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Paper Details

A Balance of Primary and Secondary Values: Exploring a Digital Legacy

Amber L. Cushing

Journal Title:International Journal of Knowledge Content and Technology

This exploratory research explores the concept of a digital legacy as a general concept and as a collection of digital possessions with unique characteristics. The results reported in this article are part of a larger study. In Cushing (2013), the author identified the characteristics of a digital possession. In this study, these characteristics of a digital possession were utilized to explore how the characteristics of several digital possessions could form a collection, or a digital legacy. In addition to being explored as a collection of digital possessions, data was collected about the general concept of a digital legacy. In part I of the study, 23 participants from three age groups were interviewed about their general concept of a digital legacy. Five general characteristics describing a digital legacy were identified. In part II of the study, interview data from Cushing (2013) was used to create statements describing digital possessions. The statements were classified utilizing the archival concept of primary and secondary values, as well as the consumer behavior concepts of self extension to possessions and possession attachment. Primary value refers to the purpose for which the item was created, while secondary value refers to an additional value that the participants can perceive the item to hold, such as a perception that an item can represent ones identity. Using standard Q method procedure, 48 participants were directed to rank their agreement with 60 statements (written on cards), along a distribution of ?5 to +5, according to the characteristics of the digital possession they would most like to maintain for a digital legacy. The ranked statements were analyzed using Q factor analysis, in order to perceive the most common statements associated with maintaining digital possessions for a digital legacy. Q method results suggested that most individuals described the digital possessions they wanted to maintain for a digital legacy using various combinations of characteristics associated with primary and secondary values. This suggests that while some participants will respond to personal archiving based on the concept of preserving identity (a perceived secondary value), this will not appeal to everyone. Information professional could consider this difference in appeal when marketing personal archiving assistance to patrons.