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.

Solvathon – managing digital work (and is there any other kind anymore?)

Hello, all. I have to admit that I’m coming to THATCamp NCPH without a particular project in mind. I’m really interested to hear what others are working on, and the challenges they face, even though I think I may be taking more from the meeting than I can contribute. But I’m hoping to have a conversation at some point about how people manage their digital work:  how do you take notes and remember where you found things? How do you create or structure the personal library or archive that you amass? And do you do anything differently when you have to share your digital “collection” with other people and work collaboratively? To use some non-academic terminology, I’m interested in the best practices for knowledge management of personal research materials, and knowledge management for a relatively small group (under 100 people). Looking forward to Wednesday!



Omeka help

I posted earlier about iPhone apps, but having just met with my students today about Omeka, wouldn’t mind some assistance with it too!

Bringing Oral Histories to Life

This abbreviated project abstract is from our newest participant, Jeanne Kessler of the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. She hopes to discuss the project and/or some of its accessibility issues on Wednesday.

Bringing Oral Histories to Life – Unlocking the Power of the Spoken Word

The National World War II Museum (NWWIIM) is leading a project with National History Day (NHD) to design and implement a methodology enabling video oral histories to be accessed and explored in innovative ways. Content will be made available to a wider audience, who will have the ability to participate in describing and referencing oral histories in a manner not currently possible.

Conventionally, video oral histories have been organized and accessed via unit-level metadata focused on finding an individual interview within a collection. This is equivalent to having access to a book, but not an index of the passages where particular themes or topics are discussed. In oral history collection management, there has been little sub-unit access to content within and across interviews. Additionally, cumbersome large unit auditing is time consuming, resulting in the major underutilization of oral histories. Digitization and new tools make media access possible, but the absence of clear models and approaches has been a major obstacle to wider use of oral history collections. The challenge is less technological than intellectual and conceptual.

In a 3-year project, beginning in October, 2009, the NWWIIM is addressing accessibility issues by:

  • Segmenting 200 digitized oral histories from World War II veterans and indexing each segment using a descriptive vocabulary. This will enable access within and across interviews, which is critical for thematic exploration of oral history collections.
  • Users can access the histories in a flexible environment where exploration, tagging and annotating can be performed.  Users will be able to view and retrieve oral history segments by searching on ‘factual’ descriptors such as “D-Day” or querying thematic/abstract concepts such as “courage” or “weather”. User-added tags applied to segments will add personal meaning to the interview. This provides an interaction not currently available, and broadens search options when exploring oral history collections.
  • By synthesizing professional and user-driven vocabularies, the project will consolidate what has been learned by using each method, to produce a working model of broad relevance and utility. Beyond its significance for World War II collections, the project will provide guidelines and models enabling greater accessibility and interactivity to other oral history collections.



3D virtual models for research, management, and interpretation

I am interested in creating a 3D virtual model of a Civil War fort using ArcGIS v.10 and would like to explore the feasibilty of my ideas with those who have done similar modeling and expand on the scope of uses I see for this product.   The Union fort I’m working with, Nashville’s Fort Negley, is the largest inland masonry fort built during the Civil War.   The fort has three tiers, and my dream is to create a digital 3D representation of the structure to keep all the spatially-referenced information about the fort in one place including existing condition photos, repair records, archaeological excavations, and modifications to the site. When more spatially referenced data is obtained from the site, perhaps from geophysical prospection or more historic photos, I think a GIS would be the appropriate archive for storing and layering the information. I also want to recreate the 1864 engineering drawing of the fort that has relative elevations as a 3D object and compare it to a recent civil survey of the site, if that’s possible.  The reason for doing this is that the WPA reconstructed the fort in the 1930s to make a park, and we do not know where the original footprint of the fort lies.  The WPA records were lost, and the archaeology conducted at the site has not been able to answer this question. I can get LIDAR data for the site from the city and have seen it used to find entrenchments, but I’ve never worked with it and don’t know its limitations or if there is something better. The model I’m dreaming of would help interpret the site better while also being its “digital corporate memory.” Could this also be the base for building a virtual representation of the fort that could be explored online?  I should mention that the fort is owned by the city and is operated as a historical park. The park department’s budget is stressed, and their goal is keeping the park open.  For me, this project is for my research to develop the construction history of the fortification.

Thanks for reading!  Zada Law, Middle Tennessee State University

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