The Lost Book was a collaborative adventure in storytelling that aimed to encourage people to read, watch and tell stories.
“Really charming and clever way of telling narrative across web”
Stuart Cosgrove, Director of Creative Diversity, Channel 4
Audience research was carried out via an online feedback questionnaire at the end of the project. 65 complete and detailed responses were received, all from audience members aged over 16. Website statistics were gathered throughout the project.
“The most interesting collaborative book-writing experiment of the decade” Jasper Fforde, bestselling novelist
The Lost Book was nominated in the Interactive category for the BAFTA Scotland Awards 2009 and the BAFTA Scotland New Talent Awards 2010. It was also shortlisted for the Arts & Business Scotland 2009 Small Business Award.
The Lost Book website had:
- 27,500 unique visitors from
- 121 different countries
“It's a great way for people around the globe to release that little bit of creative energy and make them realise the things they can come up with, a fantastic idea I had never even heard of prevoiusly! The contribution from many different people in different aspects- with the option of remaining anonymous, means that the project is versitle, is fresh. I take great enjoyment in checking the site every day, to see what's happening, to brainstorm. I'm even more excited when I see my idea in the Journal or in the polls.” Audience member, Australia
Interactivity was key:
- Over 650 comments/story suggestions were received.
- Thousands of votes were cast in online polls to suggest the best story ideas.
- Each week from February to July 2009, 100-word microfiction submissions were received as participants collaboratively wrote the stolen book.
- 97 percent of those who expressed an opinion said that having participants’ make suggestions for the animation plot was a good idea.
“I enjoyed the participation factor, seeing other people's opinions and reasons why certain plot lines wouldn't work, each person's contribution was equally considered in a fair way” Audience member, Canada
- 97 percent of those who expressed an opinion said that voting on other participants’ suggestions was a good idea.
- 90 percent of those who expressed an opinion said that having participants discuss ideas and work as a team was a good idea.
- 85 percent of those who expressed an opinion said that the link to an existing book, The Lost World, was a good idea.
- 100 percent of those who expressed an opinion said they would like us to run a similar project again.
“It let me put in ideas and see them being produced into a very professional animation, complete with amazing music. It was like being part of a hollywood film! I become a part of something I would never have been able to do without The Lost Book project.” Audience member, UK
The Lost Book made people feel:
- Positive: amused (72 percent), impressed (57 percent), happy (54 percent), inspired (38 percent) and excited (37 percent).
- More connected both to other people (43 percent) and to books (35 percent).
“I think that it was a fantastic mix of professional and general population input. So often I know I have thought that it would be interesting to write, but a whole book seemed like a daunting task or just didn't have ideas. This project allowed me to contribute where I could.”
Audience member, Canada
The Lost Book changed behaviour and attitudes:
- 30 percent of those who expressed an opinion read the classic novel The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle because of the project.
- Before The Lost Book, only 25 per cent of those who expressed an opinion had heard of The Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust and 17 per cent had heard of the OBOE reading campaign. After The Lost Book, 100 per cent of those who expressed an opinion had heard of both.
- 54 percent of those who expressed an opinion are more interested in reading as a result of their involvement in The Lost Book.
“Any ideas I put forward to the idea were considered by lots of people all around the world as they read them and sometimes voted on them. Some of my ideas became animated and the animation influenced the music...so I was sort of helping to write for the SCO!! I have also read some of the books Watson recommended, and found Jasper FForde as an author (he's great!!)" Audience member, Ireland
- 41 percent of those who expressed an opinion are more interested in writing stories as a result of their involvement in The Lost Book.
- 45 percent of those who expressed an opinion are more interested in listening to classical music, 37 percent are more interested in seeking out contemporary composers, and 46 percent are more interested in finding out about film music as a result of their involvement in The Lost Book.
- 73 percent of those who expressed an opinion are more interested in watching animation online or at the cinema as a result of their involvement in The Lost Book.
“As a librarian, I've come across a lot of websites aimed at getting people interested in reading, and this is by far the most impressive and the most fun. I've never come across such a high quality and modern project - we're usually so far behind!” Audience member, UK
The audience research from The Lost Book was presented at the Society for Animation Studies' 22nd Annual Conference, July 2010, in a paper by Helen Jackson of Show Them Pictures entitled "Not just for kids: engaging an online adult audience with animation".
Many thanks to Annabel Jackson (no relation to Helen!) of Annabel Jackson Associates who assisted in drafting the audience feedback questionnaire, as part of a project funded by the Association of British Orchestras.