I am presenting a paper at this year’s Sporting Traditions XIX Conference in Canberra.
It is titled Produsing Historical Narratives. I aim to explore some of the opportunities available in using digital media to produse historical narratives. Like Bruns (2008), I believe that we have “a new process for the continuous creation and extension of knowledge and art by collaborative communities: produsage”. I propose to explore the issues around produsage and the possibilities for constructing and sharing narratives. I intend to conclude the paper by considering how the sports history community can develop its use of knowledge capital by engaging with digital media.
I see CrowdSourcing as a great way to do this. Recently the British Library called on members of the public to help in a digital quest to reveal the hidden context of historic maps. 800 items have been selected for the Georeferencer Project from the British Library’s collection of over 4.5 million maps. The georeferencing interface enables people to plot locations on historic maps by comparing a digitised image with present-day online maps.
By choosing points that correspond between the historic map and the present, the user generates an overlay in Google Earth allowing us to see how areas have changed and developed over time giving a modern day context for maps up to 400 years old.
The last time the British Library undertook such a project 708 maps were completed in less than one week. Volunteers who take part in the georeferencing project will have their name attached to each tag so they will be able to chart their progress and see what they have contributed to the overall project.
This is a post I wrote back in 2009 about Rose Holley’s “Enhancement and Enrichment of Digital Content by user communities: The Australian Newspapers experience” in relation to the Australian Newspapers Digitisation Program, at the National Library of Australia.
A post by David Crotty in the Scholarly Kitchen encouraged me to pause my preparation. David included a link to a YouTube video (2 minutes 58 seconds)
I followed up with the Last Bookshop video (20 minutes 15 seconds)
Watching both videos triggered memories of sitting in the Library at the University of York, Heslington, in 1971 reading Harold Garfinkel‘s Studies in Ethnomethodology. The first photocopiers had arrived at the Library but I was transcribing most of what I read into my notebooks, verbatim. I was trying to understand “that the meaningful, patterned, and orderly character of everyday life is something that people must work to achieve” and that there are methods by which each of us makes sense of everyday life. A decade later I learned about Michael Agar’s Professional Stranger work. (I found it interesting to find his digital presence.) Harold and Michael encouraged me through their texts to explore sense making.
In promoting produsage as an important consideration for sports historians, I am mindful that there are important issues to debate. I am hoping, notwithstanding the cultural dystopia, that digital media can enhance the narratives we can construct. I think this is why I am so fascinated by the insights required to develop narratives such as Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek.
The theme of the Sporting Traditions XIX Conference is A New History for a New Century? I do think that digital narratives are part of this new history but are not the only form it takes. I do think it is the way to engage new generations of sports historians.
I am thinking about problem based approaches to sharing sports history and see enormous potential in using trigger videos. For example:
Telstra’s Send a Hero a message advert
I am hopeful that this post contributes to the consideration of what constitutes a narrative. I see this as a Republic of Letters moment at the Conference.