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CIRSS Seminar - Panel on Memory and Personal Archiving


Friday, April 29, 2016
4:00pm - 5:00pm

Room 126, LIS

Event Details

Session leaders: Organizer: Lori Kendall, Associate Professor at GSLIS; Presenters: Jimi Jones, Beth Strickland, Ruohua Han and Emily Lawrence, GSLIS PhD students
Description: This panel will be presented at the Personal Digital Archiving Conference in Ann Arbor on May 12.
One of the primary motivations for personal archiving is the preservation of materials related to personal and family memories. The four presentations in this panel explore assumptions about memory and the effect of these assumptions on personal archiving practices. They also provide practical information about available tools for creating personal archiving projects and the results of working with such tools.

The panel consists of four presentations:
  • Travels with ScooDee: Creating an Online Geospatial Memoir, Jimi Jones
  • MyLifeBits and Conceptions of Memory, Beth Strickland
  • Scrapbooking Personal Memories: Traditional vs. Digital, Ruohua Han
  • A Family Archive in Podcast Form, Emily Lawrence
Travels with ScooDee: Creating an Online Geospatial Memoir
Jimi Jones, PhD Student at GSLIS
For this presentation, I will discuss the creation of an online digital diary using a tool called Story Maps (https://storymaps.arcgis.com/en/) of a journey I took in 1997. I will explore how a memory-related piece of software can be used to combine physical artifacts (in this case digitized photographs), text, and geospatial information in the digital realm.

MyLifeBits and Conceptions of Memory
Beth Strickland, PhD Student at GSLIS
In this presentation, I will examine assumptions about memory in the MyLifeBits (http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/projects/mylifebits/) digital memory system. I will explore system benefits and the way those complement bio-memory, as well as challenges, such as retrieval issues. I will conclude by considering what it means to digitally capture a moment, versus remembering an experience through the retrieval of digital items, and what this suggests for our understanding of what constitutes memory.

Scrapbooking Personal Memories: Traditional vs. Digital
Ruohua Han, PhD Student at GSLIS
In this presentation I aim to distill the characteristics of digital scrapbooking and its end product, digital scrapbooks, by comparing them to traditional scrapbooking and scrapbooks through three lenses closely connected to their abilities and features in recording and sharing personal memory: senses (sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch), time, and space. Through this analysis, I conclude that although digital scrapbooking retains the essential function of scrapbooking and is representative of the needs and possibilities of a digital age of memory keeping, some important features present in traditional scrapbooking – the sensual and evocative elements in particular – may be lost to a certain degree.

A Family Archive in Podcast Form
Emily Lawrence, PhD Student at GSLIS
Nearly 20 years ago, my family was in a car accident on our way to the wedding of two close friends. This project represents my attempt to construct and preserve a collective, multi-voiced story of that past familial trauma. The resultant four-episode podcast (titled Family Lucida—a play on Roland Barthes’ Camera Lucida) documents the day of the accident in an impressionistic narrative constructed from personal accounts. Whereas some digital memory and oral history projects constitute fact-finding missions, the primary goal of this podcast is not to uncover historical truth. It is, rather, to take part in an artistic exercise geared towards generating an unorthodox family archive, one that exemplifies the fundamental instability of memory just as it valorizes remembrance in the present.