We’d Like to Hear From You: Teachers Using Historypin

Krista White, Digital Humanities Librarian and Head of Media Services at the John Cotton Dana Library at Rutgers University, leading a Historypin workshop for teachers on July 15th. Source: Twitter

Krista White, Digital Humanities Librarian and Head of Media Services at the John Cotton Dana Library at Rutgers University, leading a Historypin workshop for teachers on July 15th. Source: Twitter

I recently had the pleasure of hearing from Mary Grace Wheelan (New Jersey Council for the Humanities (NJCH)) and Krista White (Rutgers University Libraries), who helped put together a Historypin training workshop for teachers at Rutgers’ Price Institute this past July. The workshop, part of a NJCH teacher development series called “Making Local History Matter,” introduced Historypin amongst a variety of digital tools to aid students in becoming community historians. Mary Grace and Krista had some really good feedback, not only about their experiences running the workshop but first-hand experiences from teachers on using Historypin. Some examples:

  • Mary Grace stressed the importance of showing and not just telling during a workshop. “You need to let people practice.”
  • Prep work always helps (and we second this!): They asked teachers to bring in one photograph of a place in their neighborhood beforehand so they had something to pin during the workshop. They also thought about the staff they would need to assist teachers during the session, and ended up enlisting two aids based upon how many people signed up.
  • File management: Krista and Mary Grace brought up that many teachers did not immediately think of file management when going in to use Historypin. They suggested Google Drive as an option for administering their projects, where teachers can have students initially submit photos plus the accompanying information via a simple Google Form. Analog forms are also an option, examples of which we have on our schools page.
  • Speaking of Google tools: They also pointed out that you shouldn’t assume that all teachers are familiar with Google tools (some of the teachers in the workshop were not), and have a way of gauging this either before or at the beginning of the workshop so no one gets left behind.

This is a sample of some of their useful feedback, and we want to hear from you too. Do any teachers have tips on running Historypin workshops? What works for you and what doesn’t? Do you as a teacher have particular concerns over using Historypin with your students? 

Leave your comments here or via our Twitter or Facebook pages. Your feedback is extremely valuable as we continue to develop our tools and projects!

Launching Our San Francisco World’s Fair Project on Liberty Bell Day

Rose Marie Cleese displays a handful of old photos and with the help of Kerri Young of Historypin scans the historic pictures at a workstation on the main floor of the California Historical Society Friday, July 17, 2015. Photo by Mike Koozmin, S.F. Examiner.

Rose Marie Cleese displays a handful of old photos and with the help of Kerri Young of Historypin scans the historic pictures at a workstation on the main floor of the California Historical Society Friday, July 17, 2015. Photo by Mike Koozmin, S.F. Examiner.

On July 17th, our US team collaborated in a public launch of Historypin’s new 1915 San Francisco World’s Fair mapping project with the California Historical Society (CHS), on the 100th anniversary of the iconic Liberty Bell arriving at the fair. The Liberty Bell, an American icon and symbol of independence, traveled over 3,000 miles by rail from its home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania after hundreds of thousands of school children signed a petition to get the bell to San Francisco’s Panama Pacific International Exposition (PPIE). In CHS’s gallery festively-decorated with paper bells, Community Officer Kerri Young helped Rose Marie Cleese, the granddaughter of San Francisco’s former Mayor Angelo Rossi (1931-44), scan never-before-seen family photographs into our new digital project.

At the time of the fair, Rossi was a florist who helped design and build the ornate float that carried the Liberty Bell from San Francisco’s Townsend Street rail station to the fairgrounds in what is now the city’s Marina district. Rose Marie contributed photographs of the float on its procession, as well as of her grandparents and mother posing with the Bell in its temporary home in the fair’s Pennsylvania Building. Remarkably, Historypin contributor Lynn Sons was able to identify her own grandfather, who was a member of the Liberty Bell Honor Guard at the fair, in one of the photos that Rose Marie contributed, and we were able to connect the two of them in this piece of shared history.

The Liberty Bell sub-project is a great example of the collaborative archiving we hope to encourage around the PPIE, with institutions such as the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and The San Francisco Public Library contributing along with individuals like Rose Marie and Lynn Sons. We hope that many others will be inspired to contribute their family photographs and help enrich the 2000+ existing pins in the project as we continue to celebrate this special centenary year.

Here are a few photographs of our fun day scanning and pinning:

Scanning station set-up in the California Historical Society with Rose Marie's photographs.

Scanning station set-up in the California Historical Society with Rose Marie’s photographs.

A sample of some of the family photographs brought in by Rose Marie for scanning.

A sample of some of the family photographs brought in by Rose Marie for scanning.

A screenshot one of Rose Marie's photographs in Historypin's Mapping San Francisco's 1915 World's Fair. Angelo Joseph Rossi family clustered around the Liberty Bell. From left to right: Grace Rossi, son Clarence Rossi, daughter Eleanor Rossi, daughter Rosamond Rossi, Angelo J. Rossi.

A screenshot one of Rose Marie’s photographs in Historypin’s Mapping San Francisco’s 1915 World’s Fair. Angelo Joseph Rossi family clustered around the Liberty Bell. From left to right: Grace Rossi, son Clarence Rossi, daughter Eleanor Rossi, daughter Rosamond Rossi, Angelo J. Rossi.

Local news channel ABC 7 interviewing Rose Marie about her photos as eminent SF Chronicle writer Carl Nolte jots down some notes.

Local news channel ABC 7 interviewing Rose Marie about her photos as eminent SF Chronicle writer Carl Nolte jots down some notes.

Showing Rose Marie photos of her grandfather's floral company Pelicano, Rossi & Co. displaying at the fair in photos contributed by UC Davis Libraries. Rose Marie had never seen these previously and was very excited to see that they had been contributed to the project.

Showing Rose Marie photos of her grandfather’s floral company Pelicano, Rossi & Co. displaying at the fair in photos contributed by UC Davis Libraries. Rose Marie had never seen these previously and was very excited to see that they had been contributed to the project!

The Liberty Bell being paraded up San Francisco's Van Ness Ave in July 1915 on the float designed by Rossi. In the foreground is James J. Quirk, identified by his granddaughter Lynn Sons.

The Liberty Bell being paraded up San Francisco’s Van Ness Ave in July 1915 on the float designed by Rossi. In the foreground is James J. Quirk, identified by his granddaughter Lynn Sons.

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Three generations of the Rossi family: Rose Marie poses with her nephew Ron Forsell and grandchildren Grace and Matt, while holding a photo of her own mother and grandfather at the PPIE.

See some great local media coverage of this event here and here, and add your own photos or comments about the fair by visiting the project page here.

A New Case-Study Document: Historypin in the Community

Cover page of our new pdf, "Historypin in the Community," which you can read online.

Cover page of our new pdf, “Historypin in the Community,” which you can read online.

In the last couple of years, we’ve seen Historypin used to connect generations in Japan, to draw in rich life stories in Australia and even to inspire a mural in East London. These sorts of projects are at the core of our mission to build better local social connections through a shared sense of place and history.

We worked together with our wonderful partners in the UK to create a document highlighting some of these projects over the past two years, with each case study giving you a brief glimpse of the people behind these projects and what they’ve achieved. As we continue to develop our community tools and articulate our mission, this document provides examples of how our experiences on projects helps to both compliment and improve this work.

An example of a case study within "Historypin in the Community."

An example of a case study within “Historypin in the Community.”

We are certainly proud of all the different ways communities all over the world are using Historypin tools. If you have ideas for a project using Historypin in your local area, please contact our Executive Director Breandán at breandan.knowlton@historypin.org.

Read the full Historypin in the Community document here.

Historypin and LODLAM

I’m excited to have a chance to facilitate the 3rd International Linked Open Data in Library, Archives & Museums Summit (LODLAM) in Sydney 29-30 June, 2015. As part of it, I want to debut a sneak peek into some linked data work our team is doing together with Europeana.

The idea is to address the challenge of “roundtripping of data,” when projects like Historypin are able to provide community enrichment to institutional collections and institutions can in turn ingest those enrichments and comments.  A lot of this is looking at using Linked Data to improve upon or provide an alternative to OAI-PMH, which is more in tune with methods that can be used by web developers at large.

In our case, we have created an API to allow access to annotations on our site (other APIs in the works), and we’ve utilized Open Annotation and JSONLD to make this available to Europeana to harvest and ingest back into their records.

1. users annotate or enrich the records

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2. this data is expressed using OA and JSON-LD

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3. Europeana has created a query tool which will not just be for us eventually, in which they request annotations within a certain time window.

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This shows the source, and then the transformation which maps it to the Europeana Data Model, and finally a response from the query about whether or not this has been written to Europeana.

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Historypin News Round-up, Social Media Edition

A pilot group at Florida State University on June 18th exploring Historypin as at tool to map out historic FSU photos. Photo by Micah Vandegrift via Twitter.

A pilot group at Florida State University on June 18th exploring Historypin as at tool to map out historic FSU photos. The university’s library (and Digital Scholarship group) is embarking on a pilot project, using our site, to help more-widely circulate its digital collections. Photo by Micah Vandegrift via Twitter (click for original).

Here is a late-June roundup of some of the great ways people have been using Historypin recently and sharing it with us over social media:

New York City preservationists have just won additional funding to help map places in the city important to the LGBTQ community on Historypin.

The New York LGBTQ Historic Sites Project, led by Jay Shockley, has received funding from the New York Community Trust and the Arcus Foundation to map out sites with potential national landmark status. Allison Miller (@Cliopticon), shared in her American Historical Association blog post how the project work over Historypin will take this a step further “by collaborating with academic historians and archivists (who will provide layers of “context” for each site) and, in a subsequent phase, LGBTQ community members themselves (who will crowdsource layers of the map with documents from their personal archives, such as photographs and letters).”

Some early precedents: A Google map that stems from a NYC LGBTQ walking tour made in 1994 by the Organization of Lesbian + Gay Architects and Designers (OLGAD), of which Jay Shockley helped to coordinate. Shockley is now a staff member at the New York City Landmark Preservation Commission.

Some early precedents: A Google map that stems from a NYC LGBTQ walking tour made in 1994 by the Organization of Lesbian + Gay Architects and Designers (OLGAD), of which Jay Shockley helped to coordinate. Shockley is now a staff member at the New York City Landmark Preservation Commission.

Miller also points out that this project follows on the heels of a similar initiative happening in California for LGBTQ sites, Historypin project California Pride.

Read Miller’s post and learn more about the NYC project here.

Public History graduate students at American University in Washington D.C. are sharing how they are using Historypin in the context of their studies.

Alexandra Erichson shared in her blog post “Inconvenient Camels” the experience of using Historypin for a class assignment. In particular, she talks about the experience of utilizing our Street View feature, while pinning images from both the British Museum and Metropolitan Museum of Art of early 20th century Egypt. Read Alexandra’s post here.

Problems that only those who do Street View overlays understand: Sometimes, things block your perfect overlay, and in Alexandra's case, a camel!

Problems that only those who do Street View overlays understand: Sometimes, things block your perfect overlay, and in Alexandra’s case, a camel!

Sydney Johnson, another student of Public History at AU, also writes about her experiences of using Historypin for the first time, and explores how adding “space” into the the process of content curation and sharing brings “a deeper connection with the material being presented.” She created the Tour “Freedom Summer,” as an opportunity to help memorialize sites important to minority experiences.

Read Sydney’s blog post here.
Sydney's "Freedom Summer" Tour on Historypin.

Sydney’s “Freedom Summer” Tour on Historypin.

A local San Francisco Bay Area archive and a museum took a #PINOFTHEDAY as opportunity to reflect on an important WWII event.

Our recent #PINOFTHDAY came from the collection of UC Berkeley’s Bancroft Library, who are sharing new content on our site ahead of the Rare Books & Manuscripts Conference in Oakland and Berkeley at the end of this month. The WWII-era image, a photo by famed photographer Dorothea Lange, depicts those of Japanese descent on the sidewalk about to travel to internment camps across California. The photo, taken of what is now the site of the Oakland Museum of California, prompted the museum to share a reflective post with their followers, copied below.

Our June 15th #PINOFTHEDAY from the Bancroft Library. Click the image to read see the Oakland Museum's post/discussion on Facebook.

Our June 15th #PINOFTHEDAY from the Bancroft Library. Click the image to read see the Oakland Museum’s post/discussion on Facebook.

Layering the past and the present in a whole new way…

Historypin is a web platform where historians, community members, and everyday people from around the world can share the history of places that matter to them. As the “Museum of the People”, the location of the Oakland Museum of California holds a special place in the hearts of many communities… but it wasn’t always that way. Yesterday’s Pin of the Day on HistoryPin came from The Bancroft Library showed a photo taken in 1942 by Dorothea Lange at 1118 Oak Street, where Japanese Americans were gathered for their forcible removal during World War II. The site of this painful event would later become the location for the Museum.

This photo has us thinking about all the ways in history has touched the places where we now live, work, and play. What’s a meaningful place to you that has been touched by history in a significant way? ‪#‎MuseumofUs‬‪#‎OMCA‬ ‪#‎Internment‬ ‪#‎history‬ ‪#‎map‬ ‪#‎pinoftheday‬

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We’re having fun hearing from many more folks around the world using Historypin to share the history of places. If you have a project that you’re working on that you’d like us to feature in one of these posts, email me at kerri.young@historypin.org

Recap: California Pride Pinning Workshop in San Francisco

The Lexington Club Archival Project, preserving the memories of an iconic lesbian bar in San Francsico, presenting their work. The lovely California Historical Society served as our venue for the night.

Lauren Tabak of the Lexington Club Archival Project, presenting on how they are working to preserve the memories of San Francisco’s iconic lesbian bar. The lovely California Historical Society (a partner on the project) served as our venue for the night.

Last night, we held the first workshop for California Pride, a new project to map out important LGBTQ places and stories in the state of California. With collaborators the Lexington Club Archival ProjectGLBT Historical Society, and Bay Area Lesbian History Archives Project on hand, the aim of night was to introduce attendees to the project on Historypin and facilitate a story-collecting session focusing on LGBTQ places in California meaningful to them. We called it a “pinning party” and it was certainly a lot of fun! Our friends at the California Historical Society (CHS), a partner on the project, were kind enough to host the event in their exhibition space in downtown San Francisco, and helped us organize the event along with California Pride power co-founders Donna Graves and Shayne Watson.

After great introductions from CHS, the Lexington Project, Shayne, and Donna, we broke into smaller groups for our story-collecting session. Thanks to outreach from Donna and Shayne, we had over 7 fantastic volunteers including students from UC Berkeley and friends from SF Heritage and the National Park Service. Each volunteer helped to facilitate conversations in each group and the filling-out of story sheets we created for the night; these sheets asked for information specific to pinning on Historypin such as location and date, and stories shared will either contribute to a new pin or help enrich an existing pin in the project.

A highlight of the night was the end of the event, where Donna invited volunteers and participants to come up to the mic and share a story heard or told as part of their individual groups. This was a great way to tie-together the session, and an opportunity for the entire room to share in some of the stories collected throughout the night. Overall, this was a fantastic event that helped bring together those in the local community both actively preserving and interested in preserving LGBTQ history, while introducing how participants could continue sharing their stories on Historypin. Hopefully this is first of many, we’ve already received interest from Sacramento and Los Angeles. Thanks to all who helped organize!

(right) a partial view of the story sheet that we distributed for the event, and (left) a very blurry photo of an attendee holding one.

(right) a partial view of the story sheet that we distributed for the event, and (left) a (unfortunately) blurry photo of an attendee holding one!

Lenn Keller poses with a board of memories she brought in as part of the Bay Area Lesbian History Archives Project.

Lenn Keller poses with a board of memories she brought in as part of the Bay Area Lesbian History Archives Project. Photo credit Matthew S. Bajko.

Attendee Moses Corrette posing with his pin on Historypin after we recorded his story about the house where the "guerilla bar movement" was formed, where members of the LGBTQ community would meet once-a-month and pick out non-queer bars in which to gather and hang out.

Moses Corrette posing with his pin on Historypin after we recorded his story about the house where the “guerilla bar movement” was formed, where members of the LGBTQ community would meet once-a-month and pick out non-queer bars in which to gather and hang out. Though not planned for the night, I managed to live-pin Moses’ story with my laptop, and we were even able to do some quick-fire research on places to help jog some memories.

Attendee Doug shares a raucous story of reclaiming Halloween for the LGBTQ community in San Francisco's Castro district.

Attendee Drew shares a funny and powerful story of reclaiming Halloween for the LGBTQ community in San Francisco’s Castro district.

Posing with my fantastic story-group members (from left) Xan, Patricia, and Zoe, who shared wonderful stories of their LGBTQ activism in the last few decades, not only in California but around the country. I felt lucky to be able to spend time with these fantastic women and to help record some of their stories onto Historypin.

Posing with my fantastic story-group members (from left) Xan, Patricia, and Zoe, who shared wonderful stories of their LGBTQ activism in the last few decades, not only in California but around the country. I felt lucky to be able to spend time with these fantastic women and to help record some of their stories onto Historypin.

Posing with the night's great organizers Shayne Watson (middle) and Donna Graves (right), who have taken years of work on San Francisco's Historic Context Statement for LGBTQ history to now a new project collaboration over Historypin to collecto stories from the wider CA LGBTQ community.

Posing with the night’s great organizers Shayne Watson (middle) and Donna Graves (right), who have taken years of work on San Francisco’s Historic Context Statement for LGBTQ history to now a new project collaboration over Historypin.

Community Archiving, Strategies for Engagement

We held a web seminar in October 2014 as a followup from our work with Natalie Milbrodt and the Queens Public Library around Queens: Neighborhood Stories. The project, funded by the Metropolitan New York Library Council, sought to explore possibilities for engagement through community archiving sessions at branch libraries. In addition to Natalie’s work throughout the project, we had great support from Anne Karle-Zenith and the team at METRO. They encouraged us to explore some of the lessons that could be shared with those taking on similar projects, which we were of course happy to do. The 6 videos running a total time of just over an hour are embedded below in a playlist, which you can also access here.

We’re continuing to build on these lessons and would love to hear from you as well. Please use the comments space below to share some of the things that have worked with you, or to ask questions of the team.

Love your local? Help create a crowdsourced history of London pubs

Pubs have historically played an important role in Britain’s local communities by providing meeting places, supporting formal and informal social networks and being a focal point for local events.

These unique pubs and their place as a vibrant centre of community life need to be documented and celebrated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re working with locals, landlords, staff and historians to create a shared history of great boozers in and around London. This includes gathering stories and photographs through collecting events in pubs as well as online crowdsourcing on the Pubs of London project page.

We’re looking at these 12 pubs below in particular. Do you have any stories, memories or photographs relating to any of these pubs? 

  1. Magpie and Stump, Old Bailey
  2. Old Eagle, Royal College Street, Camden
  3. Queen’s Head, Acton Street, King’s Cross
  4. The Hope, West Street, Carshalton, Surrey
  5. Duke’s Head, High Street, Highgate
  6. The Alma, Newington Green Road, Stoke Newington
  7. Red Lion and Sun, North Road, Highgate
  8. Antwerp Arms, Church Road, Tottenham
  9. Railway Tavern, Angel Lane, Stratford
  10. Victoria, Grove Road, Mile End
  11. Bell Inn, High Road, Horndon on the Hill
  12. The Newman Arms, Rathbone Street, Fitzrovia

Explore and upload material online

If you click the pub names, you will be taken to each pub’s project page within Pubs of London on Historypin.org, where you can see archival photos, explore other pub materials and add content to Historypin yourself by creating an account.

Pubs of London book

The material gathered at the collection events and online will flow into a book that celebrates the lasting legacy of these pubs. Beautiful archival photographs from the Charrington Brewery’s Surveyors Department are contrasted with specially commissioned photographs of the pubs as they are now. This will provide a backdrop for the rich social history contributed by the people who have connected with each pub through the decades.

The Pubs of London project is a partnership between Historypin and the National Brewery Heritage Trust. It is supported by the European Commission as part of Europeana Food and Drink.

For more information, please contact Lise on lise.denbrok@historypin.org

Making the Tough Decision to Pull our Mobile Apps

Historypin supports people who are passionate about using cultural heritage to bring communities together. From Australia to Zimbabwe, we’re proud to help people connect with heritage and engage with each other in new ways. As a non-profit, our central aim is to build the simplest, most effective digital tools which support community engagement and to use our resources where they have maximum impact, maintaining a small set of effective, specific tools rather than a large range that do too many things.

Since we launched, we’ve maintained both the historypin.org website and the Historypin mobile app for iOS and Android, enabling people to discover and share material when they’re at their desks or when they are out in the world. Like all software, our mobile app requires constant maintenance to keep it working well with the most current versions of phones and tablets. Sadly, our mobile app has fallen behind the times, and a few things aren’t working as well as we’d like, so we have a choice to make. We could put more resources into maintaining the app as it exists now, or we could focus on some new areas of the historypin.org web platform, including new features that will work much better on mobile devices, and then build on that platform work with some excellent new mobile app tools later on.

We have made the decision to remove the Historypin mobile app from the Apple and Google Play stores. If you already have the app, it will continue to work, but we will no longer be making updates. This decision allows us to better serve our community of heritage activists by building a range of specific digital products, rather than just a single app that mirrors the desktop experience.

The community engagement projects we run have given us excellent feedback from people using historypin.org and the app, and it is clear that more lightweight, targeted mobile applications are needed. We’re planning to develop specific applications that make it easier to do just one thing–things which help open, enrich and inspire people to collaborate around cultural heritage. Things like recording an oral history, digitising a photo in a community centre, following a heritage trail to discover a local story or taking a “repeat” modern photo of a historical scene.

In the past four years the mobile technology landscape has also transformed. More people are using a greater variety of devices and the technologies to deliver content directly through mobile browsers. We are therefore focusing our efforts on designing “mobile first” experiences and harnessing HTML5 so that historypin.org will work seamlessly on all tablet and mobile browsers. Some of our new projects, for example “Mapping the Panama-Pacific International Exposition” already reflect this thinking, and work quite well on mobile platforms.

We’d also love to hear from you. Let us know what kinds of things are important to you in apps or the mobile experience. Are there elements of apps that your institution would be willing to pay for, or are spending budget on with vendors already? Are there ways you’re using apps or mobile to engage with your community, or would want to? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Thank you very much to everyone who has used our app so far; your support and feedback has been hugely valuable, and we look forward to launching more Historypin products to support community archiving. If you’re interested in working with us on them – coding, funding, beta testing or beyond, please get in touch with Jon, Historypin Strategic Partnerships Director, at jon.voss@historypin.org.

Mapping Emotions in Victorian London

The project’s main map, showing “pins” of novel passages mapped out throughout London. Map overlay courtesy of the National Library of Scotland.

Mapping Emotions of Victorian London is an experiment that visualizes data about thousands of passages from 1400 Victorian novels, using crowdsourcing to ascribe emotional sentiment to them. We’re proud to launch this third and final project as part of a three year Andrew W. Mellon funded research grant with Stanford University’s Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis exploring the use and design of crowdsourcing to benefit academic research.

You can read more about the project from the Stanford scholars on their site, see our behind-the-scenes work over the last three years, read our paper from Museums and the Web 2015 (slides, paper), articles in the New York Times and FastCoDesign, and look out for two papers being presented at DH2015 in July.

Sevendials: The comments section of an example pin in the project, showing a reference card generated automatically with a Wikipedia url.

An example literary passage from the project. Its mapped location appears on the left, alongside pins for other passages about the same location.

 

You can search project tags to find passages by specific authors, as with this example search for “Dickens.”

 

A closer look at the metadata for a literary passage in the project (just click on the 'Pin Metadata' arrow to expand). Shown are tags attributed to each pin, with the options for members of the public to add more tags, and the pin’s copyright information. This includes the percentage of Mechanical Turk users who found this particular passage 'happy' versus 'fearful.'