Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Final Activity Report Summary - Memoir (Learning how technology can help people create and manage long-term personal memories)

The project has given the possibility to the Information Retrieval group at the Department of Information Studies at the University of Sheffield to have a fresh look at the emerging issues of capturing, storing, organizing, managing and accessing personal digital information. The approach has been highly interdisciplinary: people with very different backgrounds discussed the most recent findings and created a common understanding. Sheffield has benefitted from the long visit of two expert researchers who have brought new knowledge on the most recent findings in the psychology of memory and in the professional practice of digital libraries. Similarly the secondment of Sheffield staff has allowed us to bring in new knowledge and understanding on several aspects of personal information management and digital belongings in general. The two secondments in industry have contributed a further perspective different from the one of academic institutions.

A number of studies of current practices in personal settings, individual or family, as well as the social Web have been the topic of the investigation. The studies have covered a broad area spanning from personal digital photographs in the computer, to file organisation and personal information management, devices and tools for note-taking and note-sharing among a closed group, automatic capturing and use of metadata (e.g. GPS data), family and home organisation of memory landscape, new and innovative devices to access personal and affective mementos.

Findings have highlighted how people do not manage their digital collection and would benefit from software applications that take responsibility for this "boring" activity. The tools that have been designed, developed and tested in Memoir are a step forward in this direction. Innovative devices for the playful interaction with personal digital memories have been designed and evaluated with users showing new possibilities and directions in the development of information appliances, devices designed to support one single activity at its best. These simple digital objects can then be distributed in the personal space, the home or the office, reducing the cognitive load of working on the computer and acting as physical reminders of their, often affective, content.

Reported by

University of Sheffield
Western Bank
S10 2TN Sheffield
United Kingdom
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