Social Memory and the Digital Domain: The Canonization of Digital Cultural Artefacts

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Memory institutions and their practices of canonization are closely tied to the emergence of a social memory based on material artefacts and communication media. As libraries, archives and museums are stepping into the online world of digitality and computational operations, the question arises as to how these institutions and their processes of canonization change. Based on Elena Esposito’s system theoretical concept of memory as an operation of forgetting and on David Weinberger’s thre orders of ordering artefacts, the paper analyses the canonization of digital cultural artefacts according to the practices of selection, order and preservation. Against this backdrop, the theme of transversal forgetting is developed as a cyclical process of forgetting-as-data that cuts across the boundaries of libraries, archives and museums and their traditionally separated rationale of what to select and how to order and to preserve the selected. The concept, therefore, is an argument against the still dominating metaphor of social memory being an externalized storage. Thus conceived, transversal forgetting attempts to capture memory institutions as part of the wider information environment of bits and bytes, networks and algorithms.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date27 Mar 2011
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2011
Externally publishedYes
EventThe 27th EGOS Colloquium 2011 - Göteborg , Sweden
Duration: 6 Jun 20119 Jun 2011
Conference number: 27


ConferenceThe 27th EGOS Colloquium 2011
OtherHosted by the School of Business, Economics and Law,<br/>University of Gothenburg
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