If you Google for ‘digital storytelling’, the top links focus on training in storytelling and multimedia tools ( e.g. http://dsi.kqed.org/index.php , the best of this bunch) and it’s hard to find public free databases dedicated to distributing heritage and cultural histories. So I did a bit of digging.
Please comment with more examples if you have them.
1 Digital storytelling & community archiving sites
A database for small heritage archives and community groups.
It costs quite a bit to sign up to it: http://commanet.org/English/C_What_you_need.htm
Cultural Objects in Linked Environments. This is a demonstration project, aiming to enable community groups/schools to tell stories using cultural images. Partners vary from schools to villages to museums across Europe.
An online community for sharing digital stories. The description sounds great but the site seems to be offline.
Schools can upload digital stories if they are within the National Education Network (UK broadband consortia)
Community groups can currently upload stories to Moving Here, not just the groups that were part of their Routes to the Future project, which has added 400 more stories from more migrant groups.
2 Generic tools that allow community & learning groups to create their own websites:
These tools are easy to use. However, your own story site wouldn’t easily be connected into a wider community that is about the history of places and cultures. (Comments are invited on whether or not this matters.)
http://lotsofbigideas.blogspot.com/ is a good example of a community blog, allowing refugees to post & share ideas & experiences
http://pbwiki.com/ Wikis can also be useful for making freeform hypertext stories.
http://elgg.net/ You can use a variety of tools to run your own learning network. ELGG Spaces is a new service that means you don’t have to download the software to your servers.
Drupal with CivicCRM is the best for a large Community website and has extensive audio and video uploading facilities.
For families’ to share information and their history/stories
Flickr, YouTube, of course, are also good distribution sites. Flickr isn’t just photos but can be for writing projects e.g. http://flickr.com/groups/nycwp/discuss/162532/
Ubuntu seems a good open source Operating System, especially if you’re doing projects with underfunded groups and other countries, because it’s available in many languages and there are 14,000 packages all with no cost (seems hard to believe).
We’ve been working with whatwashere.com to reach more users and plan their future. Here’s an edited version of their press release for the launch of the Liverpool pilot.
Did you ever get your marbles from a Gulley Sucker? Do you remember the Dockers’ Umbrella? What lubricant would you want on your scones? What would it be like if history wasn’t written just by historians, but by everyone? What would you write?
whatwasHere.com wants to revolutionise how history is written. Its pilot website in Liverpool tells history like it’s never been told before: by everyone. It doesn’t only tell the capital H history of Liverpool, but the everything-interesting-that-ever-happened-to-the-people-who-actually-live-there history of Liverpool. It’s oral history for the My Space era. Based around Google maps, the site lets people instantly publish the stories that matter to them on the spot where they happened, discuss other people’s stories, use the Timeline to go back in time, make connections between big events and small across the map. If you know something that happened in Liverpool, put it on!
whatwasHere.com’s aim is to get everyone – yes everyone – writing history. So in the pilot, the website is being used by a wide range of community organisations, including the Liverpool Library Service, schools, NHS volunteers, Merseytravel, Liverpool Community College, Workers’ Educational Association, local history societies and the BBC.
whatwasHere.com hope the Liverpool website is just the start. Next stop, the whole UK, then the World! They are looking for partners and funding to develop projects with adult learning, museums, regeneration areas, schools and any one else who has histories to tell. Their future ambitions are large: imagine if the site also featured old maps, or was available on mobile phones. whatwasHere.com are keen to talk to anyone who can help them develop the site.
whatwasHere.com is the brain child of Ben Tunstall. Eileen Barlex saw how it could work in learning contexts, and the learning programme at NESTA funded it. whatwasHere.com is a not for profit organization. The content is held under a Creative Commons Licence. A first version of the site went live in Walton in March 2006 and collected over 250 stories. These now appear on the Liverpool-wide version of the site that has gone live in September. The project is being evaluated by the Centre for ICT, Pedagogy and Learning at Manchester Metropolitan University.
For more information read the blog: http://blog.whatwasHere.com
Mac users: Unfortunately the site does not currently work on Safari. You need to use Mozilla Firefox to view the site, which you can download free at: http://www.mozilla.com/firefox