Thursday, 7 June 2012

Historypin and Step change: Collections in Context

The not-for-profit behavior change agency We Are What We Do is known for creating simple yet compelling tools that encourage people to change their behavior in small ways that amount to big impacts in areas like waste reduction, childhood obesity, social isolation, etc.

Historypin is a project we created together with Google and several cultural memory institutions to help bridge the gap between cultures and generations and help rebuild and strengthen ties within communities. We created simple tools that could be used by individuals, schools, communities, and institutions to create a shared view of the layers of history that make up a community.

It's been nearly a year since the official launch of Historypin and we've experienced tremendous growth, with hundreds of cultural heritage institutions adding content and creating Channels, and tens of thousands of individual users joining the site and adding their own content.  It's in this growth that we've started to realize the potential for academic research of the blending of multiple collections, and the opportunity to incorporate other sources of content in more automated ways.  We've just begun to scratch the surface of what will be possible in years to come.

Our role in the Step change project is to explore options for incorporating AIM25 collection holdings into the geographic landscape of scores of historical photos and audio/video recordings; and to assist researchers, scholars, and the general public in the discovery and contextualization of these holdings.

In the coming weeks, we'll explore some of the user interface prototypes we're testing and document the challenges and successes we meet along the way.

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