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The Researcher as Storyteller: Using Digital Tools for Search and Storytelling with Audio-Visual Materials


Berber Hagedoorn ,

University of Groningen, NL
About Berber
Berber Hagedoorn is Assistant Professor Media Studies at the University of Groningen. Hagedoorn specialises in Media and Cultural Studies, studying the representation of past events, participatory media, multi-platform storytelling, cultural memory and the re-use of archival footage, particularly for television, film and digital media. She is Vice-Chair of theECREA Television Studies thematic section, organizing cooperation for European research and education into television's history and future as a multi-platform storytelling practice.  Her Digital Humanities experience in (inter-)national projects on digitalized audiovisual heritage and cultural memory includes the European Best Practice NetworksVideoActive and EUscreen, her 2016-17 Research Fellowship atthe Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision in Hilversum, studying audiovisual representations of historical news events in the context of DIVE+, which builds an innovative approach for the exploration of digital heritage via linked online collections, and the CLARIAH Research Pilot Narrativizing Disruption (with dr. Sabrina Sauer), which studies how users of the media archive and audiovisual sources use and create narratives to understand media events, and how exploratory search supports such narrative creation or generation ( Hagedoorn has published in amongst others Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies, Studies in Documentary Film, Rundfunk und Geschichte, Tijdschrift voor Mediageschiedenis and Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television.
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Sabrina Sauer

University of Groningen, NL
About Sabrina
Sabrina Sauer is Assistant Professor Media Studies at the University of Groningen, at the Research Centre for Media and Journalism Studies. She has a background in Media Studies and Science and Technology Studies, and studied as an actor prior to writing her dissertation about user-technology improvisations as a source for ICT innovation. Her current research focuses on audiovisual narrative creation around disruptive media events, the agency of users and technological artefacts, exploratory search and algorithm development, and serendipity. Apart from that, she is keenly interested in Digital Humanities, and questions around digital materiality. Sauer has published in amongst others Journal Of Science And Technology Of The Arts.
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This article offers a first exploratory critique of digital tools' socio-technical affordances in terms of support for narrative creation by media researchers. More specifically, we reflect on narrative creation processes of research, writing and story composition by Media Studies and Humanities scholars, as well as media professionals, working with crossmedia and audio-visual sources, and the pivotal ways in which digital tools inform these processes of search and storytelling. Our study proposes to add to the existing body of user-centred Digital Humanities research by presenting the insights of a cross-disciplinary user study. This involves, broadly speaking, researchers studying audio-visual materials in a co-creative design process, set to fine-tune and further develop a digital tool (technically based on linked open data) that supports audio-visual research through exploratory search. This article focuses on how 89 researchers – in both academic and professional research settings – use digital search technologies in their daily work practices to discover and explore (crossmedia, digital) audio-visual archival sources, especially when studying mediated and historical events. We focus on three user types, (1) Media Studies researchers; (2) Humanities researchers that use digitized audio-visual materials as a source for research, and (3) media professionals who need to retrieve materials for audio-visual text productions, including journalists, television/image researchers, documentalists, documentary filmmakers, digital storytellers, and media innovation experts. Our study primarily provides insights into the search, retrieval and narrative creation practices of these user groups. A user study such as this which combines different qualitative methods (focus groups with co-creative design sessions, research diaries, questionnaires), first, affords fine-grained insights. Second, it demonstrates the relevance of closely considering practices and mechanisms conditioning narrative creation, including self-reflexive approaches. Third and finally, it informs conclusions about the role of digital tools in meaning-creation processes when working with audio-visual sources, and where interaction is pivotal.

How to Cite: Hagedoorn, Berber, and Sabrina Sauer. 2018. “The Researcher as Storyteller: Using Digital Tools for Search and Storytelling with Audio-visual Materials”. VIEW Journal of European Television History and Culture 7 (14): 150–70. DOI:
Published on 31 Dec 2018.
Peer Reviewed


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