Information Ecologies: Memories and Histories

I’ve been assigned a task as a final project in my New Media Studies grad class to examine a local information ecology.

A “local information ecology,” you ask? In the book Information Ecologies: Using Technology with Heart, Nardi and O’Day discuss several topics including the concept that if you look at technology and information ecologies as one large subject, it can be overwhelming. Analyzing how the world uses the internet is quite different from taking a look at your own family and how your children are accessing and using the internet, and having a discussion to set parameters and rules that feel right in that local information ecology. It becomes do-able and satisfies the core values of that ecology.

My family, and I’m including myself, my husband, my children, and my sister-in-law and her husband and child, have inherited many family heirlooms: passports, photographs, keepsakes, notes, books and other items with sentimental meaning.

This past weekend my husband and I were digging through a box of such items and it occurred to me that perhaps our local ecology could benefit from a technology fix.

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As we dug through the box, things were a bit disheveled, and we were piecing together stories and photos and trying to figure out who was who in the photos. So many stories and thoughts are lost through generations and with our small family, I want to be sure our children know who is who in photos and have stories to pass down to their own children.

The first portion of my work will be researching possible technology solutions to preserving our family’s memories and histories. Perhaps we need to create a family tree and assign the content we have to individuals on this tree. Maybe a digital scrapbook with photos, objects and narratives is an option.

As I apply to methodology from Nardi and O’Day, I will plan to conduct interviews with my husband, sister-in-law and brother-in-law to determine what kind of information each person values, how they would like to see the information used and preserved, and if a technology fix fits our needs.

I’m looking forward to the possibility of creating a solution to better tell the story of our family and preserve these memories for future generations.

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