1. Digital storytelling platforms Many creative an effort have been made to break with the linear structural path since the digital world ran into the concept of “narrative”. To be sure, users were to a non-negligible degree familiar with a non-linear context already long before the digital age and that in having avidly read linear entertainment like books at a first stage, or in watching films even at a later one, yet only so in a traditional form. The in medias res (in the middle of things) technique, where the story is related by way of flashbacks rather than in a chronological order is but a fine example of what the audience had been prepared for by that time, like in “Iliad”, an epic poem by Homer written around 850 b.c. In the 20 th century, another form of linear entertainment, films are experimenting with non linear stories using different techniques like parallel action,(director Robert Altman), multiple point of views and no clear ending, (Rashomon, Akira Kurosawa), or even different outcomes within the same movie (Run Lola Run, Tom Tykwer). Nevertheless it became easier to evolve the non linear techniques in a non linear medium like digital storytelling platforms in web 2.0. These tools use an open structure in order to help the user create or launch a story. The rising issue is how to design a platform that integrates the user’s activity into a framework that respects the basic rules of narrative which is people facing a challenge, trying to overcome it through a sequence of events and reaching a resolution (Laure,R.2009). Since storytelling is moving towards a non -linear model this does not mean that a sort of coherence is to be left out of the equation. Web 2.0 stories are broad, they can represent history, fantasy, a presentation, a puzzle, a message, so narrativity is no more dependent of fictionality (Laure,R. 2001). Narratives flow through games, platforms and other digital tools widely accessible via internet, while reading stories moves forward from a static action to an interactive, dynamic process where the lines between the author and reader blur. An open platform for communication reaching modern storytellers is “Milia”. Personal creation and social sharing of stories is the core idea involving the platform, while experimenting with the possibilities of the branching structure in non-linear stories. Integrating creation and reading in a non linear way, the user is alongside a reader and a creator, as he imports personal data and also reads other’s stories. A digital storytelling platform in general is supposed to fulfil three basic principles: Collect data, edit and export a story. The difference is the level of freedom that offers to the user. The Milia platform aims to support the representation, presentation and collaborative creation of any sort of stories in digital format. A story seen in “Milia” is interweaving different media to support a central idea. Users are linking and orchestrating different clues to build a meaning for the reader. Since readers and users co-exist in this digital storytelling platform it is essential for their creations to find their way to the audience in a non linear yet coherent way.
Other digital storytelling platforms that share the same principles of presenting a story will be presented in this paper. Each of these is different from “Milia” yet similar in their philosophy. Some of these elements are the branching structure, the social sharing of the stories, the possibility to organize personal data in a new and compelling way. Pearltrees (http://www.pearltrees.com/ ) Pearltrees is a visual and collaborative curation tool that allows users to collect, organize and share URL. Users can drag and organize collected URLs into units called pearls. Pearltrees users can synchronize their social accounts with (Twitter, Facebook). A pearl represents a link to a web page, but it is more than that, it is an interactive object that users can move around their visual map. They can share it with others who “pearled” the same content and discuss about it. A pearltree contains other pearls. What is especially intriguing is that users can view other users’ pearltrees which they can expand and explore at will. Pearltrees give meaning to the user’s web interests and organizes his web exploration. The tree structure helps preserving a main theme of interests for each tree and its branches underline the sense of continuity with other similar themes.
My Heritage (http://www.myheritage.com/ ) My Heritage is a familyoriented social network service and genealogy website. It allows logged in users to digitally create their own family websites. The traditional family tree turns into an interactive experience where family members share pictures and videos, organize family events, create new family trees, and search for their ancestors. The platform is very popular reaching 72 million users and it is one of the largest sites in the social networking and genealogy field. The most distinctive feature is the chance to search for family history through face-recognition technology. The visual experience of the tree scheme represents the family story and moreover connects with other family stories. This scheme presentation of a story is used in other platforms as well, along with other types of structure like box or a cube, or a pin board.
Digital Vaults (http://www.digitalvaults.org/ )
More than a digital display of photos, documents, videos and archives is the digital vaults. It is mainly a reading experience in a non linear way but it offers, as other digital platforms do, the possibility to create their own collections, games, posters, movies with the database material of the national archives. Visual material of the national archives collection are displayed for the user, while his interaction with the records will enable new material coming forward, all implementing a surprising, informative, and important story. â€œNarration takes place in the mind of the viewer, as an interpretation of the connections he makes throughout his digital storytelling experienceâ€? (Michael Joyce 1995). Each image contains historical information that can be added as captions. The movie making tool includes soundtrack options as well as basic editing tool. With a free login account, users can save their work and share via hyperlink or mail their projects. Web 2.0 technology allows users to search the database both by keywords and tags. Users can browse through the hundreds of photographs, documents, and film clips and discover the connection between some of the National Archives' most treasured records. It is an example of a constantly changing customary pattern of narration as stories are presented open-ended, branching, hyperlinked, cross-media, participatory, exploratory, and unpredictable now (Alexander B., 2008) Museum Box (http://museumbox.e2bn.org/) Museum box is a tool for virtual displays of artifacts that someone can use online. Helps building up an argument or describing an event, person or historical period by placing items in a virtual box. Users can put on display text, files, and movie. In this platform the boxes created can be commented by the other users. The 3-dimension (cube) or 2-dimension (images) choice changes the viewerâ€™s perception within the same story.
HistoryPin (http://www.historypin.com/) Historypin is a digital, usergenerated archive of historical photos, videos, audio recordings and personal recollections. Use the location and date the content to "pin" it to Google Maps. Where Google Street View is available, users can overlay historical photographs and compare it with the contemporary location. In effect, it turns Google Maps into a worldwide, communal, open-air "memory palace". The method of loci (a way of memorising things by visualizing them in) is quite effective for many people. Mrbellersneighborhood (http://mrbellersneighborhood.com/map) Creating stories by viewing a map or a photo of a place is something that engages people to share their memory of this place. Mr. Bellerâ€™s Neighborhood began publishing in the spring of 2000 and has so far published over a thousand pieces of original writing. The site is a combination of a magazine with a map. It uses the external, familiar landscape of New York City as a way of organizing the wildly internal, often unfamiliar emotional landscapes of the city dweller. It publishes reportage, personal essays; urban sketches. For the first five or so years the front page of the site was based on a satellite photograph of a map of Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn that was divided into sections, each representing a neighborhood. If someone clicked on one of these sections he zooms into that neighborhood. The red dots link to articles. In 2005 the platform started using Google Maps, which are in color, and can be zoomed into and out of more extensively, and are generally more flexible and user friendly. Creating a digital story with strong interactive elements sometime means that the tool that the individuals use is free of scheme, with no specific graphical environment and with the freedom to upload the material and to decide the way that is going to be displayed.
Folding Story is a group storytelling game where players write one line of a story, fold the paper, and pass it on to the next player. It is a digital version of the classic classroom collaboration story game, in which participants takes turns to add the next line to a story until the whole story is complete. However, each player can only see the last couple of lines, and hence have no idea how the story goes before that point. All this activity takes place in the platform and users can read finished stories (fold stories) or participate in unfinished ones.
Michael Joyce (1995) Of Two Minds: Hypertext, Pedagogy, and
2. Alexander,B., Levine,A. (2008) Storytelling emergence of a new genre, Educause Review, November-December, pp.40-56