28 Feb 2012. Johannesburg.

Roger Layton, the CEO of The ETHER Initiative, presented a visionary paper on the long-term future of memory institutions in his paper “Towards the Digital Instititution” at the SADI Conference held at the University of the Witwatersrand from 27 Feb to 1 March 2013.

This conference was hosted by Wits, the NRF, the Goethe Institute, and by a number of other local institutions engaged in digitisation and the digital heritage.

Roger’s paper positioned the current work in a historical context, considering the long history of development that as led us to this point, and a projected future history for the next 500 years. His key point was that we cannot consider digitisation as a short-term issue, but this must be considered in a 50 year horizon of change in the institution, leading to what he has called the “Digital Institution” in which the physical and the digital co-exist and complement each other. There is an increasing trend towards increasing the level and scope of digital interface to greatly improve the services for digital users and visitors, and consequently to greatly increase both the feet through the door, and eyeballs through the digital door.

The SADI conference was attended primarily by librarians and archivists, and there were calls to increase the scope of this to museums, oral historians, and other institutions of memory preservation.

If you are interested in engaging with Roger on this discourse on the nature of the future memory institution, please email him directly using the contact details on the Contacts page.

Full Presentation (1.7MB)