What Is a Digital Story?

The Lab isn’t all that interested in defining what constitutes digital stories or digital storytelling. We have an inclusive, interdisciplinary approach to digital stories: we would like to be the place on campus where students do new and cool and fun things with narrative and stories and digital technology, no matter what form that takes. question mark sculpture picture

However, we are very interested in how others define digital stories. Below are some resources that will provide a little more context about the various ways in which people have defined “digital storytelling.”

Know of a good take on digital storytelling? Comment below!

Center for Digital Storytelling – When you use the phrase “digital storytelling” a lot of people will think that you mean digital storytelling as it is defined by Joe Lambert from the Center for Digital Storytelling: “A short, first-person video-narrative created by combining recorded voice, still and moving images, and music or other sounds.”

Documenting the American South – In this page from their “Classroom” section, DocSouth explains the components of digital historical narratives. They define digital historical narratives as an adaptation of  Joe Lambert’s definition of digital storytelling; they describe or interpret historical events rather than focus on personal anecdotes.

Second Story – These folks run an “interactive studio” (read more here).  Their media projects are based in narrative and storytelling, but are powered by nonlinear interactivity. Creative Director Brad Johnson explains the idea behind Second Story: “The evolution of interactive media means the story no longer flows in one direction, from the one to the many. Through a framework of possibility that visitors use to weave their own story, the narrative is only visible in hindsight—when their path is revealed—the path that was their history, their story—that is the second story.”

Other Thoughts

3 thoughts on “What Is a Digital Story?

  1. Beyza

    “Good Living” by Aleksander HemonThe narrative bneigs with a reference to the war in Bosnia, and as the war in Bosnia continues on, the Bosnian narrator is living in Chicago selling magazine subscriptions. It then writes about the way that some Americans perceive him, as one who is “overcoming adverse circumstances in a new country.” Throughout the story, his comments seem to suggest that there is also a war in America, or at least a problem, which may be the fable of the American dream: “They did not waste their time contemplating the purpose of human life …” Blue Island’s trees and streets are described in an interesting way: “…died of abundantly and beautifully… thickly covered with yellow, orange, ocher, russet layers.” This episode parallels the struggles of the working-class who is also “loomed over.” The priest’s house is described in a negative way. There is a “dry carpet of honey-colored leaves,” the porch is dusty and “littered with disintegrating sheets of coupons,” a black cat sits undisturbed and the figure of the Virgin Mary hangs “stiffly.” The description has an uninviting and slightly ominous implication in it. The “cavernous dark room” comment foreshadows the “emotional/spiritual darkness” that the narrator finds inside. The story carries a gloomy feel to it, while it also holds a comfortable ignorance and indifference. The narrators “mindless” job holds up to this.If I have interpreted the story correctly, the narrative focuses on the broad idea of the American Dream. It then becomes more subjective by describing a town, a mindless job and mindless recreational activities that show the American Dream as a false. It ends with a personal encounter with a living example of its falseness.


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