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The Geo-Doc pp 141–161Cite as

Palgrave Macmillan

Visible Volume: The Multilinear and Database Documentary

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Part of the Palgrave Studies in Media and Environmental Communication book series (PSMEC)


Two interactive formats of the digital documentary film are explored for their ability to provide a resource to those tasked with introducing progressive new policy and effecting social change. The multilinear documentary shows up in film practice as early as the 1960s, and while theoretically interesting at that time, its lack of interactivity does not make it an engaging structure as an influential communications tool until the digital era. The database documentary proves to be a valuable structure for housing a wide variety of content on a specific theme. Both multilinear and database documentary formats will be examined in this chapter. Combining these two interactive formats promises to enhance the influential power of the documentary film when incorporating a relationality platform for the film units as well as the various metadata affordances of the World Wide Web.

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-32508-4_6
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Fig. 6.1


  1. 1.

    Surveillance technology goes back as far as 1942 when German engineer Walter Bruch invented the closed-circuit television camera to watch Nazi rocket launches from a safe distance. The first documented use of multiple cameras and monitors for surveillance was in 1968 by the city of Orleans, New York, as a means of fighting crime (Lee, 212).

  2. 2.

    The project title is hyperlinked, but it can also be accessed at this address:

  3. 3.

    In December 2018, Google announced it will be taking the experimental GIS software Fusion Tables offline as of December 3, 2019. Its recommended replacement is Google’s My Maps . Both GIS projects created by the author—The Documentary Film World and The Youth Climate Report GIS Project (Chap. 7)—have been migrated to My Maps .

  4. 4.

    The geo-doc projects created for and examined in this book have been migrated from Fusion Tables to My Maps .

  5. 5.

    Inman, Mason. Fracking in the North Dakota Oil Boom, 2015. Accessed: April 29, 2018. Web.

  6. 6.

    Oxford Dictionary. Accessed April 29, 2018. Web.



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GIS Project

  • The Youth Climate Report GIS Project, Creator, Mark Terry. Bonn, Germany: United Nations Climate Change, 2018.

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Correspondence to Mark Terry .

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Terry, M. (2020). Visible Volume: The Multilinear and Database Documentary. In: The Geo-Doc. Palgrave Studies in Media and Environmental Communication. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

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