Mailing List Message #73
From: Clifford Lynch <>
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Subject: Memories for Life Colloquium 12 Dec at British Library
Date: Mon, 06 Nov 2006 16:55:00 -0500
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Memories for Life Colloquium 12 Dec at British Library
The following announcement, fowarded from Neil Beagrie, describes what should be a really interesting program dealing with the implicatons of technology for memories (from many different perspectives) at the British Library in December; I'm delighted to be a part of these discussions.

Clifford Lynch
Director, CNI


Memories for Life Colloquium: the future of our pasts
British Library Conference Centre
12th December, 2006

The M4L Network announces a colloquium, to be held at the British Library Conference Centre, Euston Road, London, 12th December 2006.

The colloquium, sponsored by the EPSRC funded M4L network and the British Library, will consist of a series of panel discussions, intended for a general audience, a poster session, and keynotes.

Memories for Life (M4L) is a project that brings together a diverse range of scientists, academics and experts to study and understand how memory works and to develop the technologies needed to enhance it. In today's technology-rich society human memory is supplemented by increasing amounts of personal digital information; emails, photographs, Internet telephone calls, even GPS locations and television viewing logs. The challenges that lie ahead include the development of prosthetic memories, the storing and retrieval of a lifetime's worth of digital memories, and the issues of trust and privacy. This is a problem of international scope, and beyond what can be achieved by a single research team or research grant, and offers the possibility of revolutionary advance. As such, Memories for Life has been recognised as a Grand Challenge for computing, by the United Kingdom Computing Research Committee.

The Future of our Pasts, on the 12th December at the British Library, will bring together representatives from all the fields involved in the M4L project including psychologists, neuroscientists, sociologists, librarians and information professionals, and computer scientists in one of the most wide-ranging gatherings of memory and information experts in recent years.

Understanding our memories is key to understanding ourselves, and psychologists and neuroscientists are making great strides in understanding how we lay our memories down, and get at them again when we need them. At the same time, technologies for dealing with information are getting more powerful - while more of us are computer literate, and more systems are aimed at the 'person in the street'. What are the implications of these two strands of research and progress?

         Will it be possible for us to replace parts of our memory with artificial aids?
         How can technologies help those with memory disorders?
         Will communities be able to use technologies to create or preserve their communal experiences?
         What will happen when our entire lives are available to us to look back on?
         How will this change the way we live?
         What legal, ethical and political implications can we expect?

Those at the colloquium can expect to hear from members of the M4L Network and other eminent  experts in panel sessions that will endeavour to define the scale of these upheavals, to help us to understand what to expect, and to set out this crucial research and development agenda.

Keynote speakers are Prof. Richard Wiseman (University of Hertfordshire) and Prof. Jonathan Zittrain (Oxford Internet Institute).  There will be a Welcome by Prof. Wendy Hall and Prof. Nigel Shadbolt, both of the University of Southampton.

Panel Sessions at the colloquium will cover issues including:

Personal Memory: how important in our daily lives is the recollection (accurate or otherwise) of our past?
John Tuck (Chair), Head of British collections, British Library
Prof. Yorick Wilks, University of Sheffield
Anne Sebba, Independent Biographer
Katherine Campbell, BBC (producer WWII People's War)

The Technology of Memory
: Future Directions: what new devices are waiting for us round the corner?
Cliff Lynch (Chair), Executive Director, Coalition for Networked Information
Prof. Nigel Shadbolt, University of Southampton
Dr Andrew Fitzgibbon, Microsoft
Prof. Tom Rodden, University of Nottingham

The Human Sciences: Psychology, Neuroscience
: how much do we know about how our memories, how we store and recall knowledge?
Chair (tbc)
Prof. Richard Morris, University of Edinburgh
Dr. Susan Blackmore, Independent Researcher
Prof. Sue Gathercole, University of York

Social, Ethical and Legal Issues: how will increased access to knowledge affect our society?
Victor Keegan (Chair), The Guardian
Dr. Andrew Charlesworth, Bristol University
Dr. Robert Perks, Curator of Oral History, British Library
Gareth Crossman, Policy Director, Liberty

Each panel will last 60 mins, and will include a short presentation by each panellist, followed by an open discussion session. During the lunch session, posters and demonstrations illustrating promising research will be available. For further information on the Colloquium see the Memories for Life website

The colloquium will take place all day commencing with registration between 8.30-9.30am.

Attending the Colloquium

To register and confirm your booking for the colloquium please email your name, organisation, contact details, and any special dietary requirements (eg vegetarian) asap and not later than 30th November 2006 to

Attendance is free, but the audience is strictly limited to 200 places. Lunch will be provided.

Neil Beagrie FRSA                    publications:
BL/JISC Partnership Manager    email:          
The British Library,                    urls:            
96 Euston Road,                                                                        
London NW1 2DB                 Tel/Fax/Voicemail :+44 (0)709 2048179
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