The Encyclopedia of Cemetery Technology is an online directory of digital technologies that enhance the experience of visiting or interacting with a cemetery. It was created by the DeathTech Research Team in 2021, and is now open to contributions.
Each technology is summarised in a few sentences and categorised according to its principal application types (e.g. navigation aid), distinctive technical components (e.g. mobile device), target user group (e.g. cemetery visitors) and development status (e.g. prototype). These categorisations are defined in the Browse by Category section. The map view shows the location of technologies that are associated with a particular place, such as a specific cemetery or the headquarters of the creator organisation.
The Encyclopedia's scope is limited to digital technologies that augment the experience of visiting or interacting with a cemetery. It does not include technologies for other kinds of death-related purposes, such as disposal of human remains, behind-the-scenes cemetery management, or commemoration practices that do not involve a cemetery.
The contents of the encyclopedia were developed through a systematic review of academic literature and other sources, followed by an open call for suggested contributions. The procedure for the literature review was as follows.
Academic literature review
Searched the ACM Digital Library (Full-Text Collection) for keywords: “cemetery OR cemeteries”. Found 284 results. Excluding those that did not substantively address the use of a technology in relation to cemeteries and articles that only concerned the use of technologies for locating archaeological burial sites narrowed the list down to 29 results.
Searched the IEEE Xplore digital library for keywords: “cemetery OR cemeteries”. Found 55 results. Excluding those that did not substantively address the use of a technology in relation to cemeteries and articles that only concerned the use of technologies for locating archaeological burial sites narrowed the list down to 11 results.
- Death-care industry conventions: ICCFA, NFDA, AFE (Asia Funeral and Cemetery Expo)
- Death-care industry publications: Funeral Service Insider (Kates-Boylston), Memento Mori (ICCFA), Connecting Directors (NFDA)
- Industry awards: American Funeral Director Innovators Award, Cemetery of the Year, Funeral Director of the Year
- Arnos Vale Future Cemetery Competition
- DeathTech Research Network fieldwork archives
From our initial search, the DeathTech Research Team identified a total of 121 technologies relating to death and commemoration. We excluded 56 technologies as they were not designed specifically for use in relation to a cemetery or burial ground, leaving 65 cemetery-related technologies (“cemtechs”).
For each cemtech, we made summary notes about its design, purpose, creator and location. Through an iterative inductive coding process, we developed a typology consisting of 13 application types, 16 technical components, 6 target user groups and 4 development statuses. Those categorisations and the associated cemtech entries can be viewed in the Browse by Category section.