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The Future of Looking Back--New from Microsoft Press

October 6, 2011

Sebastopol, CA—"In the past we might have written a diary, which again would be passed on to others," says author Richard Banks (@rbanks). "Now, we share our thoughts and actions online with friends, which is the closest digital equivalent to a diary, and like a diary, could form a valuable record of our lives once we pass away. In what form should we preserve these digital diary entries?"

As we shift from leaving physical artifacts to virtual ones—bits rather than atoms—what will replace the shoeboxes full of photos and the stack of vinyl records that connect us with our past? How will our new digital heirlooms change the way we reminisce and reflect on our lives and the lives of those we care about? Get a look inside Banks' thinking on how we might manage the digital legacies we're creating now—and how we might pass on or inherit them in the future—in The Future of Looking Back (Microsoft Press, $24.99 USD).

"Many of us have boxes full of old photos that 'one day' we plan to organize and maybe even arrange in photo albums," continues Banks, principal interaction designer at Microsoft Research. "Unfortunately, we never find the time to deal with them, and every time we see them we feel a little pang of guilt. Maybe it's better to let go of the idea of being able to organize all these digital heirlooms, but instead treat them as a large pool that we have a more serendipitous relationship with, where the delight is being shown something new and random from it, rather than something structured."

"Thanks to Richard's book, we are far more likely to ask such questions in such a way. For that, we should thank him—we and those who would inherit the richer legacy that could result."
—Bill Buxton, principal researcher at Microsoft

For a review copy or more information please email maryr@oreilly.com. Please include your delivery address and contact information.

About the Author

Richard Banks is an interaction designer in the Microsoft Research Socio-Digital Systems group, part of the Computer Mediated Living group in the Microsoft Research Cambridge facility. He works primarily on the design of new user experiences for people's everyday lives.

Additional Resources
For more information about the book, including table of contents, author bios, and cover graphic, see: http://oreilly.com/catalog/0790145321466

For an indepth interview with Richard Banks about his new book, and the concept of digital legacies, see: http://bit.ly/oM7MaN

The Future of Looking Back The Future of Looking Back
Publisher: Microsoft Press
By Richard Banks
Print ISBN: 9780735658066   Ebook ISBN: 9780735658059  
Pages: 184
Print Price: $24.99   Ebook Price: $19.99  

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About the Microsoft Research Series
At Microsoft Research, we're driven to imagine and to invent. Our desire is to create technology that helps people realize their full potential, and to advance the state of the art in computer science. The Microsoft Research series shares the insights of Microsoft researchers as they explore the new and the transformative.

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