Hats off to the Phonograph! ©1982
is the book that was the primary source for the themes of
phonograph connections in popular culture now seen in Phonographia.com.
The original book (unpublished) focused
on phonograph advertising and the "B-side"
of the phonograph's history including how the phonograph was
marketed, how it changed the definition of home and personal
entertainment and how the phonograph continued to evolve in
the popular culture revolution of recorded sound.
Over forty-years later much has changed.
More and more primary sources are now on-line; microfilm has
been replaced by on-line digitized documents and services
like newspapers.com make searches on thousands of newspapers
and millions of pages easily accessible.
Hundreds of thousands of recordings
are on-line and research by collectors and scholars from many
fields has produced diverse, colorful, and well-documented
material for anyone interested in the history of the phonograph
and recorded sound.
Using a website and digital components
means that Phonographia.com doesn't have the tangible qualities
of a book. A digital recording, likewise, doesn't have the
tangible experience of actually playing a record on a phonograph.
But a website obviously allows innumerable
examples of phonograph connections to be shown, provides multi-media
options and links to anything on the intranet.
All, of course, unimaginable in a book.
Phonographia.com is also easy to update:
Find a new connection, add, edit; find a new connection, add,
edit; and repeat like a broken record.
It's been a project
based on what I see, remember, connect
and then paste into the website...which also means it has
limitations at each of those steps because of its author.
But the limitations of an individual
(like my own) will not be the challenge of the future. An
Internet Bot can already use any of the WIP Phonographia 'lists',
galleries and themes and find an unbelievable number of new
connections in minutes, seconds, microseconds...who knows
how much, how fast, and what future results will be.
How soon will Phonographia.com become
a web artifact? Sooner than many would guess. But perhaps
even then Phonographia could still be viewed on something
like the Internet Archive's Way Back Machine -- which
in my case would be synchronistic since I was always a fan
of Sherman and Mr. Peabody.
And who knows when the Internet itself
will become part of the "Dead
At that point (if I was still here)
I'd probably be saying that a book
would have been a better idea than a
I hope Phonographia's virtual scrapbooks
are enjoyed now and in the coming years.
This planet and its beings, however,
have much bigger challenges in the next decade than finding
phonograph connections or speculating about the future of
sites like Phonographia.com.
More attention and prioritization to
understanding our connections with all beings and
planet Earth and less on material things
and the unsustainable consumption of Earth's resources seem required steps for the future.
If not, apologies to our children and
grandchildren will be meaningless.
Updated February 16, 2023