Digital Storytelling: Book Summary

This is a chapter by chapter summary of the book we used in the Digital Storytelling class, Digital Storytelling Capturing lives, Creating Community, by Joe Lambert.


  1. Goes over Lamberts theory on story telling and how we use it in our daily lives. He links storytelling to how people remember things and how our brains function differently when storytelling is involved. He also talks about how everyone story is important and it build our Personal myths. One of the most important point he makes during this chapter is about framing. We frame stories to suite our current needs and feelings.
  2. Discusses what type of stories we should or could tell. It list reasons why a person could have trouble deciding on what to tell. Infoglut, we are exposed to to much information in a day. De-storificaiton, in our current society the art of storytelling is diminishing. He lists out several more hurdles that the storyteller has to navigate.
  3. This chapter is a biography of sorts. It goes into detail about the authors life and how he became a digital storyteller. It talks about his parents and their world views and his early years. His years working with theater groups. How he got into digital storytelling and a brief overview of what the current state of the Center for Digital Storytelling.
  4. The Taxonomy of the digital story is defined and they break down the 7 components of CDS digital stories. Approaches to content in DS, the types of stories. This includes, Me story, my story, our story, their story, no story. Some of the different types of production process are also discussed.
  5. Lambert lays out the seven steps of DS in this chapter. He describes the approach to the CDS process. He does state that these are just guidelines to the creation of any storytelling production and can be tweaked as needed.
  6. Chapter 6 is titled The Story Circle. It explains how to facilitate the Digital Storytelling Workshop. A key point during this chapter is to understand that there will be many emotions and sometimes hard to here stories. It gives ideas on how to lead a discussion and how to motivate/goad people in to opening up. The chapter also gives an overview of how a 3 day workshops unfolds and a description of each part.
  7. This Chapter is all about scripting and different approaches that a facilitator could use to help the group get their ideas out in a logical manor. some of the scripting examples they use is the index card method. It forces a storyteller to condense their idea into a very streamlined idea. Part of the chapter also talks about interview techniques.
  8. Storyboarding is the topic of chapter 8. It opens with a story about a man making a film for his wedding anniversary, in short all his hard work ended in disaster. This was used to prime the reader into see that having a plan/storyboard is an important part of the process. It then goes on to give some simple story boarding examples.
  9. In this chapter working with digital image is discussed. This is the most technical of the chapters and goes into detail about how to make interesting design choices for your digital project. A key point in the chapter is that you dont need to be highly trained at design to make good looking projects, you just need to copy things you like. To help illustrate what makes good design, Robert Kershaw’s “Camaro Boy” is used to demonstrate some of the ideas.
  10. Is a discussion on the ethics of digital storytelling. The first portion of the chapters speaks about cultural appropriation and how to best deal with telling stories that do not belong to you. The next portion is about the publication process and how they keep the framework loose, because in the end it is the participants that have the power to publish or can their work. The remainder of the chapter is about ethics and how to keep it in mind when producing any multi-media work.
  11. Goes over many of the applications of digital storytelling. It lists in short detail various groups or organizations that can use the practice to help people. Some of the examples that are give are; Disability, Activism, International Development, and Team Building just to name a few. The last passage in the chapter is a look forward into the future and the challenges that DS may face.
  12. Is an interview with Amy Hill. This chapter is laid out like a script with the author asking questions and the interview answering. Amy talks about her relationship with many traumatic outreach organizations and how the DS process can help those that have experienced trauma. Therapeutic is a key word for this chapter.
  13. This chapter is an interview with Yvonne Pratt. It discusses her and her mothers joint storytelling project about Yvonnes grandmother. It also expands on the hardships that her people have endured at the hands of colonization and the Canadian Government.
  14. Humanizing Healthcare is a conversation with Pip Hardy and Tony Sumner. These two Interviewees work with people that have experienced pain in or around the healthcare industry. They facilitate groups for those who have lost loved ones and help them come to terms with their feelings. Much of the chapter is a just a discussion about their approaches and practices. Few examples are given of the participants.
  15. The last chapter is an interview or conversation with several facilitators in higher education. The chapters starts out with introduction from all the interviewees and they give a little background into what got them into digital storytelling. The rest of the chapter is a little bit of a round robin with each facilitator discussing their model for DS, challenges, and success.

all in all the last 3 chapters are ok if you are going into that field or want to become a facilitator, from a student perspective I did not find them of much interest – “they were missing a story telling aspect that kept me engaged.”

The is may great ideas to take from this text. I like the interludes and stories and how they give real examples of people that have completed the DS process. The technical stuff was also interesting to me, however about 1/3 of the book did not excite me. I think that some of it was great for those planning on facilitating workshops, but for those just interested in the creation process I did not get much out of them.

In closing I will say that I am happy that this text was assigned it opened my eyes to a world I did not know existed and has given me many ideas on how to tell my own story.



My thoughts.

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