Tuesday, 23 September 2008

The Times of My Life

A new website that might interest History Today readers is to be launched this week. The Times of My Life is a web project designed to link the memories of ordinary people to the often-monumental historical events happening around them. Following the death of his late mother, its founder Mark Hickman realised it was too late for him to record her memories to show his children, tried to find a better method of doing so.

The Times of My Life project is not unique in its aim of preserving the memories of ordinary people. It calls to mind similar ventures such as last year's Email Britain project, whereby the email communications of normal people were forwarded directly to the British Library's archive for storage. Eyewitness to History is another example of a site performing a similar role to The Times of My Life.

It remains to be seen precisely how this type of service will differ from the plethora of 'personal-data-collecting' websites already in existence. Take YouTube for example. A cursory search under 'WW2' and 'memories' turns up a wealth of septugenarians recounting their war exploits.

This raises some questions:
  • Will the Times of My Life incorporate multimedia materials like video?
  • Will that material be original or will it source its content from pre-existing media such as YouTube?

Either way, the development of this site will be interesting to keep track of.

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