains lots of very good stuff. And yet… they’ve included me… which has to make you wonder.