The Past Present and Future of Digital Memories

Mira Dontcheva   Steve Whittaker, University of Sheffield, UKPARC

Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University April 18, 2008

Recent technical developments have inspired an interest in 'digital memories': repositories for capturing our entire personal history of personal and work related information that will substitute for our fragile organic memories. I will first review the Digital Memories vision, briefly present various studies that challenge that vision, moving on to suggest an alternative approach to the topic that is informed by cognitive science, suggesting that instead of focusing on exhaustive capture we should be designing prosthetic memory devices that are (a) synergistic with our organic memories (b) have mechanisms for selecting and abstracting critical events from the memory record.

Steve Whittaker is Chair in Information Studies at Sheffield University. Previously he worked in industrial research at HP, Lotus/IBM and AT&T Bell Labs. His research interests are in the theory, design and evaluation of collaborative systems, multimedia retrieval, and personal information management. In the past he has designed and built many novel HCI and CSCW systems: one of the first IM clients, shared workspaces, social email clients, meeting capture systems, personal memory and various tools for accessing and browsing speech. He has co-authored over 100 refereed journal or conference papers (excluding workshop papers) which have been cited over 4000 times. He is holder of 11 US and UK patents, and is currently working on digital tools that help us remember and share our memories. He was recently elected to the CHI Academy.

View this talk on line at CS547 on Stanford OnLine or using this video link.

Titles and abstracts for previous years are available by year and by speaker.