Am coming to NCPH this year to talk about Cleveland Historical, a smart-phone app we’ve developed at the Center for Public History + Digital History. It sits atop modified Omeka install that has been tricked out in a bunch of nifty ways. CH1 is available now for iPhone; download Cleveland Historical, it’s free.

Actually, the app is only a small part of our story–the digital in the humanities. As we’ve developed the project, we’re exploring the dynamic process of digital (his)storytelling in mobile environments. For almost a decade now, we’ve fancied our work (oral histories, web exhibits, community festivals, and street-based kiosks) as exploring the dynamic ways urban historians can curate cities. What we’ve discovered in mobile is an entirely different dimensionality, one that is hard to comprehend if you’re *not* mobile, and, not so surprisingly, most of us aren’t when we’re exploring mobile sites. But, I digress

CH2 (version 2) is imminently available (perhaps full iPhone version for conference and beta Android release) for iPhone and Android, will have social networking functionality, and enhanced tours, as well as a lovely companion website.

If you have an Android phone, by the way, and want to see the Android alpha at work, it is pretty robust, though the design elements aren’t fully in place, let me know. I will happily email it to you.

Cleveland Historical is the first instance of a broader vision, that we’re calling Mobile Historical. (Nobody has yet talked me out of that name just yet, though our design firm is testing alternatives, I’m told (and those CHNMers have cornered the Swahili market.))  We’re moving toward an open-source and/or hosted version of Mobile Historical for the fall and are working with some professional communities (scholars and museums) interested in beta testing and helping us work out the kinks.

THATCamp offers a great place to get some really sharp insights about the marketplace of needs and uses.  Also a great chance to talk about some of the intellectual challenges we’re facing in other projects at the intersection of Public History + Digital Humanities, which I will write under a different post.

At the moment, I am contemplating pulling some images off of Panoramio, taping myself asking questions, and building a quick interpretive (or more like multimedia question) walk of Pensacola, perhaps as a demo of how easy Mobile Historical will be for students and communities.

The challenge, it turns out, is both the technology and the conceptual reframing of public history in mobile spaces.

EDIT: So, as my own way of testing, I quickly added a couple narratives (too rough to be stories, more like a historical invasion) about Plaza Ferdinand and St. Michael’s Cemetery. If someone was up to it, we could take our phones and head out into the city and encounter some landscapes, take photos, and record ourselves–and create a couple new sites, thus curating together??? Very much an unconferency thing to do!