Working With Memory and Place in Senior Care Homes

Hearing stories around photos brought in by a resident at Rhoda Goldman Plaza, an assisted living facility in San Francisco, CA.

Recently, the Historypin team in San Francisco, and a memory care home in West Lafayette, Indiana, have run/will run pilots on using Historypin with seniors. Here is a short breakdown:

  • Historypin in SF: As part of Historypin’s Bay Area Jewish project Sourdough & Rye, the San Francisco team helped carry out a community pilot at Rhoda Goldman Plaza, a senior care home in the city. Over two two-week rounds, we worked with a handful of seniors to help them think about their lives in terms of place, while behind-the-scenes thinking about the materials we would need to get these memories from the room to Historypin. Some important places we tried to highlight were childhood homes, a first school, where a resident was married, first job, etc.
  • Using Historypin in an Indiana care home: At the end of September 2015, the Westminster Village care home, in West Lafayette, Indiana, will team up with the West Lafayette Public Library to help the care home residents contribute photos focused on Tippecanoe County (encompassing the WL area) or wherever they consider “home” prior to moving to Westminster. The WLPL will use these contributions as the basis for a “Westminster Collection” on Historypin, and the pilot will be treated as a gateway activity; residents who are interested in participating more fully with their personal history will receive assistance on establishing a separate Historypin Tour.

Some resources so far on procedure:

RG Plaza:

  • Before our first iteration, we came up with a format that includes a binder or folder with a number of worksheets. This included a consent form and a brief bio form. There were also sheets that represent info from a pin on Historypin, where we could record a resident’s memories of particular places. During this first iteration, we recruited volunteers to help us record info in small groups. Not wanting to solely rely on the internet at RGP, most of this session was done mainly offline.

Rhoda Goldman session release form | Rhoda Goldman story collecting sheet

  • After this first iteration, we came up with a format that includes a booklet that correspond to the Tour functionality on Historypin: a cover sheet which has a map and place for a participant photo, and pages which represent the info from a pin, including a map and place for an address, a place to clip a photo, date and other details. Along with this booklet we included a consent form.
August 28th, 2015: Here I am with Maxine Greenspan, a resident of Rhoda Goldman and subject of our first completed Tour (at the link below.)

August 28th, 2015: Here I am with Maxine Greenspan, a resident of Rhoda Goldman and subject of our first completed Tour (at the link below.)

  • For the second iteration, we did an introductory presentation to residents, showing them an example of a completed Tour (and pins). We really underlined this time that we’re trying to “put life stories on the map,” which is about individuals on their own journey, but also about the communities they’ve been a part of in their life. Then we set up 90-minute slots to gather content and stories (had 2-3 people on our team working with individuals), during which we used a recorder and a laptop to explore places as residents remembered them. The idea was to think through the booklet we made, and try to pull out around 5 important places that could encompass “Mapping the Story of My Life.” We are continuing to put together Historypin Tours based on these second round of interviews, many of which built upon resident interviews during the first round.

Westminster: Though still in the process of prep, the overall plan is as follows:

  • Resident Collection sheets will be distributed at the close of the introductory presentation, and also direct to resident mailboxes. The sheets will include general information about the photo(s) residents want to contribute, and a waiver for public use.
  • Residents will be asked to bring their completed collection sheet with their photos to scanning workshop dates, where their information sheet with a signature and photo will be scanned (separately) and saved. During each workshop, the WLPL will provide one scanning station and WV will provide a second. WLPL will upload all scanned photos and content to Historypin.
  • After the initial scan workshop WLPL will, based on interest, continue additional scanning workshops in conjunction with normal bi-weekly WLPL visits to Westminster.
  • After the “Westminster Collection” is complete, WV will coordinate a program for residents to see the finished collection on Historypin.


All of the above briefly summarizes the thinking and set-up behind starting community memory pilots two senior care homes. Note that these are both still underway, but please field any questions you have here!

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.


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.

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.'

Memories of Migration Project to launch in 2015

We’re excited to announce that Historypin has teamed up with the Santa Ana Public Library to launch the Memories of Migration project, with support from the Institute for Museum and Library Services through the award of a $495,000 National Leadership Grant.

The three year project will be led by the Santa Ana Public Library and provide innovative programs for teens to focus on community memory and the many diverse stories of human migration over time.  The project builds on their successful Teen Historian program, which combines web and new media training with storytelling.

Teen Historians at Santa Ana Public Library recording interviews of Mexican American veterans.

Memories of Migration compliments and celebrates the vital role that libraries play in the lives of new immigrant families and will serve public libraries with meaningful programs and enrichment activities that meet the following goals:

  • provide new immigrant communities a participatory voice in library collections and events
  • increase digital literacy and provide learning in Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) to new immigrant teens and young adults through digital training in new media and digitization technologies
  • strengthen libraries as anchors of intergenerational and intercultural dialogue on both a local and national level.

Techniques developed by the Santa Ana Public Library will be tested and enhanced in model programs operated by four partner libraries and agencies that serve new immigrant communities across the country.  Queens Library (Queens, NY), West Hartford Public Library, (West Hartford, CT), the State of New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs and New Mexico Highlands University (Las Vegas, NM) have also developed innovative youth engagement and public memory projects and will join our team to develop and expand the program, addressing the needs of their diverse communities in a mixture of urban, suburban and rural settings.

An additional partner in the progam, Project GADO, will provide teens training in the use of scanning robots that will facilitate the digitization of the histories, while another, Orange County Reforma, will organize a local conference on Latino history to kick off the information collection process.

The Memories of Migration public launch is scheduled for the summer of 2015.  For further information about the project, please contact Jon Voss, Strategic Partnership Director at Historypin, or Cheryl Eberly, Principal Librarian, Young Adult Services at Santa Ana Public Library.

This Used to be Fields: Help tell the history of the Becontree Estate

Built in the 1920s to house the growing population of East London and soldiers returning from the First World War, the Becontree Estate was the largest housing estate in Europe. The creation of the Estate transformed the countryside east of London from fields into homes for 100,000 people.

We’re inviting everyone who has lived, worked or passed through Becontree to share their photos and memories to create a shared history of the Estate. Explore what’s been added so far.

Have you got photos or stories about Becontree? Add them here!

Do you live in Becontree? Come along with your photos and memories to have them digitised and added to the archive.

Valence House Visitor Centre, Becontree Avenue
Tuesday 19 August 2 – 6pm
Tuesday 26 August 2 – 4pm
Tuesday 16 September 5 – 6pm

Kingsley Hall, Parsloes Avenue, Dagenham
Wednesday 13 August 6.30 – 8pm
Thursday 14 August 10.30 –11.30am

Dagenham Trades Hall, Charlotte Rd, Dagenham
Wednesday 13 August 2 – 4pm

A new mural at Valence House

The history, stories and photographs of Becontree will inspire a new mural at Valence House painted by artist Chad McCail.

Come and meet Chad

Drop in on Chad at his artist studio at Valence House to share your stories of the local area, show him your photos and chat about the mural.

Tuesday 12, Wednesday 13, Thursday 14 and Friday 15 August 12.30- 1.30pm
Saturday 16 August 10am – 4pm
Saturday 23 August 10am – 4pm

Come and see the mural being painted

Chad will be painting the mural with the help of local volunteers. Come along to see them in action, have a chat about the project and enjoy Valence House Museum & Archives.

Saturday 13th September 12 – 4pm
Saturday 20th September 12 – 4pm

Sandy: one year later

Photo and caption shared by Folklorist: "In the Town of Hempstead on Long Island there once stood approximately 34 bay houses like this one. All but 14 were destroyed by Sandy including this one."

Oct. 29 marks the one year anniversary since Hurricane Sandy made landfall, and while much of the debris has been cleared, there remains so much work to be done in the physical and emotional rebuilding of the loss and destruction.

We welcome you to participate in Hurricane Sandy: Record, Remember, and Rebuild, which provides a place to share photos, video, or audio that capture areas effected by the storm. The project has been created in partnership with Google, the Metropolitan New York Library Council, the Society of American Archivists, and the American Association for State and Local History.

As an example of some of the content being shared, see recent photos like the one featured above from Long Island Traditions, which document the Bay Houses near the town of Hempstead, most of which were lost to Sandy.

Share your own photos and memories, and help track the recovery and rebuilding in your own neighborhood.

Putting Art on the Map: the story so far

We have been busy bees working on the Putting Art On the Map project. We’ve been collecting lots of answers to questions about the brilliant artworks from the Imperial War Museums‘ First world war art collection. All of the works we have focused on have a thread compiled on our Historypin Storify channel. Keep an eye on this for more stories.

Below is a Storify of a brilliant painting by Anna Airy called  A Shell Forge at a National Projectile Factory. Where was this factory and what are the shells they are making? Take a read to find out.


Even more Historypin Storify!

Here are the links to all the other works that we have been exploring since the project launched at the beginning of August. Click on the links and have a read.

7 August 2013 Paul Nash The Ypres Salient at night

9 August 2013 Stanley Spencer Travoys Arriving with Wounded at a Dressing-Station at Smol, Macedonia

12 August 2013 Henry Lamb, Irish Troops in the Judaean Hills Surprised By A Turkish Bombardment

16 August 2013 John Nash Over the Top

23 August 2013 Flora Lion Women’s Canteen at Phoenix Works, Bradford

27-30 August 2013 Anna Airy A Shell Forge at a National Projectile Factory

2-6 September 2013 Bernard Meninsky Victoria Station, District Railway

9-13 September 2013 Henry Tonks An Advanced Dressing Station in France


#ArtMap: Going Over the Top

Putting Art on the Map is one month in. The aim of the project: to curate, locate and enrich hundreds of artworks from the Imperial War Museums’ First World War collection.

Although many of the images are well known, there remain many unanswered questions. To help fill in the blanks we’ve been sharing artworks, selected by our guest art curator Alice Strickland, on Facebook, Twitter and Google + to see if people can help solve these mysteries.

We’ve had some great response from users on Facebook, Twitter and Google+,  my favourite has been the detective work around John Nash’s Over the Top: 1st Artists’ Rifles at Marcoing

John Nash Over the Top

John Nash’s Over the Top: 1st Artists' Rifles at Marcoing

This is a painting that has become synonymous with the First World War. The work depicts the 1st Battalion Artists Rifles leaving their trench on the Welsh Ridge, going over the top, and pushing towards Marcoing near Cambra on the 30th December 1917.

This action was a disaster and of the eighty men that emerged from the trench, sixty-eight were killed or wounded during the first few minutes. John Nash not only commemorated this action action in this painting commissioned by Ministry of Information, he was the Official War Artist assigned to the regiment and he took part in this infamous attack.

We were keen to find out:

  • the exact place of fighting along the Welsh Ridge
  • which direction the soldiers are marching in

Pieces of the puzzle were provided by people on Facebook (F), Twitter (T) and Google+ – (G), and here’s the story …

Maximilian Massauer (F) suggested that this map of the Cambrai area and the shifting location of the front line could help, adding that Marcoing is SW from Cambrai, not SE as we had suggested. @TheWildHog (T) suggesting the same brilliant map as Maximilian Massauer above. He suggested that as the 1st Artists’ Rifles moved to take Bonavis, we can argue they moved in an easterly direction from the trenches.

Annette Burgoyne  (F) added a map of the Welsh Ridge to the conversation. This particular map shows us the very location of the Welsh Ridge on the 30-31 August 1917, precisely when this action was taking place.

Tim Fox-Godden (F) posted this composite image of the first trench map superimposed over Google Earth with the location of the 1st Artists’ Rifels as recorded in war diaries marked with the red arrow.

Tim followed this up with a spectacular photograph of a postcard of the painting being held roughly where 1st Artists’ Rifles would have attacked. He said “The snow on the ground that only fell on the morning I decided to find the location of the painting was one of the twists of fate that trips to the former Western Front seem to deliver.”

Tim kindly ghosted the painting onto the photograph of the location producing this eerie merge of painting and photograph.

We asked Tim to locate where the latitude and longitude of where he had taken the image and he came back to use with 50.095903, 3.164985 adding ”More specifically, this is the approximate location of the end of Central Avenue Trench, from where the attack took place.”

Brilliant, we now had the exact location of the painting, so we moved the location on Historypin to the correct place. But, as if it was not enough to have both of our answers completed and in the bag, Patrick Baty (F) posted a photograph of two modern members of The Artists’ Rifles who visited the site to lay poppies on the spot to commemorate those fallen.


The Cherry was put on the cake by @fleetfootmike (T) posing this brilliant thread from the @GreatWarForum It explores in depth the actions that took place, even quoting the official report. The forum points the reader to a book by Barrie Pitt 1918: The Last Act that gives an account of the action that took place on the morning of the 30th – certainly one I’m going to be looking up.

A big thank you to everyone who helped piece this fascinating narrative together. From all of these conversations we have managed to build, not only a picture of the actual location of the action that John Nash took part in and commemorated with this painting, but also the remembrance that people are paying to the event and the site today. This example also highlights some of the creative ways in which people approach the mapping of battlefields and military actions.

We’re looking forward to seeing more of these amazing finds as we continue to open up the collection.

You can find all of our Pinning Art to the Map mysteries to date by looking for the hashtag #ArtMap. Watch this space for full Storify reports on each artwork. And if you want to see the other paintings that people have been talking about, you can see them here:

Incorporating Historypin Into College Coursework

After seeing a tweet about how students at Slippery Rock University teamed up with Lawrence County Historical Society to add some amazing content to Historypin, we asked Dr. Aaron Cowan to tell us more. Dr. Cowan is a historian and assistant professor of History at this mid-sized state university in western Pennsylvania, where he teaches modern US, urban, and public history.

Why did you choose Historypin for this particular project?

The Historypin project was a part of my Introduction to Public History undergraduate course; the class partnered with the Lawrence County Historical Society (LCHS) in nearby New Castle, PA to select, research, and upload historical images to Historypin.  Students worked in groups of 3, with each group member performing specific roles

Historypin seemed like the ideal platform to allow undergraduates to understand the potential of digital history, and create a presentable public history project, without the technology “getting in the way” – within the confines of a 15-week academic term, they needed to focus on historical research, not learning the intricacies of Javascript or how to work with GoogleEarth databases.   I’m also fascinated by the potential for location-based digital history for increasing community engagement, so again – Historypin was a great fit!

A photo of my students "in action" - selecting images from the archives of the historical society back in March. We set up 24 computer stations one Saturday and worked all day in their digital images – it was a fun time!

What were some of the things that worked well?

The project was great for teaching students research skills; even some of our History majors found local history research to be a new challenge – rather different than writing a standard term paper where they could pull some books and journal articles from the library and synthesize those into an essay.  One advantage we had is that the city’s main newspaper has been digitized and available through NewspaperArchive; keyword searching is a wonderful thing!  Hard to believe students may never know the tedious experience of scrolling through microfilm…

Students took a good deal of ownership with the project; they were very enthusiastic about the fact that their research was going to be publicly presented & not simply submitted to the professor.  Reflecting on the project, one student commented, “For the first time in my four years as a history major, I felt like a historian and not just a history student.”

Another reflected, “The Historypin project was my favorite project I have ever completed in college because it showed me just how much work a public historian truly does. Public historians conduct a great deal of research, which is not always easy. Sometimes, they must do some digging to find that missing element that brings the whole project together…the experience also showed our group just how much collaboration needs to be done for the end result to be successful.”

What didn’t work well, or what would you change if you did this again?

In the future, I’ll allow more time for the students’ research – several simply underestimated the difficulty of the research, and hit roadblocks.  I’ll also spend more time educating them on resources for local history (city directories, insurance maps, etc.) and connecting them to the local history/genealogy staff at the city library.  On a related note, I would probably assign fewer images (initially, each student was assigned 5) to allow them more time.

Do you think this is a replicable model? It seems like there are so many small historical societies and the like that we could help get online…

I think it’s very replicable; my hope is to continue the project each year – either with this historical society or others in the area.  One advantage for this project is that the LCHS had already digitized their entire collection, so students didn’t have to sift through disorganized prints and then worry about proper scanning resolution, format, size, etc. – though of course a project involving those tasks would also teach valuable skills!

LCHS, like most of the county historical societies in our area, is understaffed and underfunded, even though their historical resources are amazing.  They need to create greater community investment and engagement, and to connect with younger audiences.  Hopefully the Historypin project provides a way for them to begin doing just that.

Clear guidelines and expectations are essential (and I’d be happy to share mine – anyone interested can email me at

What were some favorite/interesting pieces of content that came from the project?

The photo of a 1925 KKK picnic in the city’s park caused quite a stir among the students; New Castle – and western Pennsylvania generally – had a strong contingent of the 1920s Klan because of nativist fears of Catholic “new immigrants” drawn to jobs in the region’s steel and ancillary industries.  Another unusual find was a photo of a 1976 bank robbery in progress (pulled from bank security cameras).

On a lighter note, a 1912 photo circus parade of elephants marching through downtown was a fun addition.

Were there any surprise social outcomes of this? 

I had hoped social connections between community residents and students would be a more prominent part of the project, but it did not materialize.  I think in part this is attributable to students’ hesitancy to use methods like interviews to conduct their research, in favor of online or library research. It might have been strengthened if the project had directly involved the community in some sort of workshop or public forum.

I was proud of the fact that this project brought attention to some stories – in this case, particularly African-American history – that don’t always get a lot of attention in the “official” local histories.

An oral history segment recorded by one of the students.

What kinds of history mysteries keep you up at night/wake you up in the morning?

I don’t know if specific mysteries come to mind, but I’m constantly surprised by the layers and complexity of local history – that even in small towns where everyone assumes “nothing happened” there are stories of conflict, activism, and linkages to the broader current of national and world history.  I’m very much motivated by fragments of evidence that hint at holes – what historian Michel-Rolph Trouillot has called “silences” – in the popular narrative of local history; these kinds of stories can often be empowering for people, or provide a model for a path forward to a better future.  To me, that’s the real purpose of history.

Update: You can find more of Dr. Cowan’s thoughts on this class on his blog

Our Year of the Bay Hackathon at the California Historical Society

Participants listen to Richard Everett of SF Maritime National Park in the California Historical Society gallery.

On May 23rd, Historypin hosted an evening hackathon at the California Historical Society in San Francisco as part of our Year of the Bay project. The event, in partnership with Pastmapper, explored historic photographs of businesses along the San Francisco waterfront from the SFTMA Photo Archives, the California Historical Society, SF Public Library, and SF Maritime National Park.

One of the photographs we explored during the evening, taken from the foot of Market Street c1910. From the California Historical Society.

What is a hackathon? It’s when a bunch of people get together to use a variety of tools (often technological ones) to solve problems. With this event, we aimed at contributing better historical information and resources that aid in the discovery of historical data. We asked visitors to bring laptops, books, and other materials that they could use for research during the night. The library at the California Historical Society even shared their historic collection of San Francisco City Directories as an available resource.

Participants, including Bradley Thompson of Pastmapper (center), help to research historical information behind photos on their devices brought from home.

A group of about 50 worked collaboratively around a handful of photos to see if we could solve some mysteries within them; dates, locations, business information, etc. Participants liked how they could come and not only consume information, but contribute to the conversation. Assigning tasks, collaborating on finding citations, and having hi-res versions of the images readily available to zoom in on were some of the things we were able to adjust and experiment with to best collect data. In addition to looking at the social aspect of collecting information in an event setting, experiments like this hackathon are also serving to inform Historypin user interface development online for capturing and discussing historical metadata in fun and meaningful ways.

With this hackathon and other Year of the Bay community events, we’re exploring how local historical and heritage institutions can involve their audiences and communities more by inviting collaboration around their historical content.  This is a chance for like-minded people to come together and discuss local Bay history, with the extra incentive of being able to contribute information to under-researched photographs from local history collections.

Jon Voss and Bradley Thompson introducing our hackathon event at the California Historical Society.

Executive Director of the California Historical Society Anthea Hartig joining in as a "hacker"and helping to research old photos of SF waterfront businesses.

To add your own suggestions and comments to the photographs we looked at during the event, follow this link to the tagged pins on the Year of the Bay map. With events like these and with your help, we can enrich the collections of some great local Bay Area institutions and share our findings with the wider online community.