Archive for March, 2011

An online public history portal

I’ve got a million and one things to do before the conference, so I hope you’ll forgive me for keeping this short and sweet!

I’m interested in talking about how we can create a sustainable and accessible online community site for public historians to gather and share resources and to discuss public history practice. In this session I’d like to: 1. Figure out if there is broader interest in this idea, 2. Discuss out what platforms would work best to foster that community and allow for wide participation (a group blog? a wiki? something else entirely?), and most importantly 3. Discuss how we might get this off the ground and make it sustainable. I’m looking forward to having some great discussions with you all on Wednesday!

History disasters

Recently we’ve seen number of natural disasters with heritage casualties as well as human ones, but it’s been hard to find and keep up with information about what’s happened and how we might help.  And when history organizations face a disaster, how can we best get the word out about what’s happening and what help we need? Let’s talk about how better to gather and share public history institution disaster info.

What Anne said

My half-formed idea is very similar to Anne Whisnant’s (not surprising, as we’re working on similar road-related projects!).  I’d love to find a way to create a good, clear online map of the whole 140-mile length of Route 2 in Massachusetts, with the potential for adding either a layer or layers for historic maps or just snippets from those.  I’m trying to develop a methodology for studying a highway ethnographically (trickier than it sounds) and would like to have this online venue as a kind of “place” that people can go to spark memories and stories of their own as part of my interviewing process, with materials from those interviews and archival research eventually feeding back into the map.  I have no idea how to accomplish this!  I’ve been thinking of using Prezi as a starting-place, since that will give me a basis for making discrete presentations from this data as I’m building it (and since I really like Prezi).  But I’m not sure how to integrate that with a basic (and loooong) map.  Looking forward to exploring this and other ideas with you all next week!

Getting to know you!

NCPH THATCampers: Please note the participants tab at the upper right of the page–this is a great way to get to know one another a bit before next Wednesday. If you haven’t already done so, please update your profile information when you log in to the site.

To add your picture, it’s necessary to sign up for and upload a picture, which will link to this site via the email address associated with your THATCamp participation. (By the way, “gravatar” creates a Globally Recognized Avatar that’s useful for other online activities).


Website Interfaces with ContentDM

We are working on creating a digital collection of art and material culture images related to Tennessee during the Civil War–housed in ContentDM, the collection will be used on a website organized by theme.   The developers are working on the best way to make these two things work together and considering using WordPress or  other existing website template.  We want to make sure that users can go from website into ContentDM database to browse it as any researcher would want to do. Would be interested to discuss ideas around working with digital humanities content library-type collections to make them user-friendly and interactive on the front end through a website interface.



Susan W. Knowles, PhD Candidate in Public History, Middle Tennessee State University

iPhone app

HI all,

I’m also interested in learning about how to create an iPhone app. Next year, my graduate students will be creating one for 17 historic sites and museums related to War of 1812, as part of the 4 years of commemoration of the 200th anniversary.

Mad skills?

Does anyone want to do a quick training session/features tour at our THATCamp? Omeka? Wikis? Podcasts? I could use some advice on downloading and using Ubuntu alongside Windows. For more ideas, see


Breaking With Tradition

I work for a state-run grant fund in Colorado.  We fund development of a lot of traditional interpretive materials such as signs, brochures, and booklets.  Lately we have seen increasing numbers of funding requests for interpretive projects utilizing newer technology.  I’m hoping that through all of your projects and experience I can learn more about what is new, what has been working well, and what has not worked so well.  I would also appreciate information on start-up, implementation, and even marketing strategies.  Looking forward to meeting you all and hearing about your exciting work.

Creating a flexible geospatial interface for Blue Ridge Parkway project

Hi everyone,

In 2009, a team of us at UNC-Chapel Hill got a grant to develop “Driving Through Time: The Digital Blue Ridge Parkway in North  Carolina,” an extensive web archive that will bring together primary source materials and interpretive essays related to the  history of the Blue Ridge Parkway.  We are to launch the site this summer.

One of the features of the database that underlies our site is that, as nearly as possible, everything presented is geo-tagged, or given a location in space as well as time.  Additionally, many of the materials we have are actually historical maps, which are being “geo-referenced” (overlaid on a present landscape).

In my dreams, I had also hoped that we’d be able to develop a dynamic main interface for the site that would be map-based.  Although we *are* going to have a map-based browse feature that will allow content to be discovered based on the location it pertains to, the geospatial dimension of our project is going to be more limited than I had hoped, due to limited funding and programming capacities at present.  Yet, I have envisioned in my own mind how my *ideal* would look.  The ideal would combine a current map of the Blue Ridge Parkway with some dynamic features that would communicate a few basic tidbits about the Parkway’s past, including pace of construction, that would be relevant to the materials being presented.

I’d like to put my ideal out there for folks to look at and help me imagine how and whether it might eventually be done.  I have ventured some in the past into the use of Google’s various tools and think they offer a lot of promise here, but don’t know enough really to propose specifically what we might do — or how.

I’m uploading an image (PDF, linked below) of my hand-drawn mockup as a basis for discussion. Look forward to meeting everyone!


Anne Whisnant



Please submit your ideas for THATCamp NCPH!

As of today, 12 of 45 participants have posted ideas for THATCamp NCPH. We’ve got some good momentum going . . . let’s keep it up! We need to hear something from all of you to make this event a success. Take a peek at the existing posts and then log in and post your own.

To create a post, complete the following steps:

1. log into the site with your username and password.  The login link is listed on the lower right of the screen in the META section, which is below the twitter feed.

2. once logged in, click on the Posts link on the left side of the screen

3. select the Add New button to create a new post

4. give your post a title (related to your interests) as well as a detailed description of your topic in the text box

5. make sure to select the \”Topics\” box in the categories menu on the right side of the screen.  This will allow users to see only the topics others post when they select the topics link on the website.

6. after you finish your post and select the topics box, preview your post and, once satisfied, select the publish button.  This will make your post live for others to see.  Posts appear on the homepage of THATCamp NCPH 2011.



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