IBM Systems Journal, vol. 36, no. 3, pg. 446-56.
We present a novel approach to documentary storytelling that celebrates electronic narrative as a process in which the author(s), a networked presentation system, and the audience actively collaborate in the co-construction of meaning. A spreading-activation network is used to select relevant story elements from a multimedia database and dynamically conjoin them into an appealing, coherent narrative presentation. The flow of positive or negative "energies" through associative keyword links determines which story materials are presented as especially relevant "next steps" and which ones recede into the background, out of sight. The associative nature of this navigation serves to enhance meaning while preserving narrative continuity. This approach is well-suited for the telling of stories that--because of their complexity, breadth, or bulk--are best communicated through variable-presentation systems. Connected to the narrative engine through rich feedback loops and intuitively understandable interfaces, the audience becomes an active partner in the shaping and presentation of story.
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