eRemembrance or eOblivion? International Conference on Society’s Memory Functions in the Digital World, University of Tampere, Finland, Tampere 23-24 November, 2015
This supplement contains a selection of best papers presented at eRemembrance or eOblivion? - International Conference on the Society’s Memory Functions in the Digital World held November 23-24, 2015 in Tampere, Finland. The conference was organized by the Doctoral Programme Memornet and the School of Information Sciences, University of Tampere. While the doctoral programme ended in December 2015, Memornet continues as a research network for society’s memory functions. Memornet brings together both academia and memory institutions (libraries, archives and museums) to promote research and research education in the field. The conference was an event completing the four years of the doctoral programme operated on a special funding.
The earliest use of the term ‘memory institutions’ can be traced to the 1970s. The term was probably coined by George Ellis Burcaw who introduced it in his book Introduction to Museum Work (Burcaw, 1975). However, there is an alternative view according to which the term was introduced by Roland Hjerppe (1994). In a study focusing on the description of generalized documents, he provided a broad definition: ‘Memory institutions is a collective term to cover a range of cultural heritage institutions, including libraries, museums, archives, monuments, botanical gardens, etc.’ Lorcan Dempsey (2000) made the term widely used in research policy papers. Fifteen years ago Dempsey wrote for the European Commission a report ‘Scientific, industrial, and cultural heritage: a shared approach’, where he proposed a research framework for libraries, archives and museums. Dempsey’s report had an obvious role in putting this inclusive term on a firm footing in professional communications.
Active collaboration between archives, libraries and museums started earlier than the political agenda was formulated at the European level. For example in Finland, a national committee for information provision worked during the years 1995-1997, and outlined a data structure specification for the cataloguing of materials (Vakkari et al. 2004). The specification was applied in the Muisti (Memory) project as early as 1995-1998. Several jointly built databases were piloted containing copyright-free images (Pärssinen, 1999). The work continued in the KAMUT 2 (Mates 2) project developing approaches for unifying access to memory institutions’ collections (Vakkari et al., 2004). The most recent milestone was achieved in 2013 when the National Digital Library (http://www.kdk.fi/index.php/en/) was launched (Hormia-Poutanen et al. 2013).
The initiative to establish a collaborative forum for research in ‘library science, archival science, museology and related fields’ was made by Director General of the National Archives Jussi Nuorteva in November 2004. The University of Tampere agreed to coordinate the network called Memornet. The goal was to strengthen basic research and doctoral education relevant to memory institutions. The network applied for funding for a doctoral school several times, and finally received a grant for four years (2011-2015). Presently, the network has twelve institutional members: six departments or schools from five universities, and six memory institutions.
On behalf of the organizing committee of the Memornet conference I thank all authors who submitted papers to the conference, and all reviewers who helped us to find best papers, and the authors to improve them. Samuel Ranta and Kristiina Tuokko made a good job in organizing the conference. Special thanks belong to Ilkka Mäkinen and Pekka Henttonen who as members of the organizing committee worked actively in planning the conference, working as session chairs, and coordinating reviewing and publishing of papers. Reijo Savolainen helped in the checking of the final versions of the manuscripts. Many thanks also to Serafia Kari, who made HTML coding carefully and skillfully.
Conference chair, Head of the Memornet doctoral programme