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Please evaluate THATCamp NCPH

Hi all,

Amanda French here, THATCamp Coordinator at the Center for History and New Media. Hope THATCamp NCPH was useful and fun for you. If you could, we’d appreciate it if you could take a minute and fill out an evaluation for THATCamp NCPH, even if you only do the two required fields: which THATCamp you went to and how highly you rate it on a 5-point scale. Everything else is optional.

Thanks, and have a great, educational, collegial time at the rest of the NCPH meeting.

Session on “Experts” and The Crowd

Session on “Experts” and the Crowd
Random notes (lightly edited) by Anne Whisnant
Some key issues:
  • Public/user participation in creating/tagging content for digital exhibits
  • Public/user contribution of content to digital history sites
  • Issue of an institution’s reputation for expertise, the public’s desire that things be “right,” and how it would look if “wrong” materials were posted by “crowd”?
  • Ways to make transparent the contributions from the “crowd” vs those of “experts”?
  • How to manage the public interactional components of public history work:  responding, moderating, etc.  Very time/labor intensive.  Institutions need to be responsive for this to work.
  • Use of outside sites like Flickr for public to post things sometimes works better.
  • Copyright/rights issues unresolved.
  • Pedagogy/student involvement in creating content for digital projects and how to deal with erroneous material that gets introduced.
  • Why are we encouraging/worrying about public involvement?  What is our purpose?
  • Has Wikipedia solved some of these issues of authority/documentation?  But most Wikipedia editors are men; line has leveled off; little scholarly input.
  • How to set things up for student input that “asks the right questions” and gives clear instructions and training/web interface setup to “stop” them when entering erroneous metadata.
  • Issues of process AND product are intertwined.  Need discussion on the process, thoughtful consideration of workflow and embedding “teachable” moments into it so that student/public participants learn something about history, and the process of doing history, while contributing.
  • Public also often interested in accuracy of data and facts, too.
  • What conversation is going on in libraries about all of this fluidity and participatory content co-creation? Movement of “radical librarians” pertinent to this.
  • How to bring in older/less digitally fluent populations into this participation?
  • How to take what we as “experts”  bring and connect it to people.
  • Transparency needed; being able to say here is what we are struggling with; let people see the struggles you are dealing with.  Our ability to moderate the process is critical.
  • Wd be great to have librarians, public historians, anthropologists (who think a lot about how communities work) talking to each other more.
  • Are librarians public historians?  Do they think of themselves this way?
  • Is digital history really public history?  Sometimes public history grad students don’t recognize digital history as public history!
Some Resources Mentioned:

Mobile Computing

Here are some of the things we discussed. I added links where possible.


  • Creating an iOS or Android App probably costs around $35K

Are there any grants out there that are specifically aimed at mobile?

  • Some states – Virginia has done this – tourist bureau (visiting Virginia).
  • Heritage tourism

What are the Platforms out there:

  • Websites optimized for mobile
  • Mobile Apps versus Web Apps
  • HTML5 is the next big thing
  • Think about iPad/Tablets – Flipboard as an example on the iPad
  • Museums with under 50,000 visitors typically won’t have a mobile app
  • Museums Mobile group has some data on museums who have created links to mobile museum apps and consultants
  • Twitter #mtogo




  • Difficult to get licenses for images – especially art.
  • Closed app might be best platform for purchased use licenses – a one-time use licence is possible

Interpretations and Interactivity

  • Don’t miss out on an opportunity – don’t just replicate an analogue idea – i.e. more text
  • Ask new questions – maybe from the perspective of outside the museum – what do you see?
  • Mobile platform forces designers to think more about interpretation – single objects
  • Mobile Apps can help create a three step process for visiting a museum – pre-visit planning, interactive experience at the museum, and follow up on interests



GIS Data – Recycling for new use

Content Creation

Non-Location specific mobile apps

  • Louvre app as an example
  • Draw could be in education – limits access – not the entire web.

Why Mobile?

  • Demographics skewed toward poorer populations (US and Worldwide – see Nielson statistics)
  • Pew Foundation – Gardner Research both have statistics
  • iPad – these are different. There might be even greater potential for the iPad – has better functionality for interpretation and in-depth learning.


  • scvngr – scavenger hunts that could be created with historical topics.

Favorite Apps?


Session Notes & Links: Maps and Geospatial Representations

Topics for discussion:

  • Why Maps
  • Mobile
  • Maps without GIS knowledge
  • Free
  • Google Earth
  • Historical Layers
  • interpretation
  • User interface – plot archives in space and time

Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage- shift of synagogues in Cleveland over time. Not online, in the museum– Explore the City of Neighborhoods through maps, stories, photographs, and documents, and share the story of your PhilaPlace.– The Atlas of Early Printing is an interactive map designed to be used as a tool for teaching the early history of printing in Europe during the second half

Redlining in Philadelphia– iPhone app geolocation recording/oral history– historical layers of historic cities where the map is the interpretive tool Quantum GIS- freeware program – Mapping the Brew City– Commercials GIS software ArcGIS– orthographic map viewer– repository of rectified historic maps with current maps – Arcade Fire video that has customized video based on an address you enter and pulling data from Google maps– Google Earth tour– gigapixel images mashed-up with mapping– laser mapping of world heritage sites

Technologies For Interpretations

Quick Notes and Links

Questions we ask:

How do we engage a public?  Do we blog? Tweet? How do we get people involved effectively?

How doe we work with competing narratives?

How do we destabilize historical narratives? Deconstructing as we go?

How do we connect with the public to get their feedback, stories, objects/artifacts?

How do we properly gauge interest?

Who maintains a project when it’s finally created?

Classroom publics vs. scholarly publics – How do we address both of these groups?

Proper annotation for these sites? How do  we annotate for the public, “double documentation”?


Projects to check out:

IBM Prject: Many Eyes

Wordle – Aggregation of words.  How are they rhetorically constructed?


Many Stories 1704 – Deerfield

A House Divided

Valley of the Shadow– designed for blogging/ content management

1968 Exhibit @ Minnesota Historical Society

9/11 Digital Archive

Living On – Oral History Project

Baltimore ’68: Riots and Rebirth


Layar – Geo-referenced; like “Google Goggles” can actually see things and give you information for what’s around you.

Locacious – brings the complete experience of taking – and creating – audio tours to the iPhone and iPod Touch in a fully featured and travel-friendly package.

Nielsen Study on smartphone ownership – Not what we may have thought about accessibility?

Gettysburg Museum

European NAvigator

Last-minute Miscellany

(This is Marla, via Cathy) I’m mainly looking to learn what’s happening out there in terms of interpretive technologies — QR tags, on-the-fly walking tours, apps that seem look promising, etc. Also, I’m involved in the Digital History Lab at the Berkshire Conference on the History of Women in June, and would like to learn of any innovative projects in women’s history out there.

Looking for female roommate for Tuesday

Hi all,

I hope it’s appropriate to post this here – my conference roommate and I have just realized that we got a day out of sync with our hotel room planning, and I find myself needing to figure out accommodation for Tuesday night, when I’ll be arriving late.  I can extend my existing booking at the Crowne Plaza for that night, but would prefer to split the cost if I can.  Are there any other female THATCampers who would like to share a room that night?  Alternatively, is there anyone who already has a room but would like to share the cost for one night?

If so, please email me at cstanton[at]  Thanks!

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!

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