Developing an application for capturing and preserving the personal records of the modern soldier
For generations, soldiers documented their wartime experiences in personal diaries, photographs, and correspondence with loved ones. Often veterans kept these treasured personal collections long after their service and handed them down to family members. Eventually, these personal military service records humanized the sacrifice of war through historians use as primary sources. With the digital revolution, the 21st-century soldier no longer possesses the same tangible personal archives creating a critical gap in the record.
In its entirety, the Virtual Footlocker Project focuses on the development of an open-source, cross-system platform system for capturing and preserving the personal communication and documentary record of the modern soldier.
The first phase of this project explores the personal archiving and record-keeping habits of the modern soldier in order to identify the different types of digital files created. Based on these findings, the team will create, test and distribute a system for preserving the files.
Preliminary results of phase 1 were published in Volume 46, Issue 1 of Preservation, Digital Technology & Culture.
Edward Benoit III, “Digital V-Mail and the 21st Century Soldier: Preliminary Findings from the Virtual Footlocker Project,” PDT&C 46, no. 1 (2017): 17-31.
Abstract: Changes in technology challenge the preservation of personal military communication and documentary records. The Virtual Footlocker Project addresses this issue through the development of an open-source, cross-platform system or application for capturing and preserving the personal communication and documentary record of the modern soldier. This article discusses the preliminary findings of the project’s survey of veterans’ and active-duty personnel’s use of communication and documentary methods.