An example of the way in which a community digital archive may become of use once a good corpus of data has been gathered is visual research. This technique uses photographs as a data set, and draws conclusions based on the "story" the images, taken collectively, are able to tell. Additional techniques, such as Grounded Theory, allow one to determine broad strands of meaning associated with the data set. It is an intriguing field of research, on the face of it, being subjective and with apparently little "hard" information being held in an image, but which, in practice can turn out to be so rich that it is difficult to know when to stop analysing.
Stevan Lockhart completed a Visual research module as part of his Scottish Cultural Studies B.A. degree. The associated blog and the project itself may be viewed on this web site, at http://www.tinslave.co.uk/vrp (Link opens in a new window.)