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TOPIC: Re:Narrative as organizing principle?
Narrative as organizing principle? 2 Years, 11 Months ago  
I wonder if anyone has done work on the use of narrative to make collections more accessible and useful? What I envision is that collection users (who could range from researchers to ordinary people visiting an institution) could search for cultural artifacts of interest to them, and by collecting them together _base_d on their interests, they would create a kind of narrative. This narrative could be saved and reused by future researchers or visitors to the collection. This is very close to tagging, but tags create a kind of cloud (or network if you want to be mathematical) of associations that are not necessarily narrative.

I think this idea could apply to social tagging as well, since the tags enable the reuse of effort in finding and organizing, which can be leveraged by future explorers of collections, but the connection to story telling has fascinated me for several years. I've had some conversations with my friend and project director of Folkstreams about the use of narrative in organizing and making collections accessible. He has some ideas about using the elements of video games as a way to explore collections, which I also think is an interesting possibility.

I've had this on my mind for several years but have not had time to do more than think about it occasionally. I think the time is ripe for realizing these kind of visions and testing them, since we have projects like Project Pad and emerging, which have the potential for building infrastructure for these kinds of experiments in personalization of collections (Pad, which it appears will enable users annotate video down to the shot) and user-determined exploration of collections (as with social tagging).

I hope that's not too philosophical for the board, but it seems like there are a lot projects emerging in recent years and months, which are envisioning similar goals, but they all seem particularly insular and there is no coordination between their development. Sharing personalized collections could act like narrative and perhaps there is some way to reconcile tagging and sharing personalized information, which actually happens on social bookmarking sites in an emergent way (a user will create a user name like 'smallbusiness' and then their tag collection works almost like a narrative or blog of their interests and expertise as they add bookmarks).
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wlee ()
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Re:Narrative as organizing principle? 2 Years, 11 Months ago  
I'm not sure how you'd do anything like this outside of being able to share personal collections. We do that on and we're expanding what you'll be able to do with it.

I think sometimes we see a little too much into a datastream and try to wrap a context around it. We really don't know what a user's intent was when we get a series of tags.

I guess it's more like flickr sets, groups, and pools than tagging as I read it.
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Willy Lee
Minneapolis Institute of Arts
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Re:Narrative as organizing principle? 2 Years, 8 Months ago  
I think Lev Manovich's work is very relevant here - I wrote an essay a while back using his language of New Media to analyze tagging as a mechanism for constructing narratives from data_base_s, and relates narratives to knowledge construction and representation.

Knowledge: Narrative Tapestries and Data_base_ Substrates

But, the meaning that is beginning to emerge from the tiny flakes of data that are being synthesized into a whole greater than the sum of the parts is quite astonishing - The TagMaps project really blew me away once I understood how it was being generated.

Nothing wrong with being a little philosophical ;-)

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Last Edit: 2008/11/07 16:38 By mrenoch.
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Re:Narrative as organizing principle? 2 Years, 3 Months ago  
Aren't narratives a bit old fashioned?
Aren't narratives also tied to the intolerable linearity of text?
Which better represents the connections between things -
things like events, personal experiences, artists, populations, and ideals -
singular progressive _link_s, or dizzying networks?
I'm only saying that if people understand their world linearly it is because language has taught them to do so; and to impose that structure on art-_object_s is to destroy meaning rather than foster it.
down with narratives
up with data_base_s
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