Documenting local history: a case study in digital storytelling

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate possible purposes of digital storytelling and discuss practical implementation in a community-based digital storytelling project. Design/methodology/approach – This case study investigates the function of digital storytelling for archiving local history, specifically by journaling experiences during a digital storytelling grant project at a public library in Southern California. Findings – This case study details a specific example of the impact digital storytelling can have on a community, both to foster community building and also to encourage documentation of local history. The main goal of the project was to present and archive filmed stories from local community members; however, the project also led to increased awareness of digital storytelling and the associated technology both within the library and the greater community. Practical implications – This article should provide best practice guidelines for administering a community-based digital storytelling project including suggestions for outreach to the larger community, dealing with technical issues, and tackling operational issues. Originality/value – Digital storytelling has had a profound impact on the way that society communicates and can be used effectively for purposes of outreach and activism, to educate using technology, or to document micro-histories. This case study provides an assessment of the current uses of digital storytelling and presents a successful implementation of a local history digital storytelling project at a public library.