This dataset includes various audio files, video files, and photographs from a public transmedia outreach project focused on NEST's efforts in the Safe Beaches and Shellfish project. These elements together form a storytelling website called "NEST: Safe Beaches, Shellfish, and You." Here, they are removed from their original context, but are presented for the purposes of compiling a complete archive.
"NEST: Safe Beaches, Shellfish, and You" is a communication platform that is provided as part of the New England Sustainability Consortium’s first project on Safe Beaches and Shellfish. As a research effort, this platform makes use of transmedia storytelling to share the work of the Consortium. Through writing, images, audio, video, infographics, and interactive media, the transmedia project is a reflection of the interdisciplinary work of NEST. It also features key NEST stakeholders, including native tribes, shellfish harvesters, public schools, beach monitoring programs, and government agencies. The purpose of the project is to provide citizens, funders, and researchers the chance to explore and understand the work of NEST to take the next step toward a sustainable future for Maine and New Hampshire. The complete project is live at http://nest.maine.edu and its materials are archived here to provide a long-term, open-access record.
Media scholar Henry Jenkins describes transmedia storytelling as "the art of world-making" (Convergence Culture, page 21) and has written a number of books and articles that explain it as an especially engaging way to tell fictional stories. But there is a current move in transmedia studies to adapt the method for use in non-fictional narratives as well. A powerful example of this is Welcome to Pine Point, an interactive web-based documentary about a now-abandoned mining town in Canada's Northwest Territories.
Transmedia storytelling was the perfect choice for sharing NEST's work because unlike multimedia (where different types of media are collapsed into one rigid form), it allows for each piece of media to illuminate a different aspect of the story, with each fragment working with the others to provide a rich picture of the narrative. Transmedia storytelling can be thought of as an ecological approach to storytelling, where a project like this website is a habitat in which different "species" of story segments participate together in a larger system. In this way, this approach to reporting is inspired by and closely mirrors the structure of NEST itself as well as the systems it studies.
Finally, transmedia is important because it engages people. Beyond simply telling or even showing the engagements already going on through NEST, transmedia allows website users to put themselves in the story, participate in its telling, and imagine the NEST Consortium differently. Thank you to everyone who made this project possible.