Storyboards and Science: Introducing the Planetary Data Storyboard
Friday, 18 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Every discovery has a story and storytelling is an ancient form of education. The stories of scientific discovery are often very formal and technical and not always very accessible. As in the past, today most scientific storytelling is done as in-person presentations in the form of slide shows or movies that unfold according to the design of its author. Things have changed. Using today’s technologies telling stories can be a rich multi-media experience with a blending of text, animations, movies and infographics. Also, with presentations on the web the presentation can provide links to more details and the audience (reader) can jump to the linked information. Even so, the most common form of today’s storytelling is as a narrative that starts with a page, a link to a single movie or a slide-show. We introduce a new promising form of scientific storytelling, the storyboard. With a storyboard a story is presented as a set of panels that contain representative images of an event and may have associated notes or instructions. The panels are arranged in a timeline that allow the audience to experience the discovery in the same way it occurred. A panel can also link to a more detailed source such as a publication, the data that was collected or items derived from the research (like movies or animations). Scientific storyboards can make science discovery more accessible to people by presenting events in an easy to follow layout. Scientific storyboards can also help to teach the scientific method, by following the experiences of a researcher as they investigate a phenomenon or try to understand a new set of observations. We illustrate the unique features of scientific storyboards with the Planetary Data Storyboard using data archived by the Planetary Data System.