Interview with Miles Dell, Historypin Assistant

Name Miles Dell

Job Title Historypin Content Assisstant

What’s your role on Historypin?
I moderate content as it goes onto the site and research archives and institutions that might be interested in working with us. I also take photographs for any community outreach work that Historypin does, as well as leading the modern photography aspect of Historypin- this includes taking modern replicas and liaising with other photographers. Soon I will also be a Historypinner in Residence at English Heritage to help organise their archives and get their content up on the site.

How did you come to hear of the project?

I had heard only a few things about the project before I became a part of the team. I was on the dole and was shown the details about the project as part of a Government scheme called the Future Jobs Fund, which creates jobs for 18-24 year olds. History and photography are both passions of mine, and the opportunity to combine the two on a project such as this was one that I jumped at.

Describe an average work day for you

I will come in and spend time in the morning going through recently uploaded content, adding keywords and checking that details are correct. When we were running a community project in Reading, I helped out with optimising the images for web use, sometimes digitising submissions we received. I also spend some time researching institutions we can work with, this involves looking through image libraries as well as contacting curators and library directors.

What is the oddest job you’ve been asked to do in the name of Historypin?
I have done a lot of photography for the site, but spending a couple of hours on Trafalgar Square shooting a photo every minute was fun.

What excites you the most about Historypin?
Seeing the amount of content that goes up everyday shows that we are building something which can become a great resource for future generations is very rewarding, though the stories that come in show that people are having an emotional response to our content, which shows that our original aim of creating this online community is coming to fruition.

Can you show us a photo you have personally pinned on Historypin?

Checkpoint Charlie, 19 August 1963, uploaded from Wikimedia Commons

What’s your favourite photo that has been pinned to the Historypin map and why?

Mulberry Street Scene, New York City, 1900

The image itself is amazing, a black and white image from the immigrant centre of New York, where colour has been added afterwards. There is so much going on the image and the colour makes it come to life. On top of this it fits so well with the Street View, because the architecture has changed so little in the last century.

What content would you like to see more of on Historypin?
I would like to see more content from the iconic photographers of the last hundred years, such as Cartier- Bresson, on the site. Much of the content is very personal, user submitted work, and I believe that content from well known photographers will help make the site accessible to a wider audience.

Why do you think people should add their photos and stories to Historypin? Historypin is a way of writing history in your own voice. That in a few years we will have this patchwork history round the world, written by the world and not a historian or an editor is an exciting prospect. And, the more people join, the more accurate the content will become.

What do you think the future of Historypin is?
I would like to see Historypin being used as a serious educational tool. The range of modern (and personal) history that a teacher could access will provide a new way of looking at history, and provide a more interesting medium for students to work with.


Chevy Special Collection

We’re launching the first of our Special Collections this month, showcasing Chevys through the ages.

We’re challenging Historypinners to add their own photos, videos and stories and are setting the challenge of trying to get at least one pin for each one of the 194 models Chevy has created over the last 100 years.

The first Chevrolet dates back to 1911, and the cars have been a big part of not-just-American life ever since.

We’ve already got some great Chevy stuff pinned, including this awesome shot of the Chevy founder himself, Louis Chevrolet, sitting in a Buick automobile during the Cobe Cup Race in Indiana,  this model outside the “Hughes cut-rate liquor and drug store”(!) in 1946 and more recently this picture of American Pickers host, Mike Wolfe, at the Woodward Dream Cruise classic auto show near Detroit.

So if you’ve got anything to add, be it an old family photo of you working on your truck, or pics of you posing on your bonnet, 70s style, do add them in.

You can see the Chevy Special Collection here.

PS Keep an eye out for the next Special Collection, due out next month, which sets out to gather content from every one of the Queen’s visits around the world over the last 60 years…

Historypin in the Sunday Times App List 2012

We’re chuffed to announce that Historypin has been selected to be in the The Sunday Times App List 2012, and it even has a little star next to it meaning we’re extra special apparently.

Our free app, available on iPhone and Android, lets you explore all the content that has been pinned to Historypin and flick through Collections created by users. You can also find photos near your location and use the augmented reality function to see photos on your screen, fading between past and present. And you can use your phone’s camera to capture and pin moments of history when you’re on the move, or take modern replicas of historical photos.

You can download the app here.


Historypin Upgrade

We’ve just released an upgrade of Historypin.

It’s got some snazzy new features including an improved pinning process, a new listing view and the ability to see the street address of a photo.

Have a play and let us know what you think.

Opinion: Considering SOPA in Cultural Heritage

I’m guessing you’ve already heard of the two bills that have been introduced before Congress in the United States, the Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House. It would be hard not to notice the uproar this has sparked on the web, with sites like Wikipedia, Craigslist, and BoingBoing going dark; Google organizing a massive petition; and companies large and small making statements of protest.

We certainly join the many librarians, archivists, museum professionals and creatives that we work with in voicing our concern. I love what Rachel Hodder wrote about the impact SOPA may have on cultural heritage for the Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative at Michigan State University. And the Digital Public Library of America made a powerful statement on their site today, stating:

We are against the theft of intellectual property, but SOPA/PIPA will hurt, not help. Some of us feel strongly that libraries should never close, even in support of our deeply held beliefs. We show our respect for that position by posting it here, and one by community consensus to go dark.

Of course, cultural heritage institutions around the world are under assault in many ways, not least of which from drastic cuts in funding in lean economic times. Yet contrary to so many companies in the entertainment and publishing industries, the many stewards of cultural memory content around the world are responding NOT by holding tighter to their assets or litigating or lobbying their way out of failing business models, but instead are innovating and opening and sharing like never before. We’re seeing this in movements like the grassroots Linked Open Data in Libraries, Archives and Museums we’ve been a part of; in efforts surrounding orphan works in publishing; and in an increasing tide of academics, researchers and institutions publishing with open licenses.

Copyright and licensing is obviously a complicated issue, and one that we at Historypin continue to put a tremendous amount of thought and care into as we work with a myriad of individuals and institutions around the world sharing creative works. Yet there’s no question that legislation like SOPA and PIPA would very likely have a devastating effect on sites like Historypin that encourage community, conversation, creativity and innovation. And that seems worth fighting for.

Historypin at American Library Association Midwinter Meeting

Jon Voss will be representing Historypin at the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting in Dallas, January 20 -24.  While we’re still trying to sort out the acronyms, here’s where you can find him, exploring Linked Data, open access, and library collaborations:

Jan. 21, 2012, 4-6pm, Dallas Convention Center room A201/202. “Getting the rights right for the future of scholarly communication,” a timely panel discussion hosted by SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) and the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL).

Jan. 22, 2012, 10:30am-12noon, Sheraton Dallas, Lone Star Ballroom C2. LITA/ALCTS Linked Library Data Interest Group (LD-IG).

Historypin volunteers discover rare photo of the Reading FC squad in 1966

As part of Pinning Reading’s History, two Reading locals, Michelle Charlton and Niki Mehta, have been volunteering with the Reading Post newspaper to share treasures from their photographic archive.

Michelle and Niki have digitised and uploaded hundreds of photos from Reading Post’s rich archive and you can explore them on Reading Post’s Historypin profile.

One of the images they have unearthed was this rare colour photo of the Reading FC squad in 1966. The photo shows ‘the biscuitmen’ (Huntley and Plamers Biscuit factory was one of the major employers in Reading) in a sky blue kit which had been introduced the season before. Reading Post was one of the few newspapers to print in colour at this time. Read more about the photo and Reading FC’s history here.

Curate artworks from IWM’s First World War collection

1. Create a Historypin account by signing up here

2. Browse Putting Art on the Map and favourite the artworks you would like to include by clicking the heart icon under the image.

3. Click ‘My Channel’ in the top navigation and ‘Create a Collection’ or ‘Create a Tour’.

4. Follow the steps to create a Collection or Tour using your favourites.

5. When you’re done, email with a link to your Collection or Tour and we’ll add it to Putting Art on the Map.

If you need any help, check out our How To section.