Here Swartz describes the nature of the shift from centralized one-to-many systems, such as broadcast television, to the decentralized many-to-many topography of network communication. The end of scarcity in transmission capacity poses the question of how to finance information production and how people can find their way through the abundance; search engines and collaborative filtering mechanisms have become both essential tools and points of control. These systems paradoxically exercise a renewed centralizing influence due to the social entrenchment of the 'hit' phenomenon. Can technical design help to counteract this tendency?
Rick Prelinger is the creator and curator of the biggest moving image archive on the internet offering material that can be reused for commercial purposes. Here he explains why he put the films, which he also sells as stock footage, online and what the results have been. He talks of his offline library without computers, and how that relates to the value of serendipity in the time of rthe query driven information environment.