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Thursday, March 30 • 11:45am - 12:30pm
Session 9: PDA and Memory

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Interconnectedness: personal memory-making on YouTube (Leisa Gibbons, Kent State University)

Remembering Names from Emails: Cognitive Experiments with Life-Logs (CELL): A Novel Approach to Study Name Retrieval (Sudheendra Hangal & Abhilasha Kumar, Ashoka University)

Digital Space in the Personal Archive: A Focus on Screenshots (Frances Corry, University of Southern California)

Presentation Details: 

  • Interconnectedness: personal memory-making on YouTube (Leisa Gibbons, Kent State University)

    Drawing from Sue McKemmish’s 1996 paper on the relationship personal memory-making has to societal memory, and Robert Ghel’s 2009 discussion of YouTube as an archive awaiting a curator, this paper presents findings from a research project on ‘small stories’ and their role as evidence of culture. Small stories are the individual interactions and use of YouTube as a personal memory-making space. Findings from the case study research highlighted that small stories deliver a unique richness and insight into processes of how identity, memory, narrative and technologies are constructed and valued as part of online interaction. This challenges the notion that parts of YouTube video, such as a single video, or a page of content, can adequately represent evidence of culture. Ultimately, the research raises questions about what conceptual, practical and ethical role institutions of memory have in online participatory spaces and how personal use of online technologies can be preserved as evidence.

  • Remembering Names from Emails: Cognitive Experiments with Life-Logs (CELL): A Novel Approach to Study Name Retrieval (Sudheendra Hangal & Abhilasha Kumar, Ashoka University)

    Everyone relates to the experience of forgetting names of familiar people. The ability to recall names in everyday life contexts decreases with age and with degenerative brain disease, but the mechanisms of this decline are not well understood. Cognitive Experiments with Life-Logs (CELL) is a scalable new approach to measure recall of personally familiar names using computerized text-based analysis of email archives. Emails are personal digital archives of time-stamped, personally relevant information, which can be leveraged to study memory processes and proper name retrieval. CELL’s algorithm identifies potentially memorable sentences from people’s sent emails and presents them as stimuli in a name retrieval task, to study familiar name recall in a naturalistic setting. In this paradigm, 44 participants viewed sentences automatically drawn from a year of their sent email, and recalled the name of the email recipient to whom the email was sent. Regression analyses revealed that accuracy in familiar name recall declined with the age of the email, but increased with greater frequency of interaction with the person. An additional finding was that participants remembered the specific month of the email, even when they forgot the name of the email recipient, suggesting that the recall of familiar names varies across contexts. These findings suggest that CELL can be applied as an ecologically valid web-based measure to study name retrieval using existing digital life-logs among large populations.

  • Digital Space in the Personal Archive: A Focus on Screenshots (Frances Corry, University of Southern California)

    This preentation takes up the screenshot as a flexible, user-friendly tool to save digital space. A built-in feature on most smartphones, tablets, and computers today, the tool enables users to “photograph” what rests on the surface of their screens, saving those visual elements as an image file on the home device. Crucially, the screenshot can easily prepare digital space–from a chat conversation to a social media profile, a computer desktop to a web page–to be saved and organized in a user’s larger digital archive.

    In this talk, the screenshot is first contextualized in greater discussions of digital archiving by considering its inclusion in web archiving tools like Perma.cc, which uses web page screenshots to counteract link rot (“Perma.cc User Guide,” 2016). Unlike these more specialized archiving services, however, the screenshot is proffered as a saving tool for lay users, quite literally at the fingertips of many who use computers, tablets, and smartphones. Furthermore, not only is it widely available, it is a tool already widely used to document a range of digital spaces (Thompson, 2015). These affordances are contrasted with its shortcomings, including lossyness and the redaction of interactive elements in the digital space. Despite these drawbacks, the screenshot is put forth as a valuable tool worthy of further attention in digital archival contexts. The talk briefly concludes by addressing the importance of both public and private digital spaces as sites of personal memory, emphasizing the reasons why users may want to use and save screenshots in a personal digital archive. 

avatar for Wendy Hagenmaier

Wendy Hagenmaier

Digital Collections Archivists, Georgia Tech
Wendy Hagenmaier is the Digital Collections Archivist at Georgia Tech, where she develops policies and workflows for digital preservation and access. She is President of the Society of Georgia Archivists and a member of SAA's Committee on Public Policy.

avatar for Frances Corry

Frances Corry

University of Southern California
Frances Corry is a doctoral student in communication and Annenberg fellow at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Her research addresses the histories of digital spaces, with a focus on the technologies used to construct these narratives... Read More →
avatar for Leisa Gibbons

Leisa Gibbons

Assistant Professor, Kent State University
Leisa Gibbons is an Assistant Professor in the School of Library and Information Science at Kent State University. Leisa's primary research interests concern how technologies used in personal and community memory-making contribute to the formation of shared cultural heritage... Read More →

Sudheendra Hangal

Professor of Practice in Computer Science, Ashoka University
I am a researcher in the areas of social computing and human-computer interaction, and a Professor of Practice in Computer Science at Ashoka University, where I also co-direct the Trivedi Center for Political Data. Formerly, I was the Associate Director for the Stanford Mobiso... Read More →
avatar for Abhilasha Kumar

Abhilasha Kumar

Ashoka University and Washington University, St. Louis
Abhilasha Kumar is a Ph.D. student in Psychological & Brain Sciences at Washington University, St. Louis. She has previously completed her Masters in Liberal Studies at Ashoka University in India, and Masters in Mathematics from IIT, Delhi.

Thursday March 30, 2017 11:45am - 12:30pm PDT
Bishop Auditorium Lathrop Library, Stanford University 518 Memorial Way Stanford, CA 94305