The past is prologue.

If we can't remember it, then we have no story. What are we doing at this bus stop, anyway, and who are we waiting for?

There's more to this than meets the eye.

Much of our past is inaccessible to us. That doesn't mean it doesn't exist; only that we can't easily grasp it.

For thousands of years we have recorded our lives, sometimes in wall paintings and sometimes in bound books. Lately it's been more digital than printed, and our tools for access are becoming more digital and less hardbound. We'll have to go with that trend.

To know our past, we will have to recast its records in the digital forms that the future will commonly use. These essays are all about some ways we can start doing that.

Michael Ward
6 December 1999