Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is a very British view of life in a small village in Alicante province, my experience of Spain, of Spaniards and sometimes of the other Britons who live nearby. The tabs beneath the header photo link to other blogs written whilst I was living in other parts of Spain, to my articles written for the now defunct TIM magazine and to my most recent photo albums.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Just for the record

We just did a little walk around the Pinoso town archives. It was really interesting in a slight sort of way. Not in the manner of seeing the Pyramids at Giza but good.

We were shown the census records, births and deaths stuff, details of the charges for cutting wood or esparto grass on the land owned by the town, details of the charter that set the town apart from what had been the more important town of Monóvar in 1826 and lots more besides. There was a broader history reflected in the paperwork - the way that the town was governed under the Constitution of 1812, the change when Fernando VII was reinstated and then when he was forced to accept the 1812 Constitution between 1820 and 1823. The broad stroke of history reflected in the fine detail.

I particularly liked those little details. For instance we were shown the minutes of the council meetings. During the Republican period in the early 1930s the paper was very official, with a watermark and a letterhead, good quality, heavy paper. Into the Franco years and the paper becomes much more flimsy and poorer quality because the country was poorer and short of resources in general.

Obviously nowadays lots of documentation is only presented electronically. Lots of the older stuff is being digitalized. But technology changes. I used a database in 1984 that is no longer supported by even the simplest of modern programmes so it's useless. On the other hand I can still read the cursive writing on those documents from1812. What happens when the particular format chosen to digitalize records becomes so long in the tooth that it is withdrawn?

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