Personal digital archives : preservation of documents, preservation of self



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This dissertation explores personal digital archiving practices, particularly in relation to the construction of self. Personal digital archiving is an everyday practice through which people manage and preserve digital documents that have particular meanings to them. This process involves a constant value assignment that is intertwined with the recollection of life events. In-depth case studies were used to gain a holistic understanding as close to research participants’ perspectives as possible. Semi-structured narrative interviews were conducted with 23 individuals from various backgrounds.The results are discussed in relation to emotions and self-evaluation. Personal digital archiving as a process, directly or indirectly, involves a self-enhancement and self-verification which is an integral part of self-confirmation. This study contributes to the in-depth observation of everyday record-keeping in a digital environment, particularly providing interpretive accounts of individual differences and why people do things in a certain way.