There are many ways to spend time like work, reading, sports, philosophy, collecting rare stamps, electronics, art. In essence people need to do something to enhance or experience quality of life. Even when you dedicate your talents to someone else or a greater good, you are still doing it for yourself. Anyway, one of the things I do is to collect data about villages, landmarks and interesting people in Southern France, the Midi-Pyrénées to be more precise.
I love to dig in databases and manuscripts to construct packs of data, photos, maps and what else about the ruins. Imagine who used to live there, how they spend their time, what did they explore and discover, their social networks, defenses, moral values, believes. Lots of their recorded history was destroyed in wars and crusades and vandalism. About the only sources we have available are their artworks, landmarks, geology, graves, some old cryptic documents, modern research databases and small bits of their culture that today’s locals still value.
More interesting parts of the documents and research appear to be forged and altered. Rumour has it that certain groups of people want to cover up events and locations, but there are also many treasure hunters and other evil out there. I like to keep track of that too.
Over the years my digital collection of data has grown into one pile of gigabytes causing two problems: it is hard to find exact matches, and ever more challenging to find related material. I considered systems like Freebase and Wikipedia or even worked on my own interconnected something, but they all have major downsides with either presentation or maintenance. However, since I started to use WordPress for my sites I find it the perfect sollution for my new archive. It is very easy to set up, maintain, expand and, of course, to use.
Now finally the moment has come to actually build this new project: 9906753.net. Yes, it is named after the final(?) resting place of the ‘ark of the covenant’ from the Indiana Jones movie; a wooden crate marked with “9906753”. Like my data no one knows for sure what the ark really is and if it is of any true relevance to anything. Also, like with all movies, lots of evidence is contaiminated with rubbish to fit someones own believes and needs. And that is exactly the challenge I like: collect and keep everything, index and relate, find the patterns.