Plans for an expanded ESB trial

The first iteration of this Electronic Story Board (ESB) work indicated that the concept might work for other types of items than books. So, I am planning to undertake another trial using mementos, photos, letters, household files, music, and a few more books. My intention is to explore how to include these different types in ESBs, and to see how they might inter-relate.

I shall continue to use the physical apparatus from the first ESB trial (designed to hold and display A4 laminated sheets); and to create self-contained ESBs in A4 PDF files for use within SideBooks on my iPad. These ESBs have to be self-contained, with subsets of Supporting Information included behind the first page, as I am not able to create PDFs with links to other files within SideBooks.

However, it is possible to create PDFs with links to other files within my laptop. Therefore, in addition to the set of PDFs for SideBooks, I will create an extra set with links to files of other items, for use on the laptop. For example, instead of including the first few chapters of a book within a self-contained ESB PDF, I will just include a link to the file containing the whole of the book’s contents; or, instead of including a photo within the PDF, I’ll just include a link to the relevant jpg file. The result will be smaller ESB files and, where appropriate, all the contents of each piece of Supporting Information will be accessible. This will provide a much closer simulation of the ESB system that I envisage – albeit without the immediacy of being able to manipulate a large wall display in front of you, and/or of interacting with a portable iPad. The possibilities of interacting with the ESB using voice commands will also be explored by using the Amazon Echo device in my study to call up music.

The physical apparatus being used will limit the number of ESBs to about 35 – around 5 of each type. To select the items concerned, I intend to use a random number generator to choose the first two or three mementos, and then to use any items (of any of the types being investigated) that emerge in the process of recording Associated Information. I will continue to apply this approach for each type of item until enough instances of each type have been identified. The aim is to produce both a random selection of items, and at least a few inter-relationships between the items.

To establish the Associated Information for each item, an initial assessment will be made and written up in free text form. When all items of a particular type have been assessed, a set of Category Prompts for that type will be derived from the set of free texts, and then applied to each item of that type (this process can be short-circuited for the Book items since Category Prompts for Books have already been identified in the first ESB trial). The Category Prompts will always include an ‘other comments’ section to ensure that all the points in the free text can be captured within one or other of the responses to the Category Prompts.

Shortly after creating this new set of ESBs, I’ll post a summary of the experience and of my initial impressions, here in this blog. A more detailed evaluation will then be conducted after the ESBs have been in place on the side of my study bookcase for about 15 months.

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