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Writing Guide with Handbook

3.8 Spotlight on … The Digital Archive of Literacy Narratives (DALN)

Writing Guide with Handbook3.8 Spotlight on … The Digital Archive of Literacy Narratives (DALN)

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Use a variety of technologies to address a range of audiences.
  • Match the capacities of different environments to varying rhetorical situations.
The Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom is part of the National Archives Building in Washington, DC.
Figure 3.15 Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom (credit: “The Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom” by Garrett/flickr, CC BY 2.0)

An archive is a collection of artifacts, often historical, that serve to document a time period, location, or group of people. Archives may be located far from cities, accessible only in person, and they typically house rare documents that visitors view or handle with particular care. When an archive is digitized, however, visitors are allowed to view the document in virtual spaces, thus creating an open and accessible environment. The Digital Archive of Literacy Narratives (DALN) “is an open public resource made up of stories from people just like you about their experiences learning to read, write, and generally communicate with the world around them.” People who have diverse identities, lived experiences, and engagement with literacies have uploaded their literacy narratives and given permission for their stories to be read and shared with public audiences.

Using the Digital Archive of Literacy Narratives (DALN)

The DALN is completely keyword searchable, so if you are looking to read literacy narratives on particular subjects—such as music or dance as literacy, or any other concentrated subject about which one can demonstrate knowledge—you can search for shared narratives with these literacies. As the website states, “The DALN invites people of all ages, races, communities, backgrounds, and interests to contribute stories about how—and in what circumstances—they read, write, and compose meaning, and how they learned to do so (or helped others learn).” Sharing your literacy narrative in the DALN can be a rewarding way to celebrate the completion of this writing milestone. The DALN welcomes literacy narratives of all kinds and in all formats, including diaries, blogs, poetry, music, videos, letters, stories, chat rooms, and so on.

Publish Your Literacy Narrative

After you have completed and revised your literacy narrative, consider sharing it with the DALN You may also want to consider reimagining your literacy narrative in the form of a podcast or a TED Talk–type video. The TED Talks in TED Talk is an acronym that stands for the phrase “Technology, Entertainment, and Design.” TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to the distribution of ideas; the website is keyword searchable and provides an archive where you can find short talks about just about any topic. The criteria for a TED Talk can be found on the organization’s website. To prepare for this publication alternative, take an opportunity to watch the following sample TED Talks that fit the genre of literacy narrative:

  • Luvvie Ajayi discusses how blogging and creating a post that went viral led to her identifying as a writer.
  • John Trischitti talks about how reading literally saves lives and advocates for providing young people with books to secure their futures.
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