Democracy, Design, and Development in Community Content Creation: Lessons From the StoryBank Project

David M. Frohlich, Ramnath Bhat, Matt Jones, Mounia Lalmas, Maxine Frank, Dorothy Rachovides, Roger Tucker, Kiriaki Riga


Mobile and Web 2.0 technology have the very real potential to democratize the creation and sharing of multimedia content in developing communities, even beyond the levels currently seen in community radio and television. In this article, we report the findings of an exercise to test this potential in partnership with a Budikote village in southern India. We show how a system called StoryBank supported the creation of short digital stories on a text-free camera phone, and how these stories could be shared through a community repository and touch-screen display. Despite the success of a field trial in which 137 stories were created and shared over a one-month period, various technical and social factors meant that the devices and content were more hierarchically managed and controlled than expected. The implications of these experiences for rural development and community-centered design are discussed.


Mobile; Web 2.0; developing communities; India; StoryBank; rural development; digital stories

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