ASIS&T 2006 START Conference Manager    

Forgetting and (Not) Forgotten in the Digital Future

Howard Rosenbaum (moderator), School of Library and Information Science, Indiana University; Jean-Francois Blanchette, Department of Information Studies, UCLA; Michael R. Curry, Department of Geography, UCLA; Leah A. Lievrouw, Department of Information Studies, UCLA; Ronald E. Day, School of Library and Information Science, Indiana University

ASIS&T Annual Meeting - 2006 (ASIS&T 2006)
Austin, Texas, November 3-9, 2006


Why does information force us to remember and to be remembered in certain ways? If we do have an information (particularly, digital information) future, and this is a future of being always present as, and to information, then what are the political, social, and psychological risks involved? When, today, do we want—and have the right--to be forgotten? And when is remembering a form of forgetting, according to the times of our particular information day and age?

This panel addresses the issue of forgetting and the right to be forgotten in the midst of information presents and futures, which remember us and make us remember at times and in ways that we don’t always desire. Information presents and futures that sometimes force us to be remembered when we don’t want to be remembered and sometimes construct the future, informationally, that is, as presents already said to be.

The panel examines laws of forgetfulness, cultural technologies and techniques of remembering/forgetfulness, and the rights of readers and speakers to remain anonymous. It is important to sketch out the laws of forgetting, the technologies and techniques of forgetting, and the places or zones of forgetting, in order to see where information, as a form of presence and recall, has not yet been or is being barred from, sometimes by the strategic use of information itself. Sometimes such places or zones occur by legislation, sometimes by tradition and in practices (such as reading) and sometimes they ironically occur by the very overload of information itself, forming a type of forgetting that is not a relief, but rather, numbing. The occurrence of digital information has intensified these questions, as digital information increasingly occurs in multimedia, mobile, manners.

Indeed, a history of modernity could be sketched out by examining not the founding, protection, and loss of private space--that is, as a history of being remembered--, but rather as a history of trying to be forgotten and of forgetting amidst an overabundance of information, and with this, the rights, spaces, difficulties and impossibilities today of being a person that is forgotten, solitary, or even inattentive and bored. Why, for example, can we no longer read today, but rather, are we more inclined to skim documents--and everything else for that matter--for information? What is the relation between the forgetting of reading, the overabundance of traditional and digital information, and our inability, today, to simply be bored; while instead of boredom today we are filled with anxiety for attention? Is this anxiety fueled by laws, technologies, and social practices which demand and engage our constant attention as information sources and as information “seeking” beings? In sum, what is the relation between information and forgetting today, and what does it mean if we cannot stop remembering and being remembered in a certain way (i.e., informationally), now and into our particular, digital, “information future”?

START Conference Manager (V2.52.6)