Mapping an Emerging Field: Local Memory Websites

Mike de Kreek, Liesbet van Zoonen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

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Online platforms for collecting local memories are often claimed to be a driving force of empowerment for individuals, groups and the community as a whole. Long term online participation especially plays a key role in the claims for empowerment on group and community level. However, the present research on local memory websites lacks empirical data to substantiate these claims and leaves aside questions about their wider presence, the way they are organized and how their particular structure and affordances enable online participation. To address these issues, we develop six analytical dimensions in order to analyse a comprehensive number of such sites, examining in particular their organizational and online participatory features. On the basis of a cross-sectional design including 80 cases from the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and various other countries, we show three types of websites can be distinguished, namely residential, institutional and associational. In addition, we find that the expectancy of online participation is maximized not only by organizational aspects that foster
autonomy, but also by characteristics that enlarge the sense of authenticity. Our findings also show a limited number of cases with a considerable level of online participation, which offers the empirical data for analysis in terms of empowerment on group and community level.
Nevertheless, we conclude that in most cases the organizational characteristics and participatory affordances of the websites are not sufficient to produce empowerment on all levels.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNexus, Confluence, and Difference: Community Archives meets Community Informatics
Subtitle of host publication Prato CIRN Conference Oct 28-30 2013, Monash Centre, Prato Italy
EditorsLarry Stillman, Amalia Sabiescu, Nemanja Memarovic
Place of PublicationPrato
PublisherCentre for Community Networking Research, Centre for Social Informatics, Monash University
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9780987465214
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventCFP: Prato Conference-Community Archives Meets Community Informatics: Prato CIRN Conference - Prato, Italy
Duration: 28 Oct 201330 Oct 2013


ConferenceCFP: Prato Conference-Community Archives Meets Community Informatics


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