Digital Ethnography

Digital Ethnography at its simplest is merely the application of new technologies to the process of ethnography.  As such it affects the entire ethnographic enterprise. 

Using digital camcorders extensively during fieldwork creates different dynamics, some of which have been explored in the field of visual ethnography.   It also requires new skills and, potentially, new working practices.  For example should a digital ethnography require a team of specialists (ethnographer, recording expert, computer programmer) or should it require one or more generalists?  Also how does our conception of the field change once new recording equipment is introduced?

On the production side, what happens to ethnography when it isn’t “usually a book”?  What opportunities for richer description are opened up by hypertexts and hypermedia environments?  Simultaneously how can the required academic rigour and tradition of linear exposition and argumentation be implemented in hypertext?
 

Watching the Watchers: Bella videoing a guide
For the construction of the EHE we used:
  • “semi-pro” standard Sony digital camcorder 
  • Microphone splitterfor dual channel sound recording
  • 6 hour Battery pack and spot light.
  • Sanyo VPC-X300 Digicam.
  • Standard tape recorder for audio back up.
In the Production of the EHE we are using:
  • DPS Spark digital video capture board with Adobe Premiere
  • Two fairly standard PCs, one dedicated to video capture with an A/V rated SCSI hard drive the other with a CD-Rewriter.
  • HP 6100C flat top hi-resolution scanner
  • StorySpace for hypertext development, Authorware for presentational development.
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