My colleague Leslie Fields posted a message on her blog For The Record ( http://smithrecords.wordpress.com/)about the recent New Yorker article (May 28, 2007), describing Gordon Bell and his project for Microsoft called MyLifeBits. Bell is recording “the daily minutuea of life” according to article author Alec Wilkinson. Another recent article found in the February 2, 2007 edition of the Chronicle of Higher Education by Scott Carlson describes his experiences with a digital audio recorder hanging around his neck. Both articles are fascinating reading whether you agree with the concept of not.
As an archivist, I think about the meriad of ways that one would need to “access the 22,000 emails, 58,000 photographs,…every Web page he [Bell] has visited.” Why collect the data if it is not accessible? That begs the question, is it necessary to collect the daily minutiae of life, even healthy? What about the self-sensoring that goes on in daily life? Is someone ready to be confronted with the reality of a recording that shows them in a differing light from what they believe? What about the purpose of memory and context within life? Can a recording, even the most faithful, deliver the multiple points of emotional, visual, psychic, and tactil access points to a life experience?
There’s plenty to chew on in these articles and I hope to see, read and hear more about life-logging on this blog and others.