Maren Connary On The Quantified Scrapbook


At the the Bay Area QS Show&Tell #11, Maren Connary gave a follow-up talk that explored how her detailed life log, which she keeps on paper in thick binders, could be enhanced by a digital life logging system. You can’t see much of what she is talking about in this video, because the images are on screen and the room is dark, but Maren gives a very good introduction that talks about scrap-booking, archiving, nostalgia, and the enhancement of personal memory. (Introduction: minute 0:00 to 3:00)

I keep something I call “the archive. It’s 19 volume analog life log, it’s basically a scrapbook on crack. I work in health care so I have my own PHR, which is a personal health record, so I have all of my health information in alphabetical order, organized.

And at the end, there is an excellent Q&A, in which Maren answers interesting questions about how she uses her archive. Anybody who is involved with building life logging tools can learn from this conversation. (Q&A: minute 7:00 to 11:00)

Question: Is there any natural limit to how much of this stuff you put in? If you could do it faster, would you just do more?

Answer: Oh, God! If I could do it faster would I do more? I think it has to do with the data selection. What data are you collecting? Are you collecting information  education. On my health? It has to do with what you select as your channels.

Q: Do you ever freak out on anniversarizing? Look back, say, five years on the same date or anything like that?

A: I use it to check back in a relationship context to make sure I’m not making the same mistakes multiple times.

Q: “How is that working?

A: “I actually… my memory is based on the images in the binder. I will remember this page so it is a memory trigger

Q:  “You are saying you are using the binders as an index rather than data storage.

A: “It’s both, because my memory is not as precise as what’s in the archive. The archive is date stamped. I can’t remember exactly the date, but I will remember the events that were  happening around that date, so I can look back and find exactly what the dates. One of these pages has been used in a court of law…

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