Building Community Memory through On-line Technology

Ted Leath, November, 1999

Around the world, communities are examining the issues of preserving cultural identity, documenting local history, promoting tourism and examining their shared heritage. Until now, many communities have relied on official records, tradition, customs, stories (both oral and written), language, myth and similar means for the preservation of cultural identity and community memory. It is proposed that on-line technologies can provide a means of augmenting community memory through the provision of highly interactive and widely distributed means of gathering, indexing and archiving multimedia assets.

Some communities currently have no multimedia assets archived. Some communities simply want to organize the materials they already possess into a cohesive whole. It is intended that the possible tools, implementation of these tools, processes and the documentation of processes involved in building community memory through on-line technology be researched.

In as much as is possible, concepts, tools and processes should be easily transferable and applicable across different communities. While primarily examining the augmenting of community memory for geographically based communities, the development of on-line communities based on mutual interest should also be considered along with overlapping areas. It is hoped that a cohesive process and associated tools for gathering, indexing and archiving multimedia assets for community memory will emerge.