Fall 2007, 37:4, pages 401-422
Between Archive and Participation: Public Memory in a Digital Age
Abstract: In sizing up the notion of public memory, rhetoricians would be remiss not to consider the increasing influence of new media on today's remembrance culture. This article addresses memorial functions of the internet in light of recent scholarly debates about virtues and drawbacks of modern "archival memory" as well as the paradoxical link between the contemporary public obsession with memory and the acceleration of amnesia. To explore the strengths and limitations of the internet as a vehicle of collecting, preserving, and displaying traces of the past, the article examines The September 11 Digital Archive, a comprehensive online effort to document public involvement in recording and commemorating the tragedy of 11 September, 2001.