#ArchivesForStorytelling

Aliyeh Rizvi, Bhanu Prakash, Dinesh, Malini Ghanathe, and Venkat Srinivasan

researchers@work
Jun 1, 2019 · 4 min read
‘Penthouse’ room, TIFR, 13 Ways Exhibition, Archives at NCBS

In the oral history realm, where history is recorded based on oral accounts and typically via interviews, we can imagine that each storyteller has many different stories, each story has many different storytellers, each story has many different themes and vice-versa, and so on. Moreover, each personal history might be related to others based on common entities (eg. people and organizations), objects, time and space (eg. events, geography), and other conceptual objects that the accounts may comprise of. For example, is a given story referring to an event that someone else may also talk about in a seemingly unconnected way?

There is an incredible range of stories recorded in institutional archives and other stand-alone oral history projects. The point is not to re-store them in a new space on the web but to have a way to re-point to them in a new scheme. That is, make the connections explicit. The numerous stories among all of us, as separate individual accounts, might feel like they are irrelevant and unimportant beyond a few individuals or a closed group. By being able to see the interconnection between various individual accounts, can these stories become meaningful and relevant to a wider audience?

While WWW itself is a gigantic source of material, archives have existed for millennia at various institutions and with individuals. We discuss here the relevance of modelling archives for today by taking the knowledge bank of Indian Digital Heritage and NCBS@25 exhibit by presenting the work done towards storytelling using these archives.

Session Plan

The session team included three individuals who presented 1) a traditional folk story, 2) a transformation of this into an online visual story and 3) an elaboration on working on a demonstrative stories archive, respectively.

A traditional folk narrative that is a representation of the intangible cultural heritage of the Vijayanagara Empire is presented and some of these questions are brought forth regarding the related archival material that would help bring about development of visual versions of that story online. The role of social networking as part of this archival information is also discussed. The work on creating the stories of NCBS for its 25th year anniversary will be used to illustrate the archives work done to help in the rendition of stories relevant to such an anniversary.

Audio Recording of the Session

Disclaimer: The talk by Venkat Srinivasan is an edited or modified version of previous presentations of the project on annotations and narratives from archival objects.

Session Team

Aliyeh Rizvi is a researcher-writer, storyteller and founder of Native Place, Bengaluru where she works with stories, memory and imagination to explore new ways in which to engage people with their present day historical and cultural landscapes. Her experience in working with information (maps, guides and design collateral) and experience (culture walks-tours, storytelling for product, technology and retail) design, oral histories, and building locality based narratives through community engagement has helped create the ‘Embedded Histories’ project that involves devising story collection and sharing formats and devices as well as building story interpretations and insights. She is also a contributing writer on travel, heritage and culture for the National Geographic Traveller magazine.

Bhanu Prakash has been working on developing front end tools for delivering visual stories from archives. He has worked with the NCBS@25 project of delivery stories from the history of NCBS and also on methods to render the folk stories of Vijayadashami into visual stories on the Web.

Dinesh is the Technical Director of Janastu(.org), a non-profit organisation. He has had various academic, research and industrial positions where he has worked on object-oriented programming, generation of software and courseware from specifications, structuring information for its use on the Internet and in creating visual stories from archives. As technical director of Janastu he works in Bangalore, India on issues like Web content accessibility for the low-literate, use of 3D methods for location interpretation, methods on using social semantic web concepts for storytelling and developing open source social platforms.

Malini Ghanathe is a faculty at Acharya School of Design, Bangalore and has worked in the area of Arts Management, Administration and Arts Research with interests in Art History, Design, textiles and crafts. For Indian Digital Heritage of Hampi project she has helped the IIT Delhi team to curate and develop content for “Ontology and Knowledge Bank: An Intellectual Exploration of the Girija Kalyana” narrative by exploring the at tangible and intangible aspects that makes the Narrative.

Venkat Srinivasan worked as a research engineer at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory; independent journalist/digital archiving. At SLAC, he worked with teams that develop instruments for use in experimental stations at the world’s brightest x-ray source laser facility. He got interested in digital archiving when he started conducting oral histories with SLAC employees. He does journalistic work, mostly about the sciences. Educational background is in engineering and journalism. Recently he has worked on “History of NCBS, Exhibit and Online Narratives”.

Note: This session was part of the Internet Researchers’ Conference 2017 (IRC17) organised in collaboration with the Centre for Information Technology and Public Policy (CITAPP) at the International Institute of Information Technology Bangalore (IIIT-B), in the IIIT-B campus on March 03–05, 2017.

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A blog on internet and society edited by the researchers@work programme at the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS), India

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r@w blog

r@w blog

A blog on internet and society edited by the researchers@work programme at the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS), India

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