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20yrs: 2005 ecdl vienna_Personal Digital Libraries and Collections


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Plenty of Room at the Bottom? Personal Digital Libraries and Collections, my keynote presentation to the European Conference on Research and Advanced Technology for Digital Libraries (ECDL), 2005, in Vienna Austria is the seventh of 12 presentations I have selected to mark 20 years in Digital Preservation. The remainder will be published at monthly intervals over 2015.

This presentation represents a thought piece and call to arms to focus more on the collection and preservation of personal digital archives. It was given as a keynote to ECDL but also formed the core of my Banks Lecture at the University of Texas in April 2006 on Preservation and Access for Personal Digital Archives and Literary Papers.

Many of the ideas in the presentation were developed in greater detail in an article in D-Lib June 2005 Plenty of Room at the Bottom? Personal Digital Libraries and Collections, in my contribution to the Memories for Life project (c.2004-2006) and our publication in the Royal Society Interface Journal in June 2006 Memories for Life: a review of the science and technology, and in my initial work as Principal Investigator on the Digital Lives research project involving the British Library and UCL. It is an area of interest I had to leave behind on departing the BL and focussing full-time on consultancy. However it has been great to be editor on behalf of the DPC for the forthcoming Technology Watch Report by Gabriela Redwine on Preserving Personal Digital Archives that should be released later this year on the DPC website.

Over recent years this area has blossomed with an annual conference since 2010 on Personal Digital Archiving and many special collections and research projects developed in libraries. We are beginning to see mass market shared services for lifelogging and personal collection emerging but the key focus of growth currently seems to be on health data. Broader issues though for the public are still surfacing: there has been growing publicity around digital legacy issues for social media and even guidance from the Law Society in the UK on digital legacies and executors. It remains a fascinating area for digital preservation.

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20yrs: 2005 ecdl vienna_Personal Digital Libraries and Collections

  1. 1. Plenty of Room at the Bottom? Personal Digital Libraries and Collections Neil Beagrie British Library/JISC ECDL September 2005
  2. 2. Overview • Technical and Social Trends • Implications and definition • Research projects • Collective services • Conclusions
  3. 3. “Generation C” • Mass market consumer trend -refers to a perceptible emerging consumer shift, from consumption to personal creation, customization, and co-production of digital content • • Next time you see a Microsoft or industry ad look for “unleash your creativity”
  4. 4. “Generation C” Spectrum Consultants 2004 BBC online Review – module 2: Future UK Internet market trends. Final report for DCMS predicts: • increased consumption of 'amateur' content and that amateurs will have better links to professional producers/publishers to send electronically content they have made themselves (e.g. text, photos and video clips • growth in weblogging, personal online journals, personal journalism operating on a mass scale and interpersonal links such as picture, video and music sharing
  5. 5. Scholarly communication • Self-archiving by academics • E-portfolios for student learning • Creative Commons licensing • Personal collections are often the foundation and lifeblood of most museum, library, and archive collections. • What about future digital collections?
  6. 6. Preservation of personal digital collections • Impact on scholarly research and library special collections
  7. 7. Trends and Implications • Individuals will soon be able to store the equivalent of texts in a large academic research library on a PC • Digital material is often ephemeral – needs early capture • Role of personal digital collections and their relationship to digital libraries?
  8. 8. Definition of personal digital collections • Personal Digital Collections are composed of information and content assembled by individuals from their private activities, work and external communities. They can be intended for private or public consumption and reflect both private and public personas of individuals.
  9. 9. Personal Curation • “ Within 5-10 years, personal stores of a terabyte will cost of a few hundred dollars – hence a person will can be immortal in terms of the media they’ve encountered. For “famous” people, one will be able to access their entire life.” (Bell & Gray, Microsoft 2000) • Nokia life-blog mobile phone software -calendar filing + web publishing • “1000 megabytes of free storage so you'll never need to delete another message.” (Gmail, Google 2003) • Penn State Information Sciences and Technology Student e- portfolio
  10. 10. Research
  11. 11. Microsoft MyLifeBits • Microsoft Research Project “MyLifeBits” aiming for continuous lifetime storage and associated software research •
  12. 12. MyLifeBits –video capture
  13. 13. “Memories for Life” • Much of this information will be associated with particular people (e.g. emails, digital images, web browsing histories), which raises the question of how such ‘digital memories’ can be stored over periods of decades. Serious issues include: search, indexing and organisation; privacy; extracting knowledge from potentially vast and heterogeneous repositories…representation techniques that will be robust over periods of time …” (“Memories for Life” Grand Challenge Cognitive Systems Inter Action Conference 2003)
  14. 14. “Memories for Life” Research •
  15. 15. PARADIGM •Project on digital papers of politicians •
  16. 16. Collective services
  17. 17. Internet Archive • Internet Archive launched by Brewster Kahle in 1996: • • Webpages, music, lectures, open-source films, books • Growing at 20 Tb a month
  18. 18.
  19. 19. Flickr –
  20. 20. Connotea – Nature Publishing
  21. 21. Conclusions
  22. 22. Bush’s memex 1945 A memex is a device in which an individual stores all his books, records, and communications, and which is mechanized so that it may be consulted with exceeding speed and flexibility. It is an enlarged intimate supplement to his memory. Vannevar Bush1945.
  23. 23. In Conclusion • We are close to realising Vannevar Bush’s Memex • The growing abundance of personal data and collection will present numerous challenges to individuals: – how to physically secure such material over decades; – how to protect privacy; – how to organize and extract information and to use it effectively; – how to effectively present and control access by different users. • We will see new types of shared services for them. • Personal Digital Collections will have major impacts on collections, publishing and Libraries • May lead to mass market ICT applications • Plenty of room at the bottom for digital libraries
  24. 24. Further Information Plenty of Room at the Bottom? Personal Digital Libraries and Collections Article in D-Lib June 2005: