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ALISE Data Storytelling Webinar
Friday, August 17, 2018, 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM PST
Category: Events

(ALISE Webinars typically run for an hour, which consists of 45-50 minutes of presentation, and 10 minutes Q&A)

Data Storytelling: Narrative Strategies and Structures

Presenter Name: Kate McDowell
Moderator Name: Rong Tang

Presenter Bio: Kate McDowell is Associate Professor at the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She has been teaching storytelling since 2007, helping graduate professional students explore how their stories can help them succeed. She is also the storytelling consultant to campus-level Advancement at the University of Illinois. Her workshops for nonprofits bring together the tools of storytelling with many areas, including fundraising, career preparation, business, and public service. Her current research project is on Storytelling at Work, and she is working on a book called Storytelling Thinking for Professionals.

Key areas the presentation will cover:

  • Extrapolating from the library tradition of storytelling
  • The story before storage: making sense of all of the data we collect. (See Kate's recent blog post: https://storytellingscholar.blogspot.com/2018/07/story-before-storage.html)
  • Nonprofit story genres
  • Narrative strategies for finding data stories: identifying character, plot, and setting
  • Narrative structures for data stories: three examples

Presentation Description: Despite collecting a tremendous amount of data on activities related to their collections, services, and spaces, information professionals frequently struggle to find the right data to tell the right stories to the right stakeholders at the right time. This can be particularly challenging when there is a mismatch between what external stakeholders value (for example, the number of volumes held), which may not align with what the library understands to be meaningful (for example, the number of titles held). Narrative strategies help us find the story in data; narrative structures help our organizations craft effective stories. This workshop combines lecture with brief activities designed to introduce the fundamentals of storytelling thinking for information professionals. Attendees will learn strategies for applying principles of storytelling to workplace communications and explore ways that these principles can be used to develop meaningful stories that help solve problems. Participants will explore successful story structures for data stories and learn how to effectively learn and remember their stories. Libraries have a tradition of over 130 years of storytelling to help engage users with our collections and services, particularly in youth services. These data storytelling approaches distill wisdom from that tradition in ways that are relevant to all information professionals.