Based on Bob Greene and D.G. Fulford's To Our Children's Children: Preserving Family Histories For Generations To Come, The Remembering Site presents a guide to writing an autobiography. Using a series of over one thousand questions, organized into thirty-five chapters on topics ranging from on topics ranging from “Elementary School Years” to “Romance and Relationships” to “Vehicles," the site offers users a road map to recording their life story. The Remembering Site also highlights several completed biographies, and there are plans to make an even larger number available which would provide historians with a useful source for research.
Presenting opportunities for the preservation of memories has become an exciting and popular use of the World Wide Web. A recent addition to the online memory collecting presence is The Remembering Site. Based on Bob Greene and D.G. Fulford's To Our Children's Children: Preserving Family Histories For Generations To Come, this site presents a guide to writing an autobiography. Launched in the summer of 2005, The Remembering Site encourages the public to record their lives and share them, either with family and friends or better still, with the online community.
While similar to MemoryWiki and History Lived in scope, The Remembering Site is unique in its approach to harvesting memoirs. Whereas MemoryWiki is completely open-ended in what users may contribute and History Lived simply suggests historical topics for users to write about, The Remembering Site carefully guides users through a thorough assessment of their life's past. For users who struggle to identify which of their stories might be of interest to others, the structure of The Remembering Site is an indispensable tool. The site uses over one thousand questions organized into more than thirty-five chapters on topics ranging from “Elementary School Years” to “Romance and Relationships” to “Vehicles.” The process is completely customizable, as users only answer the questions they choose to, and can add stories which they feel do not fit into any of the proposed categories.
These questions provide a comprehensive and useful starting point for an individual seeking to preserve their memoirs, as evidenced by the completed autobiographies. In presenting autobiographers with a wide range of topics, many seem eager to recount experiences characteristic of multiple eras and facets of their lives. However, this method also has its flaws. Since they are structured in a question and answer format, the memoirs often lack a coherent narrative feel. This framework also seems to lead users to recording only a single story on a given topic, when likely a number of memories would be relevant and of potential interest to researchers.
Perhaps the most promising feature of the site are plans to make public the stories people have submitted. The authors of the site maintain that one of their goals is “to create an Internet-based anthology of personal histories so we may learn from one another.” After finishing their autobiographies, users have the option to either make them available to the world or have them remain confidential, sharing them only with people of their choosing. Currently, only a few “featured biographies” are available, but the founders of The Remembering Site hopes to soon make available a much larger number of memoirs.
As of this writing, there is a subscription fee of $10 to join the site which provides one with the questions and forms to create an autobiography. For an additional fee, professionally printed and bound copies of one's autobiography are available.
Center for History and New Media
March 2, 2006