RootsTech is a great place to discover apps for family storytellers. In fact, Rootstech is to storytellers as Virginia is to lovers. A homeplace. A source of inspiration. A show case of innovation.
Innnovator Summit’s Apps for Storytellers
Although FamilySearch’s Steve Rockwood advised innovators to look beyond the storytelling, thankfully a couple of this year’s innovators didn’t get the memo.
Emberall helps you let loved ones tell their own stories in their own words via short video clips. Which, according to Embrell’s Karen Corbitt, is the preferred format for millennials.
When downloaded on an Android or iOS smart phone, the app guides users through creating an album and interview question prompts. Using the smart phone’s video, loved ones record their responses. Better yet, Emberall tags and categorizes the video clips, making them easy to find and share. You can also upload the videos to presentation quality DVDs.
QromaTag came from innovator Tony Knight’s desire to uncover the stories behind the photos his father left behind when he died. Tony asks, “How many times have you looked at a photo and wondered what was going on? If it was a print, you might be tempted to flip it over to see if anything was written on the back.” Sadly, those of us who’ve been obsessively scanning photos for years haven’t taken the time or had the expertise to add meta data to the photo file. (Metadata is bits and bytes of information stored in photo files.)
Luckily, Tony knows more about things like EXIF, IPTC, Voice Recognition and standard outputs than the average bear. With QromaTag, you can record the exact GPS coordinates of the place your grandparents’ home used to stand. In addition, you can use—get this—voice recognition to tag photos with names, places, and even 2000 characters to attach “the most important parts of a story” to the photo. This makes finding the photos to use in stories much easier. It’s currently available for iOS, but will be out soon for Android.
Qroma Tag won 2nd place in the RootsTech Innovator Showdown.
Previous Innovation Summit Winners
Twile.com (Last year’s Innovator Showdown People’s choice winner) “makes your family history more visual and engaging” with the creation of timelines and aesthetically pleasing info-graphics. Though Twile can pull family’s memories, photos and stories in the same place, it can also be used to enhance your stories. For family history buffs, their partnership with FamilySearch makes them even more attractive. “Twile” comes from “erstwhile” and is now completely free to use.
Storyworth.com (the 2015 Innovator Showdown winner) helps with the problem of getting stories from loved ones who probably would never get around to writing themselves. A subscription service, loved ones (or you) will receive weekly story prompts. They can respond via email or phone and those stories are kept on an ad-free private server.
Other Apps for Family Storytellers
Storycorps’ app remains at the top of my list. Like many other apps, it offers prompts to facilitate interviews, but it offers the users a chance to upload their interview to the Library of Congress. In my experience, these interviews are stilted questions and answers, but rather include a lot of heart.
Rev.com transcription for voice recorders, intrigues Valerie Brown Eichler, a friend who blogs at familycherished.com. Imagine, recording your oral history interviews and having a service that automatically transcribes the interview. Neither one of us have tried it out for accuracy, but it’s definitely one to watch.
What are your favorite storytelling apps? Let me know!