Monthly Archives: June 2013

Digital Memory Project development

I have been leaving my website in the cold, but with good intents. I have been working closely with my awesome team members to develop clear visions and directions for the Digital Memory Project.

Nicole Nie Jiaqi and I had just reached a milestone in our ethnographic studies within the local heritage community! We figured that with regard to “memories,” the heritage community is second to none in remembering, researching, writing, and sharing history. Nicole did most of the fieldwork at Bukit Brown ( and other heritage activity sites. And we did find much social practices that are informative to our development team. For example, many community volunteers were initiated into the heritage scene after joining trail tours! We are delighted to find evidences like this to show that trials which we have experienced at museum and as tourists are actually quite central to heritage work. This excitement is amplified through the many meetings with selfless, engaging, and friendly people in the scene–people who against all odds devoted their time to fight for what is left of Singapore’s highly business-driven cityscape.

Having worked out the project vision, the Digital Memory Project is in development pipeline! The project now consists four components: an app for navigating user created trails (CrowdTrails), a website for creating trails (CrowdScribe), a public display to experiment with novel interactions (Discovery Wall), and a backend to service these frontends (Hive) (yes, the term Hive is a tribute to the game I love–StarCraft II). Xavier Roman is leading the programming work for CrowdTrails, and Kasun Karunanayaka is leading the programming for CrowdScribe and the Hive backend. See below for a sketch of CrowdTrail app UI by Kelvin Cheng.

All these frontends are centered around the activities of trail navigation and creation. For example, the CrowdTrails’ UI design (see figure above) will foreground trails in a user’s locality. A trail is a essentially a line that links up places of interest and adorned with a compelling story. Thus, what the UI will show is a network of meaningful storiesĀ which, when taken together, will serve to expose a locality’s history. Are you interested in witnessing sights and sounds of any of these stories? Look it up with CrowdTrails! We believe that the map-based, on-demand, and user-created content will appeal to heritage learners or tourist who want to find out grassroots’ perspectives of these places.

CrowdScribe webpage, the sister product of CrowdTrails, will allow trail creators to network with other creators while developing their own trails. In the heritage community, trails development is very much peer-to-peer and social. In the process, historians, geographers, journalists, and tour guides actively share data and compare notes. We wish to develop a tool that support such collaborative work.

I am truly excited. In the coming weeks, I will be working closely with the team to iron out the nuts and bolts of these tools.