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Posted by: on Feb 29, 2008 | No Comments

Minnesota’s Hidden Heroes in the News

  • There are many things about MinnPost that are worthy of note – the first rate team of investigative journalists, the style, the tone, the format. From my perspective as an information junky, MinnPost adds a subtle but significant spin by focusing not just on the news but on the behind-the-scenes work. Yesterday’s blog was about hidden heroes of Minnesota history; today’s MinnPost offers some timely examples:
  • There’s a great piece from the Minnesota Historical Society, a MinnPost partner, about how to locate death certificate information collected over the decades by meticulous government employees, now organized and made accessible through the Minnesota Historical Society. This incredible resource, representing countless hours of work by skilled and committed public servants, is now accessible on the web.
  • A second article describes the ways in which the Poetry Foundation is opening up its extensive, and carefully maintained, poetry collection by engaging comic strip illustrators to add their creative interpretation to sometimes inscrutable literary works. Somebody logged and indexed and catalogs those hundreds of thousands of poems now enhanced and shared online.
  • The third story spotlights a different “hidden heroine,” in this case a Spanish-English translator, a woman who connected the dots to solve the puzzle of the mysterious illness that struck packing house workers in Austin. If you ever want to observe the mind of a “hidden heroine” at work, here is a superb example
  • And finally, MinnPost itself plays an essential role by sharing this latent information with a readership that will use that information to achieve its potential. Today is just one example of an ongoing emphasis of the journal.

All of which raises digital age questions: How will MinnPost and other digital resources be preserved, organized, made accessible for future Minnesotans who want to know about what’s going on today? What is the public good of that preserved and organized information? What is the responsibility of public institutions to take the long view? How are we addressing the preparation of Minnesotans to understand the power of information or their information rights?