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#9 Tell a (digital) story

2011 March 22
by nditullio

Every dancer has a story…. 

Libraries have been helping patrons tell their own stories for ages — from providing genealogy assistance and hosting community oral history projects to organizing community photo days and scrapbooking workshops. Now libraries can help patrons tell their stories in a new format — a digital one. 

Libraries can also use this technology to tell their own story:

Digital storytelling is defined as:  

Libraries can help patrons tell a digital story in a variety of ways — from simple online scrapbooking projects to more robust multimedia projects involving audio and video. 

In this method, we will explore several methods of digital storytelling, highlight some of the tools used to create them, provide you with some real-world examples of libraries involved in digital storytelling, and point you toward additional resources.

Online scrapbooking    

  • what it is = creating photo scrapbooks online through the use of a scrapbook service (most are free to create and share online but charge fees for burning to DVD and/or printing pages) 
  • tools required = digital photos/images and an online scrapbooking service (Mixbook and Smilebox are two popular examples — if you have heard of Scrapblog, Mixbook incorporated them this year) 
  • skill level = basic
  • examples = Mixbook gallery, Smilebox (customer gallery located at bottom right)

Narrated (voiceover) slideshows 

Simple (direct-to-camera) videos

  • what it is = using a digital video camera to record direct-to-camera stories, with very little (if any) editing
  • tools required = digital video camera  or good quality webcam and online video storage solution
    • there are many free video storage solutions online such as, (15 minute limit), Vimeo, and
    • there are also several low-cost and very user friendly budget digital video cameras on the market today such as the Flip, the Creative Labs Vado and the Kodak Zi8; also, don’t forget the cameras built into most Smartphones, if their quality is acceptable for your project
  • skill level = basic to intermediate (if simple editing is involved)
  • example = Media Arts Center San Diego California of the Past “Direct to the Camera” Staff Picks

More robust digital storytelling  

Libraries and Digital Storytelling Projects – A Few Examples

Digital storytelling can be a powerful community-building tool and many libraries have used digital storytelling to create and preserve the story of their community:

Digital storytelling can be also be used for educational purposes. Many K-12 and academic institutions use digital storytelling to teach their students technology and communication skills. Storytelling can be taken to a whole new level, though, when such institutions team up with their local libraries, as is evidenced in this example:

Digital storytelling can also be used for powerful advocacy/marketing/outreach efforts:

 Digital Storytelling Resources

Discovery Exercise: 

  1. Of the three simpler digital storytelling methods outlined above (online scrapbooking, narrated slideshows, and direct-to-camera interviews), choose one method and create a very short [1 minute] example in which you tell a story (ideally about your library, or libraries in general, but it can be about something else if you like) and either embed or link to it from your blog (embedding is preferred if it is possible). 
    • Need photos or music? Try the Creative Commons Search
    • Other photo sources: if you don’t have your own, try Flickr Creative Commons, Free Digital Photos (read terms of use), StockVault, or see more listings of Copyright-Friendly Sources courtesy of the Metronet Information Literacy Initiative
    • Need music? Check out ccMixter and Flashkit Sound Loops
    • A few ideas for quick projects:
      • sign up for a free Animoto account and create a 30-second story about your library or a recent library event
      • tell the story of your library or why you are passionate about libraries in 5 frames (pictures) — simply upload the pictures with a few simple captions to your blog or to a photo hosting service if you have one (Flickr, Picasa, etc)
  2. In your blog post (titled: Beyond Method #9), discuss which method you decided to try and which tools you used. Did the story telling process go smoothly? Why or why not?
  3. If you haven’t already, please view a few storytelling staff picks from the California of the Past collection as well as a few of the winners from this year’s TechSoup Digital Storytelling Challenge. In your blog post, discuss whether you see a use for digital storytelling in your library.   

Finished learning this Advanced Dance Method? When you’re ready, move on to Method 10.

2 Responses leave one →
  1. Brenda Jenkins permalink
    August 25, 2012

    I love to create smileboxes with my photos from birthday parties to summer vacations. Smilebox is easy and the end results always look professionaly done.

  2. August 29, 2012

    This would be great for students sharing their different trains and customs that their individual familie celebrate

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