Sustainability & Diverse Revenue Streams: What Happens when your State is Broke?

In their report “Searching for Sustainability: Strategies from Eight Digitized Special Collections, authors Nancy L. Maron, Sarah Pickle, and Deanna Marcum write that “While the efforts and activities needed to plan and build digitized collections have been addressed in a variety of ways, the set of activities that permit the digitized collection to remain vital and useful post-launch is often not addressed.” Many institutions receive grants or themselves fund projects to digitize their collections and build digital resources, but how and if these resources will remain sustainable is often left out of the conversation.

For this blog post, I looked at an exhibit hosted on the University of Illinois at Chicago’s library website titled “Changing Neighborhoods: Photographs of Social Reform from 7 Chicago Settlement Houses.”

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Fourth Star: Narrating a Century of Progress

My colleague Matthew Amyx summarized the narrative trajectory of our project very well on his blog post “The Narrative Goals of Fourth Star 1933.”

We are utilizing audio, video, and images for the site, which features a hidden object game. The story is that the user is a young person visiting family in Chicago during the Great Depression gets tickets to the fair. However, a strong guest of wind off of Lake Michigan blows them throughout the grounds, and it is up to the user to find them in order to experience different exhibits at the fair.

The track below by Blind Willie Johnson, “Dark was the Night,” plays over our Ken Burns-style intro video.

Having so many audio and visual elements will help our social media strategy, as we have a lot of media that can be shared through various social media platforms. Our hope is that after viewing the intro video and understanding the narrative of our project, viewers will be persuaded to visit our site.

Serial: Podcasts & Digital Storytelling

To me, podcasts seem like the simplest and most obvious form of social media when it comes to digital storytelling. What more literal way is there to tell a story than by listening to someone’s voice? “Listening to a voice or voices tell a story without other media is an ancient human experience, hearkening back to the oral tradition,” writes Bryan Alexander in The New Digital Storytelling. Though Podcasts seem simple, or perhaps because of their simplicity, I find them to be some of the most powerful and effective ways of storytelling with digital media. In this post, I will examine how my experience with one podcast in particular, NPR’s Serial – hosted by Sarah Koenig and co-produced by Koenig and Julie Snyder – might have implications for public history.


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