Coalition of Networked Information; issues and topics in the creation of Digital Memory Institutions

The general tone with which a person will react to this topic may be related to one’s response to a question; what would it be worth to you to have a video of your great-grandparents? How might your children or grandchildren appreciate your efforts at personal archiving?

What a wonderful feeling, watching the ones we love.
Our photo albums, letters, home movies and paper documents are a vital link to the past. Personal information we create today has the same value. The only difference is that much of it is now digital. Digital Photographs, Digital Audio, Digital Video, Electronic Mail, Personal Digital Records, Websites

VIDEO: “Why Digital Preservation is Important for You.” Simple, practical strategies for personal digital preservation. The Library of Congress is making an effort to bring several ideas to the attention of the public.

“As new technology emerges and current technology becomes obsolete, we need to actively manage our digital possessions to help protect them and keep them available for years to come. This video offers simple and practical strategies for personal digital preservation.”

Download Personal Archiving Brochure (PDF, 1.7 mb)

There are something like 5 billion cellphones [670.60 Million in India: PDF], nearly half of which have cameras.

In last years ‘State of the Coalition’ (of Networked Information), Clifford Lynch highlighted four points:

  1. Archives and special collections/memory organizations have long been largely privatized (ex,, world vital records) momentum in private archivisation, began with hardcore genealogy, now, to document your family, upload photos, movies, diaries, or audio recordings, (ex. Magnes museum A museum containing Jewish histories) is becoming more common.
    Many new (public) players (storycorps [aural histories], public organizations like BBC, and others moving into large scale public oral history: 

    Part three of a three-part series, Canada Remembers, Endings and Beginnings focuses on the final phase of WWII in Europe in 1945 and the aftermath. Veterans recount their memories of the conflict at the Rhine and the celebrations on VE Day, followed by their contribution to the victory in the Far East. These recollections are complemented by outstanding footage filmed by army cameramen. The film also focuses on what transpired after the war, when the soldiers had to reintegrate back into society.Rewind-Nov 11, 2010- Matthew Halton
    On the Rewind podcast, Canada’s most famous foreign correspondent of the Second World War- Matthew Halton. He was the eyes and ears of the frontlines telling stories about the people he met and the place he saw. Even through the crackles and pops of 60-year-old tape, his powerful story telling shines through. (mp3 download)Canada recently unveiled The Memory Project, the largest database of Canadian Second World War oral history:

    This nationwide bilingual project will create a record of Canada’s participation in the Second World War as seen through the eyes of thousands of veterans. The Memory Project will provide every living Second World War veteran with the opportunity to share their memories through oral interviews and digitized artefacts and memorabilia. These stories and artefacts will be available on this site for teachers, students and the general public.

    Veterans were asked to specifically discuss their roles, ranks, positions, locations, and battles they were involved in; you can browse Veteran stories by historical events (Theatre of War,CampaignOperation, or Battle), military details (RegimentSquadronShipAircraftMedalBranch of ServicePrisoner of War Camp or Equipment) or by Keyword (audio tags or artefact tags). Check the currently featured storiesWorld War Two; in the words of some of those involved.  Many pathways comprising one, but not a singular experience.

  2. The future is heavily multimedia. (ex data on digital images, vs behavior with film photography, the notion that one will get hundreds of thousands of photos from a wide array of people) this is a sharp shift away from seeing images/motion images as esoteric, also, expect less “described” sets of information.
    What used to be a “specialty problem” – now almost all archiving operations will encounter issues of this sort.
  3. Deposit agreements; transfer of things into a special collection/archiveNeeding to think about what goes into deeds of gift. Considering accidental uncovering of embarrassing or sensitive information.
    Some examples; many people don’t think about exactly HOW MUCH can be ‘uncovered’ from an average persons computer (browser histories etc). This suggests a need to have a relationship of trust between a ‘donor’ and the archivist.
    Suggestion; some standardized models for a gift/deed/will.
  4. Strategic point.
    Waiting until people die before reaching out to families will be an increasingly ineffectual tactic, especially in a “cloud” based, impermanent cyberspace.Digitally intestate (forgetting to pass on a password/login/ account info….)
    Perhaps reaching out earlier, during lives to request a “promise/will” for full access to the “web/document” presence of a person.But… the question arises when do you start?  Who is included?  How are selections made?  What are the important cultural works; and more importantly, who will decide?
    The national library of wales; part of their mission is to capture the welsh literature. Reaching out early in the careers of welsh writers, this is do-able for an enterprise on this smaller scale, but how does this work in a larger scale research library, do we start reaching out to begin relationships with young people as they are “up and coming”… Who fits this category?

It could get less and less practical to fully document the entire digital lives of certain individuals. What are some ways memory companies can innovate/drive archivists, conceptually. We are all archivists now.

Memento wants to make it as straightforward to access the Web of the past as it is to access the current Web.
If you know the URI of a Web resource, the technical framework proposed by Memento allows you to see a version of that resource as it existed at some date in the past, by entering that URI in your browser like you always do and by specifying the desired date in a browser plug-in [FireFox Plugin for time-traveling on the web]. Or you can actually browse the Web of the past by selecting a date and clicking away. Whatever you land upon will be versions of Web resources as they were around the selected date. Obviously, this will only work if previous versions are available somewhere on the Web. But if they are, and if they are on servers that support the Memento framework, you will get to them.

Memento: Time Travel for the Web
This project seeks to integrate preservation capabilities into standard Web practices. The project assumes that the core technologies for creating a “preservation-ready” web are in place; what is needed is a concerted, high-profile effort to instantiate the technologies in simple protocols, methodologies and software.

(Memento just won the 2010 digital preservation award)

The Memento project researches new ideas related to Web Archiving, focusing on the integration of Web Archives into a natural and regular Web navigation.

This Memento experiment is supported by the Library of Congress under the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program.

EDUCAUSE has completed posting podcast interview from the Fall 2009 CNI (Coalition for Networked Information) Fall Task Force Meeting on December 14-15, 2009, Washington, DC. The interviews are organized below (don’t miss this years update from Clifford Lynch, as he looks back at some CNI history, and also shares some of the most fascinating up and coming projects and details to do with Networked Information, data preservation and all that goes with that [a very interesting point he makes is that new initiatives requiring public science projects to include specific plans for data preservation and sharing, like the new NIH policies, are not asking for [thoroughly unrealistic] ‘infinite’ preservation, but rather, the much more realistic goal of five year storage, allowing for format migration, and analysis of data value.

  • Welcome, 2010 in Review, & Overview of the 2010-2011 CNI Program Plan
  • DuraCloud: Preservation Infrastructure in the Cloud
  • As Lives Are Documented Digitally: Strategies for Cultural Memory Organizations
  • Learning Commons: What’s Working?
  • VIVO: Enabling National Networking of Scientists
  • Web 2.0 and the Study of History Through a Living Learning Community
  • Codes, Clouds and Constellations: Open Science in the Data Decade
  • Interoperable Annotation: Perspectives from the Open Annotation Collaboration
  • Memento: Time Travel for the Web
  • Welcome, 2009 in Review, & Overview of the 2009-2010 CNI Program Plan
  • Beyond Illustration: New Dimensions of 3D Modeling of Cultural Heritage Sites and Monuments
  • Revisiting Institutional Repositories
  • How Are We Ensuring the Longevity of Digital Documents?
  • EDUCAUSE CNI Memento WebArchive History Preservation DigitalMemory PersonalHistories NetworkedInformation TemporalWeb TimeTravel

    EDUCAUSE CNI Memento WebArchive History WebPreservation Preservation DigitalMemory PersonalHistories NetworkedInformation TemporalWeb TimeTravel

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