Digital storytelling and memory institutions: a case study using Activity Theory - School of Computing Seminar Series

This paper describes a case study investigation of a city-wide digital storytelling initiative led by two libraries and one municipal cultural department in Hamilton, Canada. Data collection involved one-on-one interviews, document review, and participant observations with governance stakeholders from the two libraries and municipal cultural department involved in the case study. Using activity theory as a conceptual framework, data were analysed using grounded theory techniques. Results suggest that digital storytelling is a viable mechanism by which memory institutions, such as libraries and museums, can engage and lead the communities they serve. However, memory institutions must heed a variety of challenges and concerns that can potentially limit or constrain the benefits of spearheading a digital storytelling initiative in their communities. Importantly, activity theory was found to provide a robust, holistic framework by which to understand and describe the phenomenon of digital storytelling initiatives led by memory institutions.

Dr Brian Detlor is Chair of Information Systems in the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University, Ontario, Canada and a Visiting Professor