Thursday 5 November 2009

Thinking about Digital Heritage... does the Digital Afterlife offor immortality?

An area which has recently come to my attention and must be considered when thinking about ‘Digital Death’ (and the potential deletion of digital data) is the relevance of that data to our historical and sociological futures.

Regarding archiving, in the non-virtual world, rubbish and buried bodies are an archaeologist’s bread and butter, so is digital information in the digital world. This information has the potential to provide a detailed account of our present digital society and culture.

Through this we begin to consider Digital Heritage, to do this we will first consider the amount and type of data typically being inputted into social networks, including photos, popular music, films etc. We question whether and where information relating to ones digital life should, or could exist, including after death (in other words what its context should be). Should it be placed in a digital museum, at a funeral or in a historical archive? We will look at methods of how one would begin to manage this mass of data once they have recorded it, and who would be responsible for the collecting, archiving, updating, and curating, of this ‘database’ of people’s social networks. This resource would allow historians, anthropologists or even family members to literally look back in time and examine a specific moment of history, pristine and in perfect clarity.

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