Noah Lenstra

My name is Noah Lenstra and I am a PhD student in Library and
Information Science at University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. My
research focuses on what Rosenzweig and Thelen call “the presence of
the past,” or the material presence of the past as represented by
libraries, archives and museums in the construction of identities in
the present. I am especially interested in genealogy, family history,
local history and the roles of these popular pursuits in contemporary
public librarianship. I am interested in extending research on
heritage and social memory into library and information science. My
research also includes community informatics, or the study of the
impacts of digital technologies in local communities (often with a
strong practical element of making those impacts better than they
currently are). Finally, I am interested in combining micro-level
studies of specific local communities with macro-level struggles of
the political economy of heritage as manifested in companies like, Facebook,, and other global
sites that have (quite successfully) built an ever-growing market
around online family history.

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