Biographical Digital Storytelling


Recently I’ve had a couple of opportunities to discuss ideas about digital storytelling in relation to libraries. I’m not thinking about stories in books or solely about stories as fiction, but other possibilities. I touched on part of it in a recent blog post about storytelling in games, but I’m thinking even broader than that.

Firstly, I attended an event at the British Library as part of meetup for people interested in interactive narratives tied in with Sherlock Holmes and the internet of things. This session divided those attending into small groups who had to build up a murder mystery using online media, linked to RFID tags and a hand drawn scene. Each team created clues from images/video/sound on the internet, gave them descriptions, drew a crime scene, added individual clues to each RFID tag, placed them at relevant points on the crime scene and then passed the crime scene to another team to figure out the crime based on the clues.
This was an interesting and fun idea in itself – the idea of being involved in creating, telling and discovering a story – all linked together in the process.

The discussion in the pub afterwards was interesting too. I met someone (a photographer and filmmaker) from my hometown and we got talking about various digital storytelling ideas we’d been involved in. I got thinking about a little digital project I’d put together a few years ago – a biographical map featuring key locations in my life and I wondered if there was any scope in developing this map and opening it up to others so they could add their own history to an area. A sort of very personal local and social history. Local history is often built on personal narratives and stories and it would be a way to build up a idea of the location, one that broader history resources don’t always cover. People could add their own text, videos, images, sound recordings and others would be able to access them too. Now I’ve managed to work with live data in Processing I’m thinking this might be possible.

Secondly I visited DOK Library in Delft. This made great use of 2 large touch screen digital tables. One focusing on local history maps and images and another focusing on multimedia stories created by library users – some of the stories created were fiction and some were focused on the importance of libraries in library users lives. These digital tables highlighted that some people want to and are willing to share their stories with people who have a shared connection, and that some people are interested in reading those stories. Using an interactive storytelling experience is also a fun way of drawing people’s attention to those stories.

Both of those sessions have given me an incentive to work at my original idea.


3 thoughts on “Biographical Digital Storytelling

  1. This sounds great… Am working on a biographical interactive activity for Thinking Through Drawing next month (physical not digital though) and that Sherlock event sounds like it would’ve helped with another one I’m doing for Dulwich Picture Gallery in December.

    Looking forward to a catch up at the BL. And I can’t remember if we talked about Jim Munroe’s Canadian game, using historical images & media, that you solve by walking?

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