INTERACT and TSU's digital book shows the work of Arctic scientists
01.06.2021

The largest EU project for the study of the Arctic, INTERACT II, and Tomsk State University have created a joint product - the interactive book INTERACTive e-book Stories of Arctic Science II. It provides information on studies of global changes in the Arctic, carried out by scientists around the world at INTERACT stations. The book, in which many natural processes are visualized using computer graphics, animation, and other tools, is intended for a wide audience. The users of the resource can be schoolchildren, teachers, students, lecturers, scientists, and people who are far from science, but who have an interest in global changes taking place on the planet. The presentation of the new resource took place at the UArctic Congress.

- In 2015, the first book, INTERACT Stories of Arctic Science, was published, but since then the INTERACT network has expanded and even more convincing evidence of environmental changes in the Arctic has become available, - says Terry Callaghan, the author of the idea, professor at TSU and the University of Sheffield, and one of the most renowned Arctic explorers. - The new book presents 41 stories of scientists and indigenous peoples of the Arctic.

In addition to the traditional format, we decided to make a digital version. This helps us to show the Arctic more visually and expand the content - to add educational materials for students and schoolchildren. On the creation of the interactive version, we worked with the British educational charity Wicked Weather Watch and the TSU Faculty of Journalism.

Short stories told by different scientific groups introduce the reader to interesting and sometimes unexpected facts. For example, you can learn from the book how pollution, especially black carbon (soot), from industrialized countries reaches the snow cover of the Arctic and, changes its surface, and why this can affect the quality of drinking water in local communities. The book also talks about how another global problem - the ubiquitous presence of microplastics - captured the Arctic, and how the melting of permafrost affects the health of the indigenous population.

To bring the results of current research to the maximum number of readers, it was decided to bring Arctic stories to life using digital technologies.

- We started making an interactive book not to replace the printed one, but to expand its capabilities many times over, - says Ilya Myasnikov, dean of the TSU Faculty of Journalism. - Make stories available to readers all over the world: attract schoolchildren who are always on gadgets and give a new look at the same information. Therefore, we animated maps, turned book illustrations into interactive ones, and built new navigation through the contents of the book. But the main thing, in my opinion, is the possibility of “stories with a continuation”.

The developers of the interactive version of the books have foreseen that in the future it will be supplemented with new materials - videos, games, illustrations, and additional plots, which are available only to readers of the interactive book. In the updates to the applications, readers will always find small improvements and new surprises, interesting to everyone who follows the work of INTERACT and Arctic research.