MemoryMiner: Web 2.0 Wizardry

Posted on February 7, 2007 Under Life

MemoryMiner won the Macworld 2006 Best of Show Award– that fact alone should tell you something about its Web 2.0 prowess. Without going into too much detail (chuckle chuckle), MemoryMiner is a Digital Storytelling application used to discover the threads connecting peoples’ lives across time and place. An innovative desktop application (Mac and Windows) lets you annotate photos in order to specify who is in the picture, where the picture was taken, and when then photo was taken. Drag and drop audio, video, documents and URLs onto photos to add greater depth and context. Each photo thus becomes a frame in an endless storyboard which can be browsed by periods in a person’s life, where people overlap, by place, by time, or any combination. Enlist the help of friends and family in the annotation process using the MemoryMiner Web Annotation Service. MemoryMiner will notify your contacts via email, and all they require to contribute is a web browser. Best of all, their annotations are automatically retrieved into your desktop library. Share your libraries as self-contained MemoryMiner documents, or export gorgeous web sites to a CD, or via automatic upload to any web server. Either way, MemoryMiner replicates the experience of telling stories around a photo album, even when all the people involved can’t be in the same place at the same time.

The consensus seems to be that MemoryMiner has serious potential to transform and rapidly evolve the entire field of photography– in the words of John Schott who is the Chair of Media Studies at Carleton College, “I have studied the history of photography for over 30 years now, and if this program continues to develop and finds its uses and users, I’m predicting that it will go down as a key transformative moment in the evolution of photography. It’s a brilliant application of digital/database logic to photography as personal history and storytelling. I’m gettin’ it.” A couple of other things I’ll point you to: a great explanation of why John Fox created MemoryMiner and an interview Alan Graham (author, designer, consultant) had with Fox at Macworld 2006. Additionally, MM is big on goodwill– it gives grants to k-12 schools, and if you’re a Windows user, they’re looking for people to beta the new Windows version– just email info[AT] for either. Hat’s off to Mr. Fox for developing such a groundbreaking Web 2.0 application.