Coined by Daniel Wegner in 1985, the term refers to our brains memorizing less usable data, and instead remembering WHERE we can go to access data. In a transactive memory system, teams and organizations collectively encode, store and retrieve knowledge. They develop a ‘group mind’ that is more complex and effective than that of any of the individuals that comprise it.
However, in today’s world, search engines and databases are now seen as primary transactive memory sources. Thanks to easy online access, more and more people don’t feel the need to memorize data, as it’s literally accessible a click away—think Google, Bing and other similar sites. Relying on our computers and the information stored on the Internet for memory depends on several of the same transactive memory processes. People share information easily as they rapidly think of computers whenever they need knowledge.