Coding 14 new cases

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Published on: 20/09/2011

Here I report on my experiences with coding 14 new cases. This is after having coded about 70 cases that included ones that were not exemplary. I threw 25 out which brought me back to 45 cases and then I used my list of reserves (21) from which I selected 14. I think it is important to document here what it is like to code the new ones after all the experiences up to now. I use this list now:

1. Involved, 2. Aims, 3 Methods, 4. Stories, 5. Affordances, 6. Evolution

  1. It seems to me now that some citizen initiatives do not have such strong aims “sense of place” or none at all (oranjeboompleinbuurt). So I added a code ‘missing’ to ‘aims’.
  2. I do not have a code for advanced social functions (like becoming friend or a group). Flickr has such functions. I added ‘making connections’, but I didn’t go through all the data to check for occurrences. (Memory of East has this too).
  3. Don’t have the affordance ‘map’ yet. And adding your own tags.
  4. Some cases are part of an overall social project or an overall neighborhood website.
  5. Some case set an informal tone, but get formal historical stories (comlumbus neighborhood stories).
  6. I have at least two regional websites in my cases.
  7. I believe by now that countries/ regions  built up local traditions wrt online collections of local stories more or less inspiring each other with storytelling projects.
  8. One of the cases (westpark) mentioned sharing as one of the purposes. So does the buurtwinkelproject.
  9. I am still surprised at a much time I loose with understanding each case in order to be able to code it. Maybe I also get lost a little in the local stories.
  10. With startup I don’t make a distinction between company and individual local social entrepreneurs, although the latter is present about 7 times I think.
  11. In case of elementary schools I coded the youth as ‘citizen’, not as ‘professional’ (which I did with students who were learning how to be a reporter etc).
  12. The difference between formal/informal and everyday/ historical becomes clearer again:
    1. Informal/ formal is how the text on the website talks about – or makes implications about – the style of the stories (e.g. “fascinating memories” is closer to informal then to formal).
    2. Everyday/ historical is sometimes literally in the texts, but can also be paraphrased (e.g. “a flavour of life as it was then” is closer to everyday the to historical).
  13. For example the aims that Buurtwinkels had with their neighborhoodshop-project are not online, but in other documents. In other words: not all the aims will be made explicit on the websites of the cases I have found.
  14. The cats ‘guestbook’ and ‘who knows’ are used often for the same purpose. Or better: the comment function seems to entail these two.
  15. In one case other memory websites and their community are participating partners. I have put the, in ‘other’.
  16. Should I position my field analysis as a pilot study?
  17. I don’t do much with the age of the site, but some of them have been around since 2003 and still active.
  18. Wrt to the contributions: I think I should look at 2010 and 2011 to make a claim about the activity.
  19. News items are counted only when they are not automatically imported from elsewhere (e.g. Floresta).
  20. Note the discrepancies between what’s on the website and what is going behind the scenes. For example buurtwinkels: “Deze site zal bewaard worden door het Amsterdam Museum, ook nadat de tentoonstellingen afgelopen zijn. Uw verhalen gaan dus niet verloren en zullen hopelijk ook in de toekomst door veel mensen gelezen worden.”. I know from the museum this is probably not going to happen.
  21. I am a bit worried about participation. The word means in my context to involve citizens, but in all cases citizens are meant to be involved. There are only a few that mention to let certain isolated groups participate. Those are the ones I coded.

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