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Memex – Digital Memories

Reports and resources from the former Digital Memories initiative

Memex has been an inspiration for the past 50 years. In 1945, Vannevar Bush wrote an article called “As We May Think,” in which he posited Memex: “a device in which an individual stores all his books, records, and communications, and which is mechanized so that it may be consulted with exceeding speed and flexibility.” Memex was to have virtually unlimited memory. It would support annotations and what we would now call hyperlinks. Hypertext researchers from the 1960s onward flocked to its banner. In What Next? A Dozen Information-Technology Research Goals, Jim Gray proposed a dozen research goals, one of which was “Personal Memex: Record everything a person sees and hears, and quickly retrieve any item on request.”

As digital storage capacity has blossomed in recent years, so has research aimed at personal storage. The Memex initiative focused on research around storing all of an individual’s lifetime information, novel capture methods (for example, Bush’s head-worn stereo camera), linking of information, and use of meta-data.

Memex Day Presentations

Memex Awards

The objective of these awards is to help further research and teaching of the fundamental aspects of Digital Memories (Memex) research, including capture, annotation, links between items, and extensive use of metadata. The Memex research kit includes a SenseCam, a camera enhanced by sensors to automatically take pictures at “good” times and a software package developed by the Microsoft Research MyLifeBits, VIBE, and Phlat groups.

Personal Audio Life Logs
Dan Ellis
Columbia University

Beyond Human Memory: SenseCam Use in Veterinary College and as Assistive Technology
Manuel A. Pérez-Quiñones, Edward Fox
Virginia Tech

Content-Based Similarity Search with MyLifeBits
Kai Li
Princeton University

Integration of Memex and PlaceLab Datasets for Personal Investigations of Health and Living Patterns
Stephen Intille
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Landmark Generation from SenseCam Images
Alan Smeaton
Dublin City University

MyHealthBits: Advanced Personal Health Record
Bambang Parmanto
University of Pittsburgh

What Did We See? Facilitating the Interaction of Personal and Community Journaling of Natural Spaces
Chris Pal, Sarah Dorner, Jerry Schoen
University of Massachusetts

Automatic vs. Manual Capture of Health-Related Experiences
Brian Smith, Penn State University
Jeana Frost, Boston University

Development of a Platform for Continuous and Discrete Recording and Retrieval of Personal Life
Kiyoharu Aizawa
The University of Tokyo

Listen to Dream to Know
Mark Bolas
University of Southern California

Memex Metadata (M2) for Personal Educational Portfolio
Jane Greenberg, John Oberlin, Peter White
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Supporting Alzheimer’s Patients Through Memory Augmentation
Anind Dey
Carnegie Mellon University

Using Context to Evaluate Augmentative Communication Technology
Rich Simpson
University of Pittsburgh

Multi-Sensory Analysis, Summarization for Stroke-Patient Rehabilitation in Biofeedback Environments
Hari Sundaram, Todd Ingalls
Arizona State University

Technology Examples