Podcast: “Media in Transition 7: Archives and Cultural Memory”

“Web 2.0” has been shaped by startup corporations and systems (such as Wikipedia) that employ large-scale collaboration and crowdsourcing. How do these two forces relate to the project of preserving our cultural memory?

A genuine anxiety of many computer users is that our collective memory will be too good: Old offhand blog comments, drunken photos on Facebook, and other communications may persist when we would rather they’d not. This concern does not contradict our need to preserve culturally important materials, but it suggests a related question: Do we need to consider how to be better as a culture at forgetting?

In the digital realm, does it still make sense to distinguish the roles of museums, galleries, and spaces for exhibition from those of archives and repositories?

Computers have proven to be a valuable tool for investigating our cultural heritage. From YouTube to the digital life of newspapers to video games, computers are also deeply connected to our culture and, in the past several decades, have been an important part of our culture heritage. Are there chances for a fruitful convergence between the project of computing on our past (“the digital humanities”) and the project of understanding the culture relevance of computing (“digital media”)?

A tremendous amount of important information is now being generated in digital form—but this is not all of the material we want to preserve. How will the abundance of important digital material affect the preservation of traditional archival materials?

Andrew Whitacre

About Andrew Whitacre

Andrew directs the communications efforts for CMS/W and its research groups. A native of Washington, D.C., he holds a degree in communication from Wake Forest University, with a minor in humanities, as well as an M.F.A. in creative writing from Emerson College. This work includes drawing up and executing strategic communications plans, with projects including website design, social media management and training, press outreach, product launches, fundraising campaign support, and event promotions.


Share this Post