On Oral Histories, Communities and Annotating the City


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Presentation at the Digital Cities 8 workshop, 30 June 2013, C&T 2013, Munich, Germany

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On Oral Histories, Communities and Annotating the City

  1. 1. On Oral Histories, Communities and Annotating the City Gabriela Avram, John Slattery, Alan Ryan University of Limerick, Ireland Laura Festl University of Siegen, Germany
  2. 2. Outline  Origins and evolution of the idea  Background  Methodology  Work to date  Future plans
  3. 3. Origins and evolution of the idea (1) Limerick Tweasure Hunts http://ConnectedLimerick.com
  4. 4. Origins and evolution of the idea (2) Oral History Network http://www.oralhistorynetworkireland.ie/ oral history = the collection and study of historical information from individuals using audio or video means, or by transcribing oral interview.s http://www.limerick.ie/ranks/
  5. 5. Origins and evolution of the idea (3) Mobile Cityscapes „Mobile Cityscapes‟ is an urban awareness experiment which attempts to „hack‟ (crowdsource) subjective urban data: city dwellers‟ experiences, emotions and meanings attached to spaces in the city as they move through in their everyday lives. http://mobilecityscapes.wordpress.com/
  6. 6. Background  “the city infrastructure is now virtually augmented and enhanced by communication and information technology” (Foth 2009);  Three categories of location-based applications (Froehlich, Baille, Simon 2008):  (1) orientation and wayfinding,  (2) accessing and creating data that refers to physical places, and  (3) augmented reality.
  7. 7.  the city as a network in which people and artefacts – such as streets and buildings – influence and interact with each other. (Dörk and Monteyne 2011);  a place as consisting of a “semantic tangle” of people, events, and loci (Harrison and Tatar, 2008);  inspired by the Urban Tapestries project - embedding social knowledge into the fabric of the city (Angus et al 2008).
  8. 8. Methodology  Participatory design – interaction designers setting the stage for the process. Following the methods of Buscher et al (2010):  „moving along with‟ members of the public likely to be touched by technology;  „being moved‟ by experiences, observations and conversations that arise along the way;  „moving in‟ with prototype technologies.
  9. 9. Work to Date - Telling stories about the city  Design workshop
  10. 10. Work to date - Prototypes
  11. 11. Working prototype for Android
  12. 12. Work to date - User Evaluation In Situ
  13. 13. Positive Impressions Overall, the users found using the application easy to use, informative and the experience enjoyable. The text transcription of the audio was well received by non-native English speakers as it helped them to follow the story. Many locals also appreciated this. Experience provided “more freedom” to explore than a walking tour would. One user/contributor commented that the application provided the opportunity to embellish stories more than an official tour could.
  14. 14. Issues that need further work Many users wished they had a real time locator on the map to help them navigate the physical space using GPS. Content was sometimes seen as lacking context, too short or lacking local character. Some users felt vulnerable in the environment with expensive equipment. Certain headphone types were seen as “isolating”, which detracted from the experience of some users.
  15. 15. Where do we go from here? Main directions:  Facilitating content creation, tagging, editing  Creating a proper app – flexible, but stable enough  Actively supporting citizen involvement.
  16. 16. Digital support for urban activism  Allowing people‟s voices to be heard;  The city is made by streets and houses, but also by the stories people say about these;  Diversity and awareness.
  17. 17. Limerick – City of Culture 2014  Oral histories - continuation  Dance Halls project – Communities Art Network  Collaboration with local historian
  18. 18. Thank you! gabriela.avram@ul.ie @gabig58 Coniecto.org ConnectedLimerick.com Mobilecityscapes.wordpress.com