Navigating Stories in Times of Transition - The COVID-19 Pandemic as a Use Case

This project aims to develop eScience technologies to advance multidisciplinary approaches of digital storytelling, and is led by prof. Gerben Westerhof and dr. Anneke Sools.

When societal transitions happen, people respond by telling stories that create continuity and change. In a digital age, storytelling has become even more abundant, rich in variety, and accelerating in pace. The current COVID-19 pandemic allows to study storytelling while transitions are happening.

In a multidisciplinary team, we analyze how the varieties of stories evolve over time and across different media. eScience challenges include (1) integrating existing Natural Language Processing tools to extract and preprocess stories from existing and growing collections; (2) further developing Digital Story Grammar methodology to study narrative components in their mutual relations; (3) building a Story Navigator that uses visualization tools, while also allowing for human interpretation; and (4) integrating the tools into the Orange platform to allow re-use by students and researchers.

We cooperate with national infrastructures, develop online tutorials, and organize a hands-on workshop to facilitate dissemination and long-term use. Interdisciplinary narrative studies will thus be enriched with necessary tools to analyze storytelling in a digital age as it unfolds in real time across different media and platforms. This can also support sustainable policy making in times of transition.

This project is in collaboration with:

University of Twente Story Lab

the Netherlands eScience center

the Danish Center for Social Science Research


National Library of the Netherlands

Institute for Sound and Vision