The creation of a personal legacy is a process through which information, values, and memories are passed down to future generations. This process is inherently subjective, both as a curated collection of the elements of one’s life, and as an evolving form of remembrance that is subject to the interpretations of those to whom it is left. Based on directed storytelling sessions and ethnographic observations with 14 adults from a large Midwestern city in the United States, this project explores peoples’ perceptions of how their use of digital systems and information will impact how their lives are interpreted and reflected upon by their families and by future generations. Findings from the study highlight the nuances regarding how shifting notions about technological systems and the long-term accessibility of digital information impact the ways in which we share, and subsequently manage, information online. This work exposes opportunities to help users engage with their digital information through the curation of meaningful records, the dispossession of digital debris, and a reexamination of how digital systems and services influence the accessibility and lifespan of digital information.
Gulotta, R., Odom, W., Faste, H., Forlizzi, J. (2014). Legacy in the Age of the Internet: Reflections on How Interactive Systems Shape How We Are Remembered. In Proceedings of Designing Interactive Systems. Vancouver, Canada. DIS ’14. ACM Press. (ACM Link)