Dr. Edward Benoit, III launches Virtual Footlocker Project


Virtual FootlockerDr. Edward Benoit, III recently launched his Virtual Footlocker project, an application for capturing and the preserving the personal records of the modern soldier.

In the past, soldiers documented their wartime experiences in personal diaries, photographs, and correspondence with loved ones. Passed down through generations as family heirlooms, these personal military service records eventually became primary sources for historians.

With the digital revolution, the 21st century soldier no longer poses the same tangible personal archives, creating a critical gap in the record. 

Dr. Benoit, Assistant Professor and coordinator of the Archival Studies program in the School of Library and Information Science, realized this is a problem for future historians, who will lack access to primary records of soldiers in recent wars. More importantly, as the son of a retired Air Force Major, Dr. Benoit understands the role of personal military records in familial memory, and the fragility of digital records. Asked about the importance of the project, Benoit states, “An entire generation of soldiers, airmen, sailors and marines may lose priceless memories if we do not immediately address the situation.”

The Virtual Footlocker will fill this gap by first exploring the personal archiving and record-keeping habits of the modern soldier through surveying 1,000 active duty and veteran military members.

Dr. Benoit will analyze the research data to identify and analyze the types of communication methods used and personal records created by military members who served between 2005 and 2015.

The analyzed data will support the development of an open-source, cross-system platform for capturing and preserving the personal communication and documentary record of the modern soldier.

If you are an active duty military member, or a veteran of the past ten years, please participate in the Phase 1 Survey of this Project.

The online survey will take approximately 20-30 minutes to complete. Upon completion, you can choose to opt into a raffle for one of 20 $50 payments.

The LSU College of Human Sciences & Education’s Dean’s Circle funds the Virtual Footlocker Project.






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About CHSE

The College of Human Sciences & Education (CHSE) is a nationally accredited division of Louisiana State University. Formed in 2012, CHSE brings together programs and capitalizes on individual strengths to create a dynamic new college that addresses the socially significant issues we face as a state and nation. The College is comprised of the School of Education, the School of Leadership and Human Resource Development, the School of Kinesiology, the School of Library and Information Science, the School of Social Work, and the University Laboratory School. These combined schools offer 8 undergraduate degree programs and 18 graduate programs, enrolling more than 1,900 undergraduate and 977 graduate students. The College is committed to achieving the highest standards in teaching, research, and service and is continually working to improve its programs.

Visit the College of Human Sciences & Education at www.lsu.edu/chse