In the 21st century, the advent of ubiquitous computing, web 2.0, and the explosion of humanity's digital footprint led to dramatic changes in how people capture and preserve their experiences. While there is a fair amount of research about the archival practices of the general public, there is an emerging interest in understanding the archival practices among specialized groups, including military members. The Virtual Footlocker Project (VFP) addresses the lack of research on military members. The VFP is a research initiative that aims to understand and support active members and veterans in capturing and preserving their experiences of service. Supported by an IMLS grant, the VFP team conducted 22 focus groups with 99 members across all military branches. Originally designed as in person focus groups, the sessions switch to a virtual format due to COVID-19. This change broadened the study population to the entire U.S., rather than just a handful of states. Preliminary findings suggest record-keeping practices among active service members and veterans were informed by two fears: 1) the fear that the military may lose their records during regular bureaucratic operations and 2) the fear of losing materials during relocation between assignments. Addressing these fears is a challenge that can be tackled through conscious archival practice. The research team will highlight the preliminary themes and discuss proposed solutions to address these challenges.
How to Cite:
Benoit, E. & Martell, A. A. & Brownlee, G. A., (2021) “Documenting the Personal Records of the Modern Soldier in the Times of COVID-19”, MAC Annual Meeting Presentations 2021(1).