#9 Tell a (digital) story
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:
- using digital tools so that ordinary people can tell their own real-life stories (Wikipedia)
- the practice of using computer-based tools to tell stories (University of Houston, The Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling)
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.
- 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
- what it is = creating visual (usually photo) slideshows accompanied by recorded voice narration
- tools required = digital photos, a computer microphone and software that allows the creation of narrated slideshows
- a few free software solutions are:
- Microsoft Photo Story 3 (Windows only) and iMovie (Mac, free if it comes standard on your machine, don’t miss this article if you want to try to use iMovie for this purpose)
- Animoto (free pro account for huminatarian/non-profits)
- clunky process but also free = use a free slideshow tool like Flickr, Picasa or Google Presentations and record the slideshow along with voice narration using free screen recording tools like Jing or Screenr (5 minute limit)
- commercial solutions like Voicethread and Powerpoint (with the recording option enabled)
- a few free software solutions are:
- skill level = basic to intermediate
- example = Media Arts Center San Diego California of the Past “Slideshow with Voiceover” Staff Picks
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 Screencast.com, YouTube.com (15 minute limit), Vimeo, and Blip.tv
- 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
- what it is =combining digital images/photos and video with music and special effects, usually requiring advanced editing and storytelling skills
- tools required = a combination of many of the tools listed above, usually of the higher end variety, and advanced multimedia editing software/software packages such as Final Cut Express or Final Cut Pro (Mac), Abobe Premiere Elements, and Abobe Premiere Pro
- skill level = intermediate to advanced
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:
- California Public Libraries’ Video Storytelling Project Overviews (in partnership with Media Arts Center San Diego)
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 in Scott County Schools, Georgetown, KY (Videos require Quicktime to view; K-12 librarians and teachers, don’t miss the resources section of this site!)
Digital storytelling can also be used for powerful advocacy/marketing/outreach efforts:
- Library Snapshot Day Photo Projects (TLA organized one for Texas in 2010, New Jersey had the first one)
- ALA’s I Love Libraries Video Contest (videos can be an amazing advocacy tool for your library — for more advocacy examples, see the winning videos from this year’s TechSoup Digital Storytelling Challenge)
Digital Storytelling Resources
- InfoPeople Archived Recording: Introduction to Digital Storytelling (2011) (provides an overview of the California of the Past Digital Storytelling Project)
- The Center for Digital Storytelling: Resources
- Media Arts Center San Diego, Digital Story Station: This comprehensive website includes a page of rich Videographer’s Resources that can be used as models/templates for your own projects including Story Telling Starter Forms, Copyright and Interview Release Forms.
- The University of Houston’s Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling
- 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
- 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)
- 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?
- 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.