Was my friend David Faucheux—a library and information science graduate—the world’s first blind blogger? Any librarians or others know the answer?
I set David up in May 2004 on a commercial audio service, which he dialed up to submit recordings, often augmented with text. For the next four years David gave us an inimitable slice of America as seen through his own “eyes.” Where else could you have found such MP3s as Gaming the Shows: How to Be a (Blind) Millionaire?
My favorite segment from David Faucheux, however, was Seeing eye dog etiquette—and a few recollections of Nader. Said animal, owned during David’s library school days at Louisiana State University, was a yellow lab that …
“… enjoyed the library. He seemed to like to snooze under the table while bits of knowledge rained down on his slumbers. It’s basically easy to handle guide dogs in the library as their book needs are very small.”
Sadly, in December 2008, David had to cease work on his blog for health reasons, and on top of that, the audio service had been sold to another company, which later shut down its servers. Toward the end, David was doing only text. I myself had undergone a quad bypass that same year, and couldn’t give the TeleRead site all the attention it deserved, the main reason I sold it. The site had been carrying the text part of the David’s Blind Chance blog.
Even with the wonders of the woefully under-financed Wayback machine, this trip to the past can be bumpy. Many images and links are missing from the blog there, a few posts from which are still “live” in somewhat broken form on the Blogger servers.
If nothing else, this is a lesson for the Digital Public Library of America and the rest of society. It isn’t enough just to aggregate content. We must also preserve it—links and all—and arrange for a durable revenue stream. The DPLA has some preservation in mind.
The issue is, how complete will it be, and will it go beyond the Wayback Machine and the Library of Congress’s “born digital” archiving? I believe that everyone would agree that the present arrangements are far from satisfactory.
There is good news. David is feeling better now these days, just as I am, and he hopes to resume his text blogging, at least. Any volunteers interested in helping him? He’s reachable at scopist65 AT gmail.com.