Charles Miller

Charles Miller

Last updated on 12 December 2018

Charles Miller is a former BBC documentary producer, currently working for a tech startup in London and studying for a Masters in History. Anchoring will be his second book.

In all discussions about digital preservation, there’s an impossible question to answer: how much should I keep? While institutions are limited by budgets and staff time, for individuals, it’s more personal. Decisions about deleting, and the very process of organising and preserving, bring out complicated emotions about family, nostalgia and sometimes grief.

It’s one of the issues I’m looking at in a book I’m writing about how the digital world has changed ideas about what we want to hang on to and how we can best do it.

My interest began with my own efforts, over several decades, to preserve my own and my family’s memories and histories. Having worked on family trees, family memoirs, preserving photos and filming interviews with family members, I want to share some of my experiences in the book. But I also want to discuss how these difficult questions should be addressed now that our past is mostly preserved electronically rather than in physical objects. Has that changed our relationship to memory? 

Miller 1

Old photos: from shoebox to the cloud?

The DPC has kindly let me write this on its blog as I’d like to reach out to anyone who has thoughts they’d be willing to share as I continue to research the subject. Here are some of questions I’m grappling with:

  • What are people’s motives in preserving their personal heritage?
  • What psychological effect does the process have on an individual or a family?
  • How has the digital revolution changed what or how much people want to keep?
  • How much is enough when deciding what to keep?
  • Does a digital collection put to rest anxieties about losing memories, or does it just replace them with new worries about maintaining the collection?

If you have thoughts or stories that could help me answer these or similar questions, I’d be very grateful to hear from you - in whatever way you’d prefer.

Thanks very much! Do please get in touch.

Email: charlesblairmiller AT yahoo DOT co DOT uk

Twitter: @chblm

Twitter: @Anchoringbook

There’s a bit more about this on my new Anchoring blog, which also includes an email contact form.

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