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Memory practices in online communities: an exploratory panel (SIG SI)

Howard Rosenbaum, Elisabeth Davenport, Kathryn Clodfelder, John Smith and Bronwyn Stuckey

(Submission #45)


We are moving rapidly into a new phase of the digital environment colloquially labelled Web 2.0. Characterized by the emergence of powerful applications that allow and encourage the formation of different types of social networks, Web 2.0 is changing the nature of online communities. The rich applications that form the infrastructure that supports these communities include blogs, wikis, RSS, social tagging, folksonomies and others. These 2.0 technologies also enable an architecture of participation, an outcome of which are vast and growing troves of data and information. These digital artefacts are the raw materials of memory; the infrastructures of these online communities shape and guide the emergence of memory – what is remembered and what is forgotten.

How can this phenomenon be studied? If it can be studied, what are some useful theoretical and methodological strategies that can be brought to bear? In the panel, we propose to explore the issues involved in the study of “memory practices, ” an intriguing concept introduced by Bowker (2005).

Aims of the panel:

• To bring together researchers interested in memory practices in online communities

• To explore the range of methods that may be used to investigate memory practices in online communities

• To explore the scope of ‘memory practices’ as an analytic frame

Target audience: the panel should appeal to:

• Researchers who have or will undertake empirical studies of memory practices

• Designers of application platforms who wish to embed/exploit insights from research into memory practices

• Managers of online communities who wish to incorporate insights from this research into the infrastructures of their communities

• Participants in online communities who wish to understand the memory practices in which they are involved


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